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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Ancestry debuts key Revolutionary collections, free

As we approach Easter and the peak of events from the 1916 centenary commemorations programme, Ancestry has released two key record collections: the Courts Martial Files, 1916–1922 and the Intelligence Profiles, 1914–1922.

Neither set of records has been online before, and Ancestry is publishing them as permanently free-to-access collections.

Ireland, Courts Martial Files, 1916-1922: This collection of Field General Courts Martial Records holds nearly 2,000 searchable names as well as additional names found within the images. Each record contains evidence against the defendants, their statements and proclamations. Among the reoords is intelligence data on √Čamon on de Valera and Michael Collins.

Beyond the leaders, the records relate to individuals suspected of being involved with the Nationalist movement in Ireland. Arrests were made under Martial Law for conspiracy, murder, treason, and securing and publishing secret government information.

Also contained is these files are an alphabetical roll of prisoners and detailed individual prisoner cases of those imprisoned as a result of Court Martial Proceedings.

In its Source Information, Ancestry mentions that the foliation of some files in this collection can be out of sequence; this is because the Courts Martial files were chronologically ordered.

You can read a blogpost by Mike Mulligan, a Principal Product Manager based at Ancestry's Dublin office, for more about the historic context and national importance of this collection.

Ireland, Intelligence Profiles, 1914-1922: This collection opens up the records of the British Intelligence Forces who were keeping a close eye on the movements and meetings of Irish nationalists. Most of the records date from 1917 but include some people who were involved in the Independence cause prior to that date. They relate to activities across the entire island.

In addition to the nearly 800 names now searchable, the collection includes more than 22,000 browseable images.

The original files for both these collections are held by The National Archives in Kew, London. Ancestry notes full details for both collections in its Source Information.