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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Irish Census Records and Substitutes for Missing Censuses

(Supplied by Roberta Gaynor & Helen Richards)

| School Records | Griffiths Valuation | Tithe Applotment Books | Old Age Pensioners | | Undertakers | Muster Rolls | Books of Survey | The Civil Survey | Penders Census | Subsidy Rolls | | Hearth Money Rolls | Cess Tax Accounts | 17 Century Census Substitutes | Substitutes | Availability | Religious censuses | 1821 Census | 1831 Census | 1841 Census | 1851 Census | 1861, 1871, 1881 & 1891 Census | 1901 Census | 1911 Census |


Religious census returns for certain places were taken in the 18th Century (c.1740-66). These were some of the first census returns in Ireland and some still survive today. However, the first complete census returns were taken in 1813. This enumeration was followed by others in 1821,1831, and every ten years thereafter until 1911. Most of these census returns have been destroyed. The 1901 census is the first complete census in existence today. Although many of the census records were destroyed, there are some substitutes that may be helpful.

Registration of non-Catholic marriages began in 1845 in Ireland. Registration of births, marriages and deaths, regardless of religion, began January 1, 1864. Birth certificates include the date and place of birth; the name; the sex; the name, surname and residence of the father; the name, surname, maiden surname of the mother; the rank, profession or occupation of the father; and the name and qualifications of the informant, usually a family member. A given name was not obligatory, so some entries are Kelly, Male or Clarke, Female. The FHLC holds microfilm copies of the Birth Index 1864-1955; Records 1864-1881 and 1900-1955 (note the gaps 1882-1899 and 1913-1930 in the FHLC). Some pages are missing from 1869: p. 49-50 (gap between Carroll, John, of Dungannon  and Carvill, James Richard, of Limerick; and all pages following Thompson, Elenor Jane, of Belfast.

2. CONTENT (available censuses only)

Religious censuses (1740-66).
This census varies in their details, but may include the heads of households, parish by parish, and indicate their religion; or may give statistics only. Some returns are available for Dioceses such as Ardagh, Armagh, Clogher, Cloyne, Connor, Cork, Derry, Dromore, Down, Elphin, Ferns, Kildare, Kilmore, Ossory, Raphoe and Ross.
1821 Census
This census gives names of inhabitants, relation to head, ages, occupations, and information about the house and property. Some returns are available for parishes A-M, County Cavan; A-D, County Offaly; A-R, Fermanagh; A-L, Galway; A-T, Meath.
1831 Census
This census gives names of inhabitants, relation to head, ages, occupations, and information about the house and property. Some returns are available for the following parishes in Londonderry County: Agevey, Aghanloo, Arboe, Artrea, Banagher, Glendermot, Killowen, Macosquin, Tamlaght-Finlagen, Templemore, and Termoneeny.
1841 Census
This census gives names of inhabitants, ages, sex, relation to head, marital condition, year of marriage, occupation and birthplace (country, county, or city). The only return available is for Killeshandra Parish, County Cavan.
1851 Census
This census gives the same information as the 1841 plus a list of those people belonging to the family that are not present (including their names, ages, sex, relation to head, present occupation, and country, county, or city of current residence) and a list of those family members who died while residing with the family during the last 10 years (including names, age, sex, relation to head, occupation, season and year of death). Returns are available for Drumkeeran, County Fermanagh and the following parishes in County Antrim: Aghagallon, Aghalee, Ballinderry, Ballymoney, Carncartle, Craigs (Ahoghill), Dunaghy, Grange of Killyglen, Killead, Kilwaughter, Larne, Rasharkin, and Tickmacreevin.

1861, 1871, 1881 & 1891 Census Fragments

Those for 1861 1871 1881 and 1891 were completely destroyed earlier, by order of the government. Virtually nothing survives. The only transcripts are contained in the Catholic registers of Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, (1861), and Drumcondra and Loughbraclen, Co. Meath (1871).

1901 Census
This census gives name of inhabitants, relation to head, religion, age, sex, occupation, marital condition, birthplace (country, county, or city), information on house and property including the name of the lease holder. This census is available online in its entirety.
1911 Census
This census gives same information as the 1901 plus the number of years married, total number of children born alive, and number of children still living. This census is available online in its entirety.

3. Availability  

a). Most of the existing census records are on film at the Genealogical Society up to 1901. For the 1911 Census, only parts of County Antrim are at the Genealogical Society.

b). In Ireland, these records are found at the Public Record Offices in Belfast and Dublin and the Genealogical Office in Dublin.

4. Substitutes

Old Age Pensioners Claims  (1841- 51).
In 1908 the Old Age Pension Act was passed and with this act came the need for proof of age. In many instances, census returns of 1841 and 1851 were used.  In some cases, actual extracts are available for these censuses. In most cases, Old Age Pension Search Forms are all that survive. These search forms ask for the claimant's name, father, mother, exact address when census was taken, age in census, age at claim, and census year for which the search is requested. These records exist primarily for Northern Ireland and most are on film at the Genealogical Society.


