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Lack of 19th Century Census records in Ireland

Discussion in 'Ireland' started by Bob Spiers, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    There are only two Irish (Eire) Census years extant: 1901 & 1911 - which is of limited use for those used to going back to 1841 in the UK. The Irish Census years 1821 through 1851 were destroyed in the Public Records Office (Dublin) fire in 1922. [A few from 1841 do exist for a limited number of County areas). Then by a policy decision of the state, it ordered the original records for Census years 1861 through 1891 to be destroyed (Don't ask).

    BMD Records fare better especially if you visit Dublin in person and apply for a Library card in Dublin (proof of identity required with photo). Searching is free and Protestant records can be purchased for a small fee. Catholic (formerly Papist) records exist but are limited. For those it is best to visit the County or Diocese where your Ancestor lived. If you don't know an exact area try a visit to the local Library/Records Office in a County Main town. If you do know an exact locality, visits the RC churches in the area and speak with the local Priest. A donation will be required to browse Parish Records.

    More information: Irish Records Office at http://www.groireland.ie/ : National Library of Ireland http://www.nli.ie/en/homepage.aspx : For more information about Griffith's Valuations and Irish Directories try (Irish) Origins http://www.irishorigins.com/ : Best of all visit Roots Ireland, Register (it's free) and search out your County of choice. http://www.rootsireland.ie : The latter is also a great stepping off site for other Irish databases and free Newsletters (Google 'Irish Reaching Out')
     
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  2. Carla

    Carla LostCousins Member

    Thanks for that. I have quickly clicked on the site links and have joined http://www.rootsireland.ie : I will keep that on my favourites so i can check it out when i am on holiday in a few weeks. I mean to have a really good investigation into my Irish roots (if you can call my ggg grandmother Irish roots!!) .
     
  3. Charlie

    Charlie Member

    It's not actually necessary to apply for a library card or provide proof of identity if using the National Library of Ireland to look at parish register microfilms, only if you want to access books. The print service is also very good, with a €1 card purchased in the Library covering the cost of 10 A4 copies.

    The General Register Office Research Room, also in Dublin (though the main GRO is in Roscommon), has all the indices and will print copies of the register entries. It costs €2 to examine 5 consecutive years registers and then €4 per copy of an entry. They don't provide a research option (i.e. them looking it up for you) and won't actually check if the copy you've requested is the correct person. Family names are very common, especially in rural Ireland, so it's quite possible, as happened to me recently, to have two people of the same name entered on the same page of the register. The staff are very helpful but said they weren't allowed to check the entry against the parent's details I had.
     
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  4. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    Yes, thanks for that useful information which updates my own. To date I have relied heavily on online searching, but visiting is on my wish list. Particularly Galway and the adjacent county of Roscommon that you mention. I agree entirely with your comment about family names being very common. I have lost count of the number of Bridgets', Marys', James' & Michaels' and trying to decide if they relate to my own 'Flyn' family roots. It is a true nightmare, especially when your information is limited -if you are lucky - to a County and are trying to establish a township, never mind an actual parish. It's a great learning curve but I just wish the curve radius wasn't so great!
     
  5. linda

    linda LostCousins Member

    Another useful place for researching Irish ancestors is at the National Archives of Ireland, in Bishop Street, Dublin. They also "provide a Genealogy Service where members of the public can consult a professional genealogist about sources relating to their family history. This service is provided free of charge. The Genealogy Service is available to the public from Monday to Friday, from 10.00–13.30 and is located on Floor 5 of the National Archives, adjacent to the Reading Room." I found them very helpful in pointing me in the right direction. Get there as early as possible as it is popular. If you know your ancestor's religion it also helps, although some changed sides when convenient!
     
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  6. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    I recently commented to another member about searching my Irish Roots and copy it here also as I think it is quite pertinent to this section:

    "............. I had been told my Great Gran had been born Bridget O'Flynn" and came from Galway Ireland. Her mother had also been called Bridget. I soon learned the 'O' bit had become obsolete (it stands for son of) and they were in fact Flyn (with one n). They came over in the 1860's with three children, Bridget, Mary & John. Bridget went on to marry my Great Grandfather Henry Westbury and from their Marriage Certificate discovered her father was James Flyn whose occupation was Tailor.

