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Friday, 6 February 2015

Project underway on Tullynally Castle's wage ledgers

Tullynally Castle, near Castlepollard, Co Westmeath.
Photo by Peter Gavigan
An interesting new family history resource is being prepared by Dún Na Sí Heritage Centre, the Irish Family History Foundation's designated genealogical centre for County Westmeath, in collaboration with the Pakenham family of Tullynally Castle.

The project involves the scanning and indexing of 21 volumes of wages ledgers for staff who worked at the Castle near Castlepollard in the north of the county. Also known as Packenham Hall Castle, Tullynally is the largest house in private hands in Ireland and has been the home of the Packenham family (now the Earls
of Longford) since the second half of the 17th century.

The wages ledgers don't go back that far! Senior genealogist Bernie Norris told Irish Genealogy News that the ledgers date to the early 1800s. "They record both men and women by their first name and surname, which is quite unusual for these types of records, and they are laid out by the days of the week to show exactly which days were worked and how much was due in wages. Later ledgers also record the very specific duties performed by each individual."

The scanning of the ledgers is underway and should be completed in the next few months, at which point the collection will be indexed by name.

"We're not expecting that the resulting database will be uploaded to the Internet for full public access," says Bernie. "However, the Pakenham family is keen that this information be shared without charge with researchers who believe their ancestor worked in the house or in the grounds."

No research queries can be handled until the project is finished, so, if you know your family had some connection with the Castle, keep an eye on the Dún Na Sí Heritage Centre website for that news before submitting your request.