Sunday 17 April 2016

Free access: FindMyPast's new Irish Revolution records has today launched some 75,000 records relating to the Easter Rising and the Irish War of Independence, 1916–1921.

The collection, digitised from original records held by The National Archives in Kew, reveals the struggles of life under Martial Law in Ireland, and demonstrates how events under the occupying military served to galvanise support for the rebels.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising on 24 April, this collection is being launched with ten days of free access.

The records reveal the impact that the conflict had on men, women and children across Ireland. There are eye-witness accounts, interviews with civilians and reports of the trials of the leaders of the Rising and their sentences of execution.

The once-classified records shine new light on the subsequent period of Martial Law in Ireland, including the War of Independence, and provide a picture of what life was like for ordinary citizens in Ireland during this turbulent time.

Some 25,000 search-and-raid records show the efforts of the military and police to discover arms, ammunition and seditious material through thousands of raids as well as their search for individuals associated with Sinn Féin, Irish Citizen Army, Irish Volunteers and the Irish Republican Army.

Military correspondence between the barracks in Dublin and the War Office in London grants new perspectives on the motivations and fears of the British Army leadership, while the movements and actions of several key nationalist figures are also documented, including those of James Connolly, Eamon De Valera, Thomas Ashe, Joseph MacDonagh, Arthur Griffith, Padraig Pearse and Francis and Hannah Sheehy Skeffington and Countess Markievicz.

To view the records free of charge you'll need a FindMyPast account with one of the company's four territories.You don't need to have a current subscription, just an account. If you don't already have one, click on one of the flags below and sign up with your email and name. No financial information is requested in this process.

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The launch period of free access will expire on 27 April. From 28 April, you'll need an Ireland, Britain or World subscription to view the records.

Edited note: When I first published this blogpost I thought that FindMyPast's new collection included the same record sets launched by Ancestry last month. I was mistaken; the two records sets are distinct. For example, the FindMyPast collection includes the Courts Martial Registers ie lists of Court Martials, while Ancestry's collection has the Court Martial Files; FindMyPast has the Search-and-Raid records, while Ancestry has the Intelligence Profiles. Apologies for my error.