Sunday 15 December 2013

Android app delivers Dublin's 1911 census is a brand-new android app that focusses on the capital in 1911 and allows you to access transcriptions of more than 300,000 detailed 1911 census entries. It's free to download/install via PlayStore.

Search options are first name, surname, Dublin area and age range, and you can use any or all of them. The returned results provide basic details including exact age recorded, occupation and religion.

So a search for my grandmother's uncle John Doyle, who lived in South Dock, produced 16 results of men of all ages. It was easy enough to pick him out from the list of 16 as I knew he was a Roman Catholic coachsmith. Clicking on his details took me through to further details, which showed he lived in Sandwith Street Lower*, was married and born in County Wexford. A further 'household' screen showed details for his wife, Elizabeth, and a boarder, another coachmaker, a Dublin-born widower called Matthew Goulding.

All the results are transcriptions. There are no images, nor any link to the National Archives of Ireland's online census site. There is, however, a thank you in the credit list to the NAI for supplying the original database to the development team.

The Dublineage application also provides rich content about Dublin just before a decade of phenomenol change in Ireland. A 69-page ebook produced by UCD Master's Degree Geography students in 2011 – Second City - Dublin in 1911 – delivers statistical and factual information about the capital, together with maps, graphs and photos, at the time of the census. Its text comes to life in an accompanying (13-minute) video documentary – Dublin 1911 – A City in Distress – that explores that world further and includes interviews with some of Ireland's top historians.

If you can't access the app but would like to view these resources, you can download the ebook here (58mb pdf) and watch the video on YouTube here.

The app also contains some brief factsheets about Dublin's districts (did you know, for example, that Murphy was the most common surname in Drumcondra?)

The app, which is currently available only for android, has been produced by seven UCD classmates: Robert Andrew, Stephen Browne, Timmy Fisher, Neal Genocchi, Damien Hunt, Samuel Kristensen and Clinton Sweenam, who have founded Blackwater Apps. They say they will consider launching an iphone/ipad version in the New Year, but they're looking to see the level of interest in this android version first.

Feedback is requested.

My own opinion is that this is a neat little tool with an attractive and uncluttered interface. I'm not sure that the factsheets add a lot (perhaps they need beefing up a bit), but the search function is easy enough to get along with and the ebook and video are well-done. I don't have Dublin ancestors other than the John Doyle I've mentioned above, but if I did, I'm sure I'd find Dublineage very useful, convenient and fun.

*transcribed erroneously as Sandwhich Street Lower in this app.