Cork is in the province of Munster and is the largest county in Ireland. Its major towns are Bandon, Cohb, Cork, Fermoy, Kinsale, Mallow, Skibbereen, and Youghal. Cork was one of the worst affected areas in the Great Famine of 1845-47, losing 200,000 persons (one-quarter of the total population) between 1841 and 1851. Of these, 150,000 died and 50,000 emigrated.
This Munster county is the largest in Ireland. The major towns in the county are Cork city, Mallow, Mitchelstown, youghal, Kanturk, Cobh, Fermoy, Knsale, Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Bantry, and Bandon.
Before the establishment of the county system, the area of the present county was divided between the territories of Desmond, Muskerry, and Corca Laoidhe. The major Gaelic families in the county were McCarthy, O'Keefe, Murphy, O'Mahony, O'Callaghan, O'Donovan, O'Driscoll, and O'Riordan.
The city of Cork itself was founded in the sixth century by the establishment of a monastery and school on the site by St. Finbarr. In the early ninth century the Norse Vikings raided and later settledi n the town, establishing it as a trading post.
In the twelfth century the county was granted to the Norman knights Fitzstephen and De Cogan. They brought over other Anglo-Norman settlers and built near the present city of Cork. Like the Norsemen, the Normans in the county gradually merged with the native Irish and adopted the Irish way of life. The main names of Norman extraction in the county are Barry, Roche, Cogan and Nagle.
The power of Norman and Gaelic families was broken after the unsuccessful revolt of the Earl of Desmond in the late sixteenth century. Many families lost their holdings and their land in 1583 to English advertureres. during what is known as the Plantation of Munster, around 15,000 people were brought over and settled in Cork an nearby counties. Most of them left during Hugh O'Neill's war with the English in 1598. Some returned again after his defeat but the plantation was largely a failure. Further English settlers came in the 1650's following the defeat of the 1641 rebellion, and many left and emigrated to Canada, Australia and the Americas.
In the Great famine of 1845-47, County Cork was one of the most severely affected areas. The population which peaked at 854,000 in 1841 had fallen to 650,000 in 1851. Almost 150,000 peple died between 1845 and 1850 and thousands emigrated. The population is currently about 404,000.
The most common names in Cork now are O'Sullivan, Murphy, McCarthy, Mahoney, O'Donovan, Walsh, O'Brien, O'Callaghan, O'Leary, Crowley, Collins, O'Driscoll, O'Connell, Barry, Cronin, Buckley, Daly, Sheehy, O'Riordan and Kelliher.
Church RecordsCatholic. Some Cork County Catholic parish registers survive from as early as 1748, though most go back to only the early 1800s. The originals are usually still held by the parish priests. Names and addresses for current priests are listed in the "Irish Catholic Directory" found at LDS and other genealogical libraries. All of the extant records for Cork County have been filmed by the National Library and written permission is not required from the priests of any Cork County parish to research these films. The National Archives also holds a list of available registers. Records of Catholic families may be found in Church or Ireland registers. Catholic parishes in the City of Cork are very large and the format is often very inconsistent from page to page, making them very difficult to use.
Church of Ireland. Many original Church of Ireland parish registers are still in the parish of origin. Names and addresses for current clergy are listed in the "Church of Ireland Directory". Some have been filmed and are in the Representative Church Body Library; others are at the National Archives. Written permission of the local clergy of any County Cork parish is not required to view these microfilms. A list of surviving registers is held at the National Archives, the National Library and the Genealogical Office. "O'Kief, Coshe Mang, Slieve Lougher, and Upper Blackwater in Ireland" by Albert Casey contains Church of Ireland registers for these areas. Registers for County Cork parishes can be found in Volumes 8, 11 and 14. The book can be found in public libraries with major genealogical holdings. It has also been filmed by the LDS.
The Mallow Heritage Centre has computerized records of Catholic and Church of Ireland registers in County Cork, except for the City of Cork and its environs. Cork City records are covered by the Cork City Ancestral Project, located at the Cork County Library. The Mallow Heritage Centre will conduct an initial search for $35 or 20 pounds. If any records on your family are found, they will send the results to you for a further $25 or 15 pounds. Send as much information on your ancestor as possible.
Presbyterian. A listing of all available Presbyterian records is at the Presbyterian Historical Society. Registers for the parishes of Bandon, Cork, Lismore and Queenstown are still in local custody.
Quaker. All births, marriages and deaths were registered at Quaker monthly meetings. For County Cork, pre-1859 registers have survived and can be found at the Library of the Society of Friends in Dublin. Registers for Cork City from 1625 to 1860 and for Youghal parish from 1652 to 1839 have been filmed by the LDS.
Indexes to Marriage Bonds
Marriage bonds were required prior to obtaining a license to marry. Neither bonds nor licences survived the 1922 fire. However, some indexes to them did survive. The National Archives possess those for County Cork for the years 1623-1845 for the diocese of Cork and Ross; and for 1630-1867 for the diocese of Cloyne. Indexes for both dioceses have been filmed by the LDS. Marriage bonds usually refer only to upper classes and landowners.
Censuses and Substitutes
The only complete censuses for County Cork (or anywhere else in Ireland) that are presently available to the public are for 1901 and 1911. They are located at the Public Record Office. An index to townlands and streets for the 1911 census for Cork can be found on microfilm at the LDS.
The only other government census that has survived for any of County Cork is for 1851, and this is for only very few parishes, namely Kilworth and parts of Kilcrumper, Leitrim and Macroney parishes. The original is at the PRO. "County Cork, Ireland, a collection of 1851 census records" by J. Masterson may be found in some libraries, including LDS, and it can be purchased on line through Amazon.com.