    I needed to find a marriage in Ireland for a James Flyn and a Bridget somebody or other,hopefully in Galway. That is where the fun began. It seemed as though every girl child was either a Bridget or a Mary and it would be essential to narrow down the search location. In the end it was the occupation of Tailor that helped (quite a complex bit of research as it happened), and even then I was left with a short list of 4 Bridget's marrying a James Flyn. To cut a long story short, it was in fact the least likely that turned out to be the right Bridget, Bridget Walsh and the parishes were Glinsk/Kilbegnet (part religious part Civil). It was really only finalised by discovering the birth of all three children born to a James & Bridget Flyn.

    This perhaps gives a small glimmer of the way it is possible to isolate your search fields and along the way I had a great deal of help from spin offs beginning with being a member of Roots Ireland. From their you narrow down to Galway, and in due time Kilbegnet and then learn about religious parishes. It took over 3 years but of course I was doing lots of things in between, including working for a living. You need to follow the advice handed out by my Headmaster on leaving school: "it is not what you know that counts, but how to find out things you don't know" and you need "stick-at-it-if-ness". That is surely the lesson of Genealogy.
     
  7. Charlie

    Charlie Member

    Bob's story is a common one I think. The real difficulty in Ireland, apart from the missing censuses, is the commonality of names and the need, often, to know the actual townland the family/person lived in. A townland is an area of perhaps 100 acres and, in rural areas, only 10-50 houses. Even in this size of area there may be different branches of the same family name, with, inevitably, repeated first names. Locally, at least in the area where I live, there's a tradition of using the father's name, an occupation or a landmark, to distinguish different people. So, we get Mary Mick Boyle, Tommy Mick Boyle, Pat the Post Gallagher, and a whole family with 'the rock' as an attached middle name. I'm aware of someone who traced several generations of his family back using this method of identification.
     
  8. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    I may have mentioned this before in the Forum (and I recall Peter commenting also) but having recently begun another trawl of my Irish roots, I have been helped yet again by Irish 1841/14851 Census extracts.

    A few reminders may be needed:
    [1] Ireland was part of Britain until 1922 (when it became the Irish Free State).
    [2] The (British) State Retirement Pension was introduced in 1909 for those over 70.
    [3] The 1841/1851 Censuses were destroyed in a fire in 1922 and Censuses for 1861-1891 were officially destroyed for one reason or another.

    So anyone Irish born and still living there in 1909 - or who had emigrated in the 1850's and beyond to other parts of Britain before 1921- would be required to make an Application to London for a Pension. The Ministry would require Dublin to provide proof of age, family & domicile and the easiest way to do this would be for them to examine the 1841/1851 Censuses (which were still available up until 1921) and provide written proof to London. These form the basis of Irish 1841/1851 Census Extracts.

    Ancestry has copies of these extracts under the title : "Web Ireland Census Forms 1841/1851" and FMP as "Ireland Census Search Forms 1841/1851" - both courtesy of the National Archives (NA).

    I had help with an Extract first time round and now again in breaking down a brick wall allowing me to identify the correct parents of an ancestor and more importantly the maiden name of his mother. Of course it means you need an ancestor to have applied for a pension (and I believe it may also have applied for other reasons, like Housing), but give it a try as you may also strike lucky. And luck is something you need in researching Irish ancestry, believe me.
     
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  9. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Just a reminder that Ireland was never part of Britain (or even Great Britain), but it was part of the UK between 1801-1922. Northern Ireland still is.
     
  10. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    You are right of course, but if the BBC (referring to the weather on a particular day last week) being almost identical within our four Nations (meaning England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) which nearly caused my wife to explode and write a letter to the Radio Times (something she threatens often- being the pedant she is - but never does) I am sure most people understood what I meant when I used the term Britain instead of the UK.

    On two points of order can I just say:
    [1] the Irish ancestors I am now researching were all born prior to the Act of the Union in 1800 and -at birth at least - were born within the Kingdom of Ireland, then in personal union with Great Britain. (Not that that was worth much hence the uprising against British rule in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, which led to the Act of Union).
    [2] Ireland is and always has been part of the British Isles - geographically at least.
     
  11. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I'm sure most people did - the rest of them were too polite to point out your error!

    The reason why I make a point of correcting these sorts of slips is because if they're allowed to persist the number of errors will soon multiply. People who weren't b0rn in the UK don't always appreciate the subtle differences - and as researchers (see my recent newsletter article) we need to set an example.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. DavidL

    DavidL LostCousins Member

    Tracing my ex-wife's ancestors on behalf of my son also revealed problems because literacy was rare among agricultural workers pre-1900, so surname spelling was variable. It also did not help that priests commonly wrote records in Latin. I found five different spellings of his great grandmother's name and another few a generation or so further back. I learned fairly quickly to look for variations, although it was made easier because people tended to remain within a tight area in those days.
     

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