If your ancestors were from the Skibbereen area of West Cork, you're in for a treat! Skibbereen Heritage Centre has been quietly adding databases to its website and now has some wonderful information available, free, online.
The townlands' database covers almost the entire region, giving results by civil parish, Poor Law Union (PLU) and District Electoral Division (DED), as well as by any alternative name (AKA). There are also Notes relating to specific townlands and streets.
The Loan Funds database includes details of 19th century loan funds, administered by institutions, that provided credit to the poor of Crookhaven, Schull, Creagh, Baltimore and Castletownshend. At their peak, just prior to the Famine, up to 13 separate loan funds operated in the Skibbereen area lending a collective £75,000 over ten years. The records give details of the amount of the loan and the names of guarantors.
Graveyard Surveys have been carried out on several of the oldest graveyards, some of which date back to the middle ages, at Aughadown, Creagh, Drimoleague, Drinagh, Kilcoe.
The Estate records database contains information about the tenants of the Wrixon-Becher estate at Creagh from 1803 to 1919. These records have not been previously been available to the public. They cover 86 townlands, most of them in the Creagh and Tullagh parishes, including Sherkin and Cape Clear islands. They record the name and townland of the occupant, the dates of tenancy, the rent value and how it was paid. Ambiguous comments were also sometimes added to the original records and have also been included in the database.
This is a remarkable work of dedication from the Skibbereen Heritage Centre's team of volunteers, which is led by William Casey.
Anyone with ancestors from this area should check out these unusual databases, and make a trip to the Centre, too, where there's an excellent, multi-award winning exhibition on the Famine.
Skibbereen Heritage Centre is not part of the Irish Family History Foundation's network.