Griffith's Valuation, or the Householders Index, taken from 1851 to 1853 in County Cork, could prove a useful tool in light of the deficiency in real censuses. It is mainly used when you do not know the parish your ancestor was from. If your ancestor's name was common, it may be difficult to establish this, and there is actually little genealogical value to the Valuation. If your surname was common, the surveyors sometimes added the householder's father's first name to distinguish between individuals. The original index is housed at the Valuation Office in Dublin. Copies are widely available in genealogical libraries, including LDS, and at the National Archives, National Library and the Genealogical Office.
The Tithe Applotment Survey, taken in 1823 and 1837 could also be used for lack of censuses. This lists only those who occupied agricultural land. If your ancestor lived in a city, they would not be found here. The Survey can be found at the National Archives, National Library and the Genealogical Office, and copies are widely distributed in genealogical libraries, including LDS.
A religious census, taken in 1766 and listing whether inhabitants were Catholic or Protestant, survives for many Cork parishes and can be found in the PRO. Those for the parishes of Dunbulloge and Kilmichael have been published in the Journal of Cork Historical and Archeological Society, Volumes 51 and 26, respectively.
Militia lists for all males aged 16 to 60 in 1761 in County Cork can be found in the Genealogical Office.
Many other census substitutes for specific parishes have survived, and most are housed in the National Archives or National Library. Use their indexes or ask at a local historical society for your parish for what may be available and its location.
Rosemary Ffolliott has published an "Index to Biographical Notices Collected from Newspapers, Principally Relating to Cork and Kerry, 1756-1827". This "index" is actually a transcription of the complete notices in alphabetical order. The National Library and the Cork City Library have copies of this index. It has also been filmed by the LDS.
Various issues of the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archeological Society contain genealogical data, including local history, gravestone inscriptions and extracts from Cork directories.
There is also a Bandon Historical Journal, which may help those with ancestors in the Bandon area.
The Irish Ancestor journal has a number of articles pertaining to County Cork.
"Trace Your Ancestors in County Cork" by Nora M. Hickey.
A number of directories, which may be helpful in finding ancestors, exist as follows:
County and City of Cork Post Office Directory, 1842-1843, filmed by the LDS.
Holden's Triennial Directory for Cork City, 1809, at the Genealogical Office and LDS.
Directory of Cork, Youghal and Kinsale, 1787 and 1821, in the National Library, Society of Genealogists in London, LDS, and in the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archeological Society, 1967.
Information on DepositoriesAddress, etc. for National Depositories can be found on the County Index page.
Cork Archives Institute
S. Main Street
Has collections deposited by private individuals, families and associations.
Listing of records filmed by LDS
Hours: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., 2:30 - 5 p.m., M-F
Cork Central Library
Has extensive local interest collection.
Cork County Library
Cork Archives Institute
Christ Church Centre
South Main Street
Family History Center
Cork Genealogical Society
4 Evergreen Villas
. County Cork - Mallow Heritage Centre
27/28 Bank Place
Mallow, County Cork
Cork City Ancestral Project, County Library, Farranlea Road, Cork City
Superintendent Registrars where Irish Birth/Death/Marriage Certificates may be obtained:
Cork North County Offices, Annabella, Mallow, Co. Cork (022) 21123
Cork South 18 Liberty Street, Cork City, Co. Cork(021) 275126
Cork West Mr. Seamus Ryan The Courthouse, Skibbereen, Co. Cork(028) 21299
Ardmore Journal (annual),
Mr. J.J. Quain, Garry Rhu, Windsor Hill, Glounthane, Co. Cork
Aubane Historical Society
Millstreet, Co. Cork
Tel: 029 70131
Ballincollig Community School Local History Society Journal (annual)
Ballincollig, Co. Cork
Bandon HIstorical Journal (annual),
Mr. P. Cunniffe, Bandon Local HIstory Society, Bawnishal, Hare Hill,
Bandon, Co. Cork
Beara Historical Society
Mr. Connie Murphy
N.T. East End
Castletownbere, Co. Cork
Blackpool Historical Society
Mr. Donal O'Sullivan
Shalom, Mount Desert
Lee Road, Cork
Canovee Historical and Archaelogical Society
Mr. Denis Long
Farnanes, Co. Cork
Charleville and District Historical Society
Mr. Patrick Collins
Cooline, Charlesville, Co. Cork
Cloich na Coillte-Cumann Seanchais
Mr. Michael Donovan
Clonakilty, Co. Cork
Cloyne Literary & Historical Society Mr. James Long,
Cloyne, Co. Cork, Ireland.
Cork Historical and Archaeological Society Journal (annual),
Mr. P Holohan, Ballysheey Lodge, Cloigheen, Co. Cork
Cork Holly Bough (annual),
The Manager, Cork Examiner, 95 Patrick Street, Cork
Duhallow Heritage Society
Mr. Timmie O'Shea
Newmarket, Co. Cork
Great Island Historical Society
Mr. Patrick Healy
Ardeen, Norwood Park
Cobh, Co. Cork
Kinsale Historical Journal (annual),
Mrs. N. Hickey, Church Square, Kinsale, Co.Cork
Mallow Field Club Journal (annual),
Mallow Field Club
Mizen Peninsula Archaelogical and Historical society
Ms. Deirdre Collins
Poll An Uisce, High Street
Schull, Co. Cork
Mr. Gerard McCarthy
Kinsale, Co. Cork
Seanchas Duthalla Diarmuid Uas Us Cadhla,
Cullen, Mallow, Co. Cork
Youghal Heritage Society
Youghal, Co. Cork
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