Monday, 28 April 2014

Pre-1901 Irish census records & substitutes launch

Now that's what I call a census fragment!
The National Archives of Ireland's collections of pre-1901 census fragments and census search forms (a total of around 600,000 records) have been uploaded to the NAI's free Genealogy site, along with explanatory contextual images and text.

The database will also be available, free of charge, at FindMyPast and Family Search.

The 19th-century census fragments are surviving returns from the censuses taken in Ireland in 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851. There are considerably more entries than I expected to see, but some don't have locations, ages, relationships to household etc, ie all the important geneaogical stuff. But even those incomplete entries may help some researchers.
Search the census fragments and substitutes (select year in drop down menu)

The Census Search Forms were the documents completed by those wishing to 'prove' their age to support an application for a state pension, following its introduction in 1908. A search was made of the paper returns for the 1841 and 1851 censuses (which had not been destroyed at this time) to see if the applicant could be identified. Whether 'found' or not, these search forms often hold terrific genealogical information, as information they provided about their parents and siblings was often noted on the form. They're often erroneously referred to as Irish pension records. Again, these forms will knock down some brickwalls.

Search the census search forms.

Time to play!

You also might like to listen to Brian Donovan of who was interviewed on the John Murray RTE show this morning. He talks about the relevance of these records and the information contained within them (ie 1841 & 1851 censuses asked who had died since the previous census or who was temporarily absent from the household). While he describes census records as the 'goldbar' of genealogical data, he says FMP will be digitising some 80million records for the National Archives alone over the next two years. He also gives some examples of entries. You can listen here. Shuffle along to 49minutes 53secs.