Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Financial compensation for Civil War damage

In the excitement of last week's releases of the Pre-1901 census fragments, Census search forms and Soldiers' Wills, it seems news of another interesting project being undertaken by the National Archives of Ireland (NAI) has been overlooked: the listing of the Finance Compensation (post-truce) files. This collection of about 20,000 files relates to claims for compensation for loss of or damage to property that occurred as a result of military action between July 1921 and March 1923. Claims were made under the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act, 1923.

The National Archives describes these files as recording 'the name and address of the claimant and the amount paid in compensation and also a brief narrative of the military action or incident that led to the loss of the property, along with an inventory of the property lost. Using these files, a detailed picture of every incident causing loss of, destruction of, or damage to property during the Civil War can be established.'

So far, the NAI has added the files for three counties to its online catalogue. Images are not available; researchers can access the original files in the NAI Reading Room in Bishop Street, Dublin.

The three counties are:

Files for more counties will be added to the catalogue in due course.

The records of earlier compensation schemes covering 1916 and the period of the War of Independence are also held by the NAI; the Property Losses (Ireland) Committee files, which mainly relate to damage in Dublin during the 1916 Rising, are expected to be made available later in 2014.

A separate archive – the Compensation (Ireland) Commission or Shaw Commission – relates to claims for the period January 1919 to July 1921. The majority of these record only the name and address of the claimant and the amount paid in compensation.