Thursday 20 March 2014

Argentinian censuses record 19th-century Irish

Ancestry has uploaded the 1865 census of Argentina and the 1895 census of Argentina to its database. The 1865 census was the first national census taken in the country and it holds returns for 1,799,773 individuals including a small Irish community mostly centred on Buenos Aires. The 1895 census was the second national census and holds 3.9m records.

Recent research suggests around 50,000 Irish emigrated to Argentina in the 19th century, so it's no surprise to find Doyles, Carthys and Driscolls among the entries in these record sets.

The original census records are held at the Archivo General de la Nación in Buenos Aires. They're written in Spanish but it's easy enough to translate the categories and responses if that's not a language with which you're familiar. The information provided includes name, age, nationality, marital status, occupation, literacy and residence. Unfortunately, only if born in Argentina are details provided of the individual's birthplace.

Potentially more helpful is the 1855 Buenos Aires census, also new to Ancestry. This census of the capital holds details of 132,000 people,including a couple of hundred Irish. Many of the entries include a place of birth. We're not talking townland level, but some indication of locality is provided. Below are a few examples:
  • Maria Kelly, a 22 year old, married domestic servant was born in Mullingar and had lived in Buenos Aires for six years
  • Daniel Carthy, a 21-year-old single labourer who'd been in Buenos Aires for just one year, came from Cork.
  • Tomas Higgins, a 20-year-old batchelor cook was born in Westmeath* and had lived in Argentina capital for 8 years

*As with many of the early Irish migrants to Argentina, Tomas was recorded as of English nationality but his place of birth shows this to be incorrect.

All three of these record sets are also available free of charge, with images, on FamilySearch.