Tithe Applotment Books  (1823 -1838).
This record provides a detailed account, parish by parish, of the land occupiers in each townland and includes the extent and value of their individual farms. Those in urban areas are not included. The Tithe Applotment Books for all of Ireland are on microfilm at the Genealogical Society. Indexes for these records are available at the Public Record Offices in Belfast and the National Library in Dublin.  Please note in some areas there are no names listed only the townland and land description are recorder.


Griffiths Valuation (1848 -1864).
This government survey of all privately held lands and buildings was taken to determine the amount of tax that each person should pay toward support of the poor and destitute in each Poor Law Union. All occupiers or tenants, and the immediate lessors of all lands, buildings, etc. for private or business use were liable for the tax. In some areas, these valuations start in 1839; but the majority exists from 1848-64. Such information as the name of tenants, lessor, townland, parish, and tax will be found on these records. They exist for all of Ireland and for the most part are available at the Genealogical Society. An index by surname by parish and county is available at the National Library of Ireland in Dublin.


School Records (c. 1850 -1920).
These are primarily records of public schools and include names of pupils, ages, religion, days absent or present, occupation of parents, residence of family, and the name of the school. Sometime the name of the county and school last attended may be given or the cause of withdrawal and destination of the pupil. Most of these records are indexed and are at the Public Record Office in Dublin and Belfast or the Genealogical Office in Dublin. The Genealogical Society has microfilmed many of those available from Northern Ireland.


5. 17 Century Census Substitutes

The Historical Manuscripts Commission Report, 4, (Hastings Mss) gives lists of English and Scottish large landlords granted land in the northern counties of Cavan, Donegal, and Fermanagh. These were known as undertakers.
These are lists of large landlords in Ulster, and the names of the able-bodied men that they could assemble to fight if the need arose. They are arranged by county, and by district within the county. The Armagh County Museum copy is available in the National Library of Ireland (Positive microfilm 206). Published lists are noted under the relevant county, along with later lists in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.
1641 Books of Survey and Distribution
After the wars of the mid seventeenth century, the English government needed solid information on land ownership throughout Ireland to carry out its policy of land redistribution. The Books of Survey and Distribution record ownership before the Cromwellian and Williamite confiscations, c.1641, and after, c.1666.
The Books for Clare, Galway, Mayo and Roscommon have been published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission. For other counties, manuscript copies are available at the National Library.
1654-56 The Civil Survey
This too was a record of land ownership in 1640, compiled between 1655 and 1667, and fuller than the Books of Survey and Distribution. It contains a great deal of topographical and descriptive information, as well as details of wills and deeds relating to land title. It has survived for twelve counties only, Cork, Derry, Donegal, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Meath, Tipperary, Tyrone, Waterford and Wexford. All of these have been published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission.
1659 Penders Census
This was compiled by Sir William Petty, also responsible for the Civil Survey, and records the names of persons with title to land (tituladoes), the total numbers of English and Irish living in each townland, and the principal Irish names in each barony. Five counties, Cavan, Galway, Mayo, Tyrone and Wicklow, are not covered. The work was edited by Seamus Pender and published in 1939. (NLI I 6551 Dublin).
1662 Subsidy Rolls
These list the nobility, clergy and laity who paid a grant in aid to the King. They supply name and parish, and, sometimes, amount paid and occupation. They relate principally to counties in Ulster.
1664 Hearth Money Rolls
The Hearth Tax was levied on the basis of the number of hearths in each house; these Rolls list the householders' names, as well as this number. They seem to be quite comprehensive. Details of surviving lists will be found under the relevant counties. For the copies of the Hearth Money Rolls listed in The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland under "T.307", an index is available on the Public Search Room shelves.
Cess Tax Accounts
Cess (from an abbreviation of assessment) was a very elastic term, which could be applied to taxes levied for a variety of reasons. In Ireland it was very often to support a military garrison. The accounts generally consist of lists of householders names, along with amounts due.


Prior to the destruction of the 1851 census, Dr. D.A. Chart of the Public Record Office compiled a comprehensive list of the names and addresses of heads of households for Dublin City. This unique genealogical source has now been edited and converted to database format by Seán Magee making it available to all researchers worldwide. It contains over 60,000 names and addresses (and some occupations) in the City of Dublin. This CD-ROM also contains scanned images of the original 1847 Ordnance Survey Town Plans of Dublin City, courtesy of Dublin Corporation. These 33 maps contain remarkable detail of all the streets and houses within the city at this time, to help users identify specific addresses
Here's the link to the main site that sells it. I think you can also buy it through other places such as (Source of this info was from Glen Lambert)
Update: - Family History Centres have most of these records on microfilm.
Visit your local LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) church were the centres are usually found and check to see what records are available.

The information contained in these pages is provided solely for the purpose of sharing with others researching their ancestors in Ireland.
© 2001 County Carlow Genealogy IGP