The following is an announcement from the Heritage Ministry of Ireland.
Details of two 100-year-old Irish censuses are to go online for an estimated 70 million people around the world who claim a connection with the country, Irish Heritage Minister John O'Donoghue has revealed.
Under a new cultural agreement between the Irish and Canadian archive offices, all the details of Ireland's census in 1901 and 1911 are to be indexed and made available for free on the Internet.
Researching family history has become a huge hobby worldwide.
The websites for Canada's 1901 and 1906 censuses receive an average of 41,182 visits per month.
With 13 percent of Canadians claiming Irish ancestry, there is expected to be a strong interest in the Irish census data.
Records of a forebear's household, family, social circumstances and location 100 years ago will be available online from December 2006, when the first phase of the 1911 Dublin census records will be released.
The whole project will take three years to complete.
"Our records hold precious insights into Irish family history for millions at home and abroad. We hope this service in collaboration with our Canadian partners will connect many people globally to their cultural roots," O'Donoghue said.
The records detail the name, age, sex, marital status, occupation, county and country of birth of everyone listed in every domestic dwelling, prison, hospital and industrial school.
They include people's literacy level, ability to speak Irish, the number of years women were married and total number of children born.
The 1901 census is the earliest surviving such document for all the 32 counties of the island, including the six in British-ruled Northern Ireland.
The data from previous censuses dating back to 1821 were either deliberately destroyed, pulped during World War I because of a paper shortage, or were lost in a fire at Dublin's Public Records Office during the country's civil war in 1922.