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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Exciting new resources for Cavan genealogy

The Local Studies Department of Cavan County Council's Library Service has been on a bit of an acquisition spree and has some terrific new resources for researchers with ancestors from the area.

The Bellamont Estate Rental
Described by the Library as 'our most exciting purchase', the Bellamont Estate Rental is a single document that originated from Bellamont House, Cootehill, one of the finest 18th-century Palladian houses in Ireland. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Earls of Bellamont held extensive estates in Cavan and Monaghan, and this rental, which dates from May 1782 to November 1782, lists 339 properties from townlands in both counties.

The list names the tenants in these properties and records the rents each was obliged to pay. For some properties, notes were added, principally about the type or quality of the land. The document is described as 'very legible', so it's easy for researchers to use, despite its age. It may be sent for re-binding in due course, but is currently available for study. See 'Online in six months' below.

The Farrell Loans Ledger
Won at a public auction for €520, the Farrell Loans Ledger lists 6,626 entries for people from Bailieborough and surrounding areas who obtained interest free loans from the Bailieborough Charitable Trust. The trust was established by the Farrell family who resided for many years in Gigginstown House, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, now the home of Ryanair boss, Michael O’Leary.

Dating from 1839 to 1841, the ledger lists the loans granted (typically for amounts of between £1 and £5) with the names of individual borrowers, their addresses, and the agreed repayment period (usually five months). Many people emigrated from Cavan to the United States during this period of the 19th century, so money borrowed may have paid for the passage abroad, and been repaid later.

The ledger also lists others including minor landlords and business people who received loans, but these were not interest free.

Although it can be accessed by researchers through the archive service, the ledger requires some restoration work. See 'Online in six months' below.

Online in six months

These resources have not yet been added to the published list of family history records available on- and offline at Cavan Library's Local Studies Department.

They will, however, soon be available for viewing online. The Local Studies Department intends these two new items to be scanned and uploaded as pdfs during the next six months.