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Showing posts with label Ireland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ireland. Show all posts

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

Saturday, 28 February 2009

The Irish Famine 1845 - 1850

To continue the Irish theme from last week's post on Irish genealogy, I thought that this week I'd write about the Irish Famine. I have a particular interest in this because my own Irish family came from Skibbereen in West Cork, one of the worst affected areas. I've visited the family History centre there and seen the exhibition on the famine, which is an incredibly moving experience, and I have visited the Abbeystrowry graveyard where there are 9,000 people buried in the famine grave pits. I was also lucky enough to be able to find the house on Bridge Street where my great grandfather was a shoemaker, he was born in 1844, the year before the famine started in 1845.

The Famine started in September 1845 when blight was first noted in Wexford and Waterford. By November half the potato crop was ruined. The British Conservative Prime Minister Robert Peel, immediately recognizing that the circumstances in Ireland meant that this crop failure could cause famine, ordered corn and meal to be sent from the United States and a Relief Commission set up. Food aid had to be bought at market prices, a requirement which meant that the aid itself was less than fully effective since many poor Irish had no money at all and employment on Relief Works was not always immediately available.

The first deaths from hunger took place in the spring of 1846. The new Whig administration under Lord Russell, influenced by their laissez-faire belief that the market would provide the food needed, then halted government food and relief works leaving many hundreds of thousands of people without any work, money or food. Grain continued to be exported from the country. Private initiatives such as The Central Relief Committee of the Society of Friends (the Quakers) attempted to fill the gap caused by the end of government relief and eventually the government reinstated the relief works, although bureaucracy made food supplies slow to be released. Grain continued to be exported from the country. The blight almost totally destroyed the 1846 crop and the Famine worsened considerably. By December a third of a million destitute people were employed in public works such as road making.

1847's exceptionally hard winter made conditions even worse. A typhus epidemic killed tens of thousands, including wealthier people as the towns were now also affected. 1847's harvest was largely unaffected by blight but too few potatoes had been planted so the Famine continued unabated. The Soup Kitchens Act provided financial assistance to local authorities to help them feed Famine victims but this Act was withdrawn in September and relief was made the responsibility of local Poor Unions and of charitable organizations. This put impossible loads on local Poor Unions, particularly in the rural west and south. Emigration reached new heights and the infamous coffin-ships crossed the Atlantic in large numbers carrying people fleeing from the famine.

The blight returned in 1848 and outbreaks of cholera were reported. Evictions became common and Famine victims on outdoor relief peaked in July at almost 840,000 people. A doomed uprising against the government was led by William Smith O'Brien. The potato crop failed again in 1849 and famine was accompanied by cholera outbreaks.

In 1850 the potato crop was okay and the Famine mostly ended. By 1851 Census figures showed that the population of Ireland had fallen to 6,575,000 - a drop of 1,600,000 in ten years. The famine left in its wake perhaps up to a million dead and another million emigrated. The famine caused a sense of lasting bitterness by the Irish towards the British government, whom many blamed — then and now — for the starvation of so many people. The fall-out of the famine continued for decades afterwards and Ireland's population still has not recovered to pre-famine levels.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Irish Genealogy

We are rapidly approaching the great Irish holiday of St Patricks Day on the 17th March, when the world goes green! I thought therefore that this would be a good time to do a post specifically on Irish genealogy for all those with roots in the Emerald Isle.

Unfortunately researching your Irish roots is not easy because a lot of records went up in smoke during the Civil War in 1922, where they were kept in the Public Record Office in Dublin. These included most of the Census records and BMD records. Happily most of the Roman Catholic parish registers were retained by the parish churches and although up to now have proved difficult to access, more and more registers and others records are now starting to be digitised and available online.

The GRO (General Register Office) for Ireland has a very good history of registration and records in Ireland HERE. The details of whats available at the GRO is HERE and their fees, payment methods (they have no online facility yet) and regional offices can be found HERE.

To aid your own research I've listed below the best websites & sources I've come across in my search for my own Irish family roots.

