Thursday 28 March 2019

Coolattin Lives: free family history resource launched

If you have ancestral connections to the Coolattin Estate in the south of County Wicklow, you're in for a treat. (If you don't, you're going to be green with envy!) new website – – has been launched in a collaboration between Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely; Trinity College Dublin; National Library of Ireland; and Wicklow County Archives.

It's a free resource with a database containing tenant records for the Coolattin Estate from pre- to post-Famine, plus access to digitised collections held by Wicklow County Archives.

The database holds:
  • Tenant Lists, transcribed from maps drawn up in 1841-42, showing how much land was held by each head of household and the name of landlord
  • Lists of tenants in rent arrears and given Notice to Quit are in the Ejectment (Eviction) ledger books, 1845-60
  • Detailed records of some 6,000 tenants who departed Ireland for Canada under the Fitzwilliam Assisted Emigration Scheme, 1847-1856.
  • Tenant Lists of those who remained on the estate in 1868 and in 1861-86
It can be searched by an individual's name or by townland name, and there is also a browseable historical map.

Some examples of the discoveries you might make:
  • Thomas Jolly was evicted from his home in the townland of Sleaghroe in September 1863 for non-payment of £16 rent. 
  • In 1868, a 42-year-old labourer called Matt Doolin lived in the townland of Ardoyne with his 44-year-old wife, a son and a daughter, his mother in law and a cousin.
  • Ann Byrne, aged 36, lived with her 37-year old husband, Pat, and their children Biddy (4) and Ann (18 months) in Cronelea (civil parish Mullinacuff). They rented cabin and kitchen garden from Thomas Twamley and shared it with Pat's sisters Biddy (29) and Ann (27). The family emigrated in 1847.
You'll also find direct free access to three important local collections: the Wicklow Grand Jury Presentments 1818-1899, and the Admission and Discharge registers of Shillelagh and Rathdrum Workhouses.

There's more information about how the project has come together on, yet another site family historians with local connections should explore.

Congratulations to all involved. I'd love to see more local projects like this come to fruition.