Lorna MoloneyMerriman Research & Training LtdMerrimanresearch@merrimantraining.com
Ever wondered about your Irish ancestors? Curiousabout where your family came from and why theyemigrated? Or do you simply want to trace your Irishfamily tree and discover how you ended up beingwhere you are today? Even though our little country is small (about 6 millionpeople!), up to 60 million people all over the world nowclaim Irish ancestry. More and more people are turningto Genealogy in Ireland to find their Irish ancestors.
Genealogy is the study of a family’s lineage.People might use genealogy to trace out theirfamily trees, or simply to find a specific personin a family’s past and connect him or her toother members of that family. Genealogy isinterested solely in who is in a family and whothey are related to, as opposed to the moregeneral study of family history, which mightalso track dates of birth and death, occupationsheld by family members, and other importantfacts about their lives and deaths. While somepeople, on occasion, refer to this larger field asgenealogy, genealogy is better viewed as asubset of a the greater discipline of familyhistory
Historically, genealogy was a very important field, becausefamily connections between nobility were crucial to the ideaof inheritance and the passing down of titles and rulership.In many societies, for example, if a king had no directheir, the next closest heir would have to be found. Detailedgenealogical records ensured that the passing down oftitles would never have to rely on incomplete facts. Despitethis, many differing genealogies would often cropup, allowing multiple people to lay claim to a title ofrulership or inheritance.
Unique to Ireland http://www.seanruad.com/ Ranging in size Known by a multiplicity of names until anglicisation Ranging from 200 acres to 17000 acres. Unit upon which the census is based in 1901 &1911
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recordinginformation about the members of a given population. It is a regularlyoccurring and official count of a particular populationThe term is usedmostly in connection with national population and housing censuses;other common censuses include agriculture, business, and trafficcensuses. In the latter cases the elements of the population arefarms, businesses, and so forth, rather than people. The United Nationsdefines the essential features of population and housing censuses as"individual enumeration, universality within a definedterritory, simultaneity and defined periodicity", and recommends thatpopulation censuses be taken at least every 10 years. The term itselfcomes from Latin; during the Roman Republic, the census was a listthat kept track of all adult males fit for military service.
The household returns and ancillary records for the censuses ofIreland of 1901 and 1911, which are in the custody of theNational Archives of Ireland, represent an extremely valuablepart of the Irish national heritage, and a resource forgenealogists, local historians and other scholars which has notas yet been developed to its fullest potential. The Irish diasporais estimated to amount to 70 million people in all parts of theglobe, and many of these have an interest in their family andlocal history. The digitisation of the equivalent records forEngland, Wales and Scotland has proved hugely popular withusers, as has the digitisation of Canadian and United Statescensus records.
The returns for 1901 and 1911 are arranged by townland(the smallest division of land) or, in urban areas, bystreet. The 1901 census lists, for every member of eachhousehold; name, age, sex, relationship to head of thehousehold, religion, occupation, marital status and countyor country of birth. The census also records an individual’sability to read or write and ability to speak the Irishlanguage. All of this information is given on Form A of thecensus, which was filled in and signed by the head of eachhousehold. Where the head of the household could notwrite, his or her mark, usually an X, was recorded andwitnessed by the enumerator.
The same information was recorded in the 1911census, with one significant addition: married womenwere required to state the number of years they hadbeen married, the number of their children born aliveand the number still living. In addition to returns for every household in thecountry, both censuses contain returns for police andmilitary barracks, public and privateasylums, prisons, hospitals, workhouses, colleges, boarding schools and industrial schools among otherinstitutions.
