Friday, 13 September 2019

FindMyPast adds Irish Boundary Commission Records

FindMyPast has digitised the Irish Boundary Commission, 1924-1925 collection held by the National Archives (UK). This Commission was set up to determine the boundary between the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland*.

This sample page (click for enlarged image) shows the
preference for titles and initials over first names
While copies of the records are quite freely available online, I think this the first time they've been indexed, opening up their content to a wider audience.

More than 47,000 records, made up of minutes, papers and reports, correspondence, and records of oral and written evidence, are held in the collection and can now be searched by place and name. The index offers searches for eight of the nine Ulster counties – Antrim, Armagh, Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, LondonDerry, Monaghan and Tyrone – plus Dublin.

Among the highlights of the collection is a numerical census giving names of heads of household in Castlederg, Clogher and Dungannon Unions and Omagh Urban District.

When searching the online collection, FindMyPast advises that formal documentation of the period tended to use titles and/or initials rather than first names. 'For example, if your search is unsuccessful for William Smith, try Mr Smith or Lord Smith. Alternatively, if your search is unsuccessful for Mary Smith and she was married to John Smith, try Mrs John Smith or alternatively Mrs Smith. If needed, you can narrow your results by including additional search criteria such as a year, location name or county.'

* The Commission was intended to research, take evidence and subsequently recommend any alterations needed to the border. Its final report was never published, so the border remained as originally created. You can read a detailed feature about the Commission and its aftermath, published in History Ireland magazine, here.