Published Wednesday, 09 April 2014
A screenshot of the new online information service. (© UTV)
Prior to this, family records could only be accessed in the public search room in the General Register Office for Northern Ireland in Belfast.
The new way of searching, called Genie, means civil records for births over 100 years old, marriages over 75 years old and deaths over 50 years old can be trawled through from anywhere in the world.
A complete civil registration system began in 1864 recording vital life events including births, deaths and marriages in order to inform the Government's planning for public services including health and education.
Launching the new online service, Minister Simon Hamilton said: "The General Register Office and District Registrars have provided and continue to provide an invaluable service to the public, giving individuals and families information about family history since 1864.
"In marking 150 years of civil registration we have progressed from hand written records to a new online service, which facilitates searches of Northern Ireland's historical records.
"As Finance Minister I have been promoting the need for Public Sector Reform as an essential element in the delivery of high quality public services to our citizens in the face of increasing expectations and reducing budgets. Engaging with the citizen and adopting more innovative ways of delivering services, as demonstrated through GRO's new Family History online service, is an excellent example of this."
Dr Norman Caven, Registrar General for Northern Ireland, said: "The new service offers the opportunity to search and view historical Northern Ireland civil registration records online.
"In addition, customers will be able to book an appointment at the GRO public search facility in Belfast where the new system will host the complete set of Northern Ireland civil registration records. More generally, customers will also be able to avail of an improved service for ordering Northern Ireland civil registration certificates online."
The new service is available by clicking on this link http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/family-history
© UTV News