Irish Genealogy Links Lists:-

CYNDI'S LIST (the biggest & the best)

Other useful sites

IRISH GENEALOGY (Good guide to where to find records)
THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES (Good introduction to Irish genealogy)
GENUKI-Ireland (Huge online genealogy resource)
ROOTSWEB MAILING LIST from here you can subscribe to the mailing list and browse or search the index for your ancestors surname and/or place of birth.
FAILTE ROMHAT (Griffiths Valuation page, but also check out the blue website index strip near top of page as it has many links to transcripts of census, directories, cemeteries etc.)

At the FAMILY SEARCH website you can search for your ancestors name or just a surname, which will throw up Irish records from the 1880 US Census, 1881 British & Canadian Census's, Pedigree Resource files & Ancestral Files as well as the IGI (International Genealogical Index).

It's also possible to search the IGI by Irish County/Parish at Hugh Wallis's searchable website of IGI batches HERE

The new Family Search PILOT SITE now has the Irish Civil Registration Indexes from 1845 to 1958 online.

Records for Passengers Who Arrived at the Port of New York During the Irish Famine, 1/12/1846 - 12/31/1851 - SEARCHABLE DATABASE

CASTLE CLINTON IMMIGRATION CENTRE offers free access to an extraordinary searchable database of information on 10 million immigrants to the USA. from 1830 through 1892, the year Ellis Island opened.

ELLIS ISLAND Passenger Lists 1892- 1924 - Search for your Irish ancestors as they arrive in New York.

Records of Irish Convicts & Rebels transported to New South Wales, Australia - SEARCHABLE DATABASE

Was your ancestor a CONVICT? (Not just Irish, includes links to Old Bailey records etc)


Subscription Sites:-

The following are very good sites for searchable databases where you can do free searches but will have to subscribe to view the actual detailed records.

(Northern Ireland & Ulster)

Useful Blogs & Websites:-

The following list is of blogs & websites run by people researching their own Irish genealogy, but which contain useful general information for Irish researchers.


Books for Irish family historians (link to

Collins Tracing Your Irish Family History, by Anthony Adolph and Ryan Tubridy

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, by John Grenham

How to Trace Your Irish Ancestors, by Ian Maxwell

Finding Your Irish Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide, by David S Ouimette

I hope you find the above useful in kick starting your Irish research and I'll probably be making further additions to these lists over the coming months, so keep checking back.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Irish Roots of Barack Obama

Documents unearthed by an Irish vicar show ancestors of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama may have arrived in the United States from a tiny village in central Ireland as early as the 1790s.

"They're old parish records going back to 1799," said Canon Stephen Neill, rector for the parish of Moneygall, Co.Offaly.

"They're in remarkably good condition and we have constant applications from Americans chasing their ancestors."

Genealogy Web site asked Neill, whose father is Anglican archbishop of Dublin, to check parish records after discovering documents indicating Obama's great-great-great grandfather on his Mother's side, arrived in New York in 1850 before settling in Ohio.

"Like most of us he has an interesting mix of ancestry, including some impressively early all-American roots," said Megan Smolenyak, a spokeswoman for the Web site.

Records uncovered in 2007 found the President-elect’s fourth great grandfather Joseph Kearney was a shoemaker whose son, Fulmuth Kearney left for the US in 1850. Between 1845 and 1851 over a million people left Ireland on 'famine ships' to escape mass-starvation caused by potato blight and says passenger lists show Obama's great-great-great grandfather was among them.

Subsequent research into the parish records provided by Neill revealed not only that the Kearneys hailed from Moneygall in County Offaly but also that other family members may have crossed the Atlantic before him in the 1790s, the Web site said.

Nothing remains of the Kearney homestead and surrounding land in Moneygall, which ironically once belonged to the family of Obama’s distant cousin, Henry Healy. They were forced to give it up 30 years ago after the local authority compulsorily purchased it for new housing, but just four properties were built on the field and plans are afoot to turn it into a museum or heritage centre.

Born in Hawaii to a white American mother and Kenyan father, Obama's European connection means he can also join more than 30 million of his countrymen in claiming Irish descent.

You can view the Irish line of Obama's family tree HERE.

The Irish band the Corrigan Brothers have released their song 'There's No One As Irish As Barack O'Bama'.

The song features the chorus: "O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara...there's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama."

The band will perform the song, which is already an internet phenomenon, at the day parade on the Irish American float, and also at Mr Obama's official inauguration party on becoming President.

You can view the video below and find the words to the song at