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Monday, 14 September 2009

Irish 1911 Census goes Online

The 1911 Census for Ireland is now available online. The census, with a free search facility, is available on the Irish National Archives website, and covers all 32 Counties

Amateur genealogists can search by name, surname, age, sex and place, for their family history.

It is the first time that such information, which includes the images of the original "filled out" census forms, has been put online.

"We have decided to make the material immediately available, in the knowledge that the vast majority of our users will be able to find what they want," the National Archives say.

"Corrections and improvements will be ongoing, and we are very grateful to all users who have submitted corrections to us."

Released two years early, the census of April 1911, was the last census completed until 1926 and offers a unique insight into an Ireland from long ago.

The forms show an Ireland divided into type of resident, -- boarder, visitor or family -- as well as religion, literacy, professional, marital status, Irish language ability and children.

A snapshot of Dublin themes, in 1911, reveals:

* Poverty and Health: inner city tenements were "filthy, overcrowded, disease-ridden and teeming with malnourished children."
* In the suburbs: "The 19th Century saw a steady move to suburbs such as Rathmines, Monkstown and Blackrock by many wealthy Dubliners."
* City Transport: "There were 330 trams operating on lines which ran for 60 miles along the city's roads, drawing the suburbs tightly to the city."
* Religion: "In 1911 the city was 83pc Catholic, 13pc Church of Ireland, 2pc Presbyterian and Methodist and 2pc others, including a growing Jewish presence."
* Law and Order: "In 1910 there were 2,462 charges of drunkenness in the Dublin Metropolitan police district, while 3,758 people were drunk when they were taken into custody."

The census form for Ireland, unlike that in Britain, included a question asking the religion of every person in the household.

Irish people were also asked whether they could 'read and write', 'read only', or 'cannot read'.

Such a question was not asked in Britain and, as one Irish newspaper noted, "why it should be so is not easy to understand".

The Republic's National Archives hope to get the 1901 census online between late this year and early 2010.

The census is available on