Saturday 19 March 2016

Any policemen among your Irish ancestors?

FindMyPast has added three Royal Irish Constabulary record-sets to its Ireland and World collections, and they'll be of certain interest to anyone whose pre-Independence ancestors were policemen.

The Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) was the police force in Ireland from its establishement by the British Government in 1836 until it was disbanded in 1922. It was an armed force, responsible for keeping the peace, preventing crime and suppressing rebellions and the regular agrarian disturbances of the time. These records are held by the National Archives in Kew, London.

Here are some brief details of each of these record sets:

Royal Irish Constabulary Pensions 1873-1925 contains more than 125,000 records from a variety of sources: pension registers, registers of deceased pensioners, pension rolls upon disbandment (1922), and registers of widows and children. Depending on the source, the details in the records may contain name, birth date, rank and RIC number, date of pension entitlement, date of discharge, amount paid and where collected, and names and birth dates of the policeman's children. Some of the records also confirm whether the policeman paid into the Constabulary Force Fund (aka the Reward Fund), which paid out to recognise significant achievement and/or bravery.

The Irish Revenue Police was formed in 1830 to work as an armed escort to the Customs and Excise Service. The main duties of its officers were to enforce the prohibition of illegal distillation of spirits or poitín. This collection – Irish Revenue Police 1830-1857 – contains more than 38,000 records of men who served in this short-lived force (it was disbanded in 1857 and its duties taken over by the RIC). Among the documents held in this collection are appointment registers, dismissal records and transfers of privates between stations.

The third record set – Royal Irish Constabulary History & Directories – is a collection of published works. If your ancestor was a policemen you can find out a lot more about the history of the organisation, explore its training manual, and find your ancestor’s name on a list of commendations. These are the publications included in the collection:
  • Royal Irish Constabulary List & Directory for The Half-Year Commencing 1 Jan 1910
  • Royal Irish Constabulary List & Directory For Half-Year Commencing 1 July 1889
  • Royal Irish Constabulary List & Directory, January 1915
  • Royal Irish Constabulary List & Directory, January 1920
  • The History Of The Royal Irish Constabulary
  • The Royal Irish Constabulary Manual/Guide To The Discharge Of Police Duties, 6th ed.