Tuesday 11 March 2014

Recent updates of Irish interest to Ancestry

While there hasn't been a big Irish collection added to Ancestry.co.uk for some time, there has been a spate of new arrivals and updates over the last three weeks that deserve a bit of a mention.

Lower Canada/Quebec 1825 and 1842
The most recent additions of particular interest are the Lower Canada censuses of 1825 and 1842, which hold more than 120,000 records. A good proportion of entries relate to Irish immigrants who were the most numerous immigrants to Canada throughout the 19th century. And not just because of the Famine exodus.

We tend to think that Irish immigrants to Canada were all desperate migrants escaping the Famine that gripped Ireland in the second half of the 1840s. But in the preceding thirty years, and especially in the 1820s and early 1830s, many Irish & mainly Catholic tenant farmers & had emigrated and settled along the St Lawrence River. By 1844, they made up more than 6% of the population, so these two record sets are worth checking out.

As with so many early and regional record sets, the information contained in these censuses isn't fullsome. Heads of households are identified with full name, but the people within their household are captured only numerically. So, for example, there's a Patrick Doyle living in Hemmingford, Huntingdon, with four others, but no names or exact ages are recorded. The same applies to the 1842 census.

These collections are also available free of charge on Family Search, along with the 1831 census.

Liverpool and Manchester
Parish register collections for both these large English urban centres have been 'updated', according to Ancestry. No precise detail about the nature of the update is provided, but these are such large and important collections for Irish family history research, and cover such huge chunks of time, it's probably as well to check them out again if your Irish ancestors travelled through or settled in either city.

New York Naturalisation Petitions
This collection of some 1.2million records has been 'updated'. Naturalisation papers were filed in various federal, state, and local courts in New York dates from 1794 to 1906 and the collection includes many, many Irish emigrants.

The information available for each individual recorded in the collection includes name and surname, birth date or age, arrival port and date and details of where the original papers can be found. While the amount of information contained in each document varies widely across the 110-year span as well as according to place, these records often contain significant genealogical information, so they're well worth a second search to see if 'updated' has added any new entries.

Canada, Seafarers of the Atlantic Provinces, 1860-1899
This is a brand-new collection to Ancestry, containing data on the vessels, captains and crews of Great Britain and Atlantic Canada. It is fully searchable by name, and other particulars and the records include a wealth of information including birth and residence, rank, voyage departure and arrival places and dates, vessel name and registration, and even wages and deaths at sea.