Thursday, 20 October 2016

Ancestry releases a trio of useful pensions collections

Part of the 1922 ledger entry for
RIC pensioner James Connor
It's Pensions Day, thanks to Ancestry, with three very useful new collections for Irish researchers to explore.

Royal Irish Constabulary Pensions 1873-1925:
This collection comprises some 130,000 records of pension payments made to retired officers of the mainly Roman Catholic police force. The records are searchable by name, but there's also a browse facility. The image to the right shows a fairly typical entry in the 1922 ledger, when men were noted as being either British enlistments or Irish enlistments, alongside which the payments made during the ledger year were recorded.

When retired officers died, the ledger notes the date of death and also provides names of widows and children, and the amount they were to receive in allowances. In some cases it notes what evidence of death – death certificate or probate, for example – was provided for approval of payments to dependants.

Some entries also note the emigration of a retired officer, and the new, overseas, place of payment.

Royal Hospital Kilmainham Pensioner Discharge Documents, 1724-1924:
This collection of nearly 105,000 records is made up of certificates of pensioners of the Royal Kilmainham Hospital in Dublin. The Hospital dates back to 1680 and when built housed just 20 retired soldiers. It continued to be a veterans' home for more than two and a half centuries.

For each record, details provided generally include name, age, calculated year of birth, rank, regiment, date and place of admission to pension and/or date of discharge. In some cases a place of birth is provided. Here are a few of examples of entries I found in my travels through this collection:

– Martin Tobin, a private with the 62nd Foot Regiment – Pension Admission on 30 August 1858, aged 41, in Dublin.

– Owen Tierney, born Dungannon, Co Tyrone, a private with the 3rd Regiment of Royal Veterans – Discharged on 1 June 1821, aged 38, in Dublin.

– Thomas Lonergan, born Mollough, Co Tipperary, a dragoon with the 7th or Princess Royal's Regiment of Dragoons Guards – discharged on 10 June 1792 in Dublin, aged 44.

UK, Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Admissions and Discharges, 1715-1925:
This collection of some 920,000 records is made up of registers of the award of 'out-pensions' of the Royal Hospital Chelsea to soldiers discharged from the Regular Army or the Militia on account of disability. Some British Army pensioners chose to surrender their pension in order to take up residence at the Royal Hospital. Those who preferred to receive their pension allowance and live elsewhere were called 'out pensioners'.

Inevitably, there are a lot of Irishmen in this collection. Those noting birthplaces in Ireland number about 40,000, but I'm sure there are many more. Here are a few representative entries of Irishmen going through the pension process in the 18th and early-19th centuries:

– Jas Doyle, born about 1722 in Charleville, County Cork, a Sargeant with the 47th Regiment of Foot – Examination or Pension Admission Date, 4 December 1759.

– Henry Sullivan, born about 1750 in Drogheda, Co Louth, a private with the 26th Regiment of Foot – Discharged 7 June 1811.

– Dominick Gallagher, born about 1736 in Sligo, served in Major Bowen's Company – Examination or Pension Admission Date, 1 February 1802.

NOTE, 20 October: Ancestry seems to be either having a connection problem with these new collections or is suffering from capacity overload. You may find the above links don't get you through to the collection's 'home' pages. The links are correct, however. I have double-checked them.

UPDATE, 21 October: The RIC collection seems fine, but the other two have disappeared from Ancestry's card catalogue and list of recent uploads, indicating that something technical is amiss, so cannot currently be reached. I'll keep an eye on this in case the links change when the problem is resolved.