A genealogy website is publishing details of over 45,000 appeals for information on Irish people missing in North America over a 90-year period.

The adverts, which were published in the Boston Pilot newspaper between 1830 and 1920, were the main source of information for Irish immigrants searching for loved ones they had lost contact with.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mike Mulligan, family historian with Ancestry, said in an era well before mobile phones and the internet, this was the easiest way to find them.

He said the Boston Pilot was a Catholic newspaper and its readership was made up mainly of Irish immigrants coming to the city, from the early 1800s onwards.

He said while the appeals were mostly placed by people in the US trying to seek and meet recently arrived relatives, there were many people in Ireland using the service to find out what happened to their relatives after they moved.

Mr Mulligan said "there's a strong desire in our national psyche to find out what happened these people" and "Irish people have a very strong wish to find out where the people went to, to make those sacrifices feel worthwhile somehow".

He said while there are gaps in Irish records going back to the 1700s and "we don't have the same quality of records as you might find in other parts of the world, but we do have a very strong oral tradition and the technology is coming along now that can fill in those gaps".

He said people will be able to use this site to find out about their family members who went to Americas, including details of their destination, their hair colour, complexion, and what their plans, hopes, and dreams were.