Sources for Family History1. The CensusVast amounts of information about virtually everyman, woman & child1813-14 – Earliest Official Census in IrelandWilliam Shaw Mason, a statistical account onparochial survey of Ireland (3 vols, Dublin, 1814-9)
What do we get from a Census?We get the following;- Name- Relationship to head of household- Religion- Age, Literacy, Occupation- Marital Status- County of Birth- Ability to Speak English or Irish- Detail on dwelling conditions- Married women required to divulge number of yearsmarried, number of children born alive & still living(1911 only)
Census Enumerator’s Book- Books compiled by the census enumeratorconsisting of transcripts of census forms left with &completed by each individual householder- Much depended on literacy levels of thehouseholder/s; sometimes enumerator’s had to fillthe form in the absence of good literacy withinhouse
Uses of the Census;1. Age2. Location3. Cross-checking4. Marriages5. Living relatives
2. Land and Estate PapersMost extensive collections; National Library of Ireland Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) Trinity College, Dublin Local Studies Libraries
Typical Estate Paper Collections contain- Mortgages and Deeds- Lease Agreements- Marriage Settlement Documents- Bills & Life Assurance Policies- Memoranda- Financial Accounts- Personal Letters- Rent Books- Share Certificates & Rent Rolls- Legal Documents & Diaries- Threatening Letters- Receipts & Valuations- Photographs- Newspaper Reports- Legal Opinions- Maps & Surveys- Valuation Office Maps & Land Commission Maps- Building Plans
http://www.askaboutireland.ie/griffith-valuation/index.xml This was a survey of property occupiers inIreland made between 1848 and 1864 and itsimportance lies in the fact that it lists almostevery head of household for each county.http://merrimanresearch.blogspot.com/2011/03/genealogy-tithe-applotment-books-and.html
3. Griffith’s ValuationCensus SubstituteUniform Valuation of All Property in Ireland Published1848-1864Material Gathered Falls into 2 Sections1. Valuation Manuscripts – housebooks, name ofoccupier, description of house, Basis of LandTenure, Year of Occupation, GeneralObservations2. Printed Valuation – based upon informationcollated from these notebooks; covers wholecountrywww.irishorigins.com or at NLI
4. Civil RecordsRegistration of BirthsFour People Required1. Parent/s2. Occupier of House of Birth3. Nurse Present4. Any Other Person PresentBirth Register SupplyDate & Place of BirthNameSexName, Surname & Address of FatherName, Surname, & Address of MotherRank, Profession or Occupation of Father
Registration of DeathsAny one of the following can register a death;(i) Person present at time of death(ii) Person present during deceased’s illness(iii) Occupier of house where death occurred(iv) A person residing in house at time(v) A person with knowledge of circumstancesDeath Registers Record;(i) Date & Place (ii) Name & Surname(iii) Gender (iv) Marital Status (v) Age (vi) Rank orprofession (vii) cause
Registration of MarriagesInformation on Registers Includes;1. Date2. Names & Surnames3. Ages4. Marital Status (eg.Bachelor, Spinster, Widow, Widower)5. Rank, Profession or Occupation6. Addresses at time of Marriage7. Names & Surnames of Fathers8. Rank, Profession or Occupation of Fathers9. Venue of Marriage
5. Parish RegistersOften earliest direct source of family informationNational Library of Ireland – microfilm copies ofregisters of most Irish Roman Catholic parishesEarliest = circa. 1740sCut-Off point = 1880Post-1880 – Generally in custody of Parish Priest
Locating SourcesThe Key RepositoriesNATIONAL LIBRARY OF IRELANDKILDARE STREETDUBLIN 2One of the central repositories for Irish Historiansand Genealogy ResearchersServices and Holdings include; Parish Registers Genealogy Room Estate Papers (Manuscript Dept) Extensive Newspaper Collection
National Archives of IrelandBishop StreetDublin 8 Services and Holdings Include; Census Responsible For Census Digitisation Professional Genealogy Consultation Archivist Available Full-Time Griffith’s Valuation Wills and Testamentary Records
Further ReadingJohn Grenham, Tracing Your Irish AncestorsSome Useful Websiteswww.nli.iewww.nationalarchives.iewww.census-online.com/links/irelandwww.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/genealogy/genealog.htmwww.ancestryireland.comwww.apgi.ie (Association of Professional Genealogists)www.irishorigins.comwww.irish-roots.net/www.valoff.ie (Valuation Office)www.groireland.ie (General Register Office)www.ellisislandrecords.org