Irish Guide: Censuses
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Actual Censuses

Government censuses were taken in 1821, 1831, 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871,
and then in 1901 and 1911.
Due to the fact that all but the 1901 and 1911 censuses have been lost or destroyed, the normal 100 year rule for searching census has been relaxed, and the 1901 and 1911 can be examined at the National Archives (for Republic) or at PRONI (for NI).

In order to find census material at the LDS FHC's,
e.g. in Co Waterford: go to the CD catalog at your FHC and go to search by film/fiche #, put in 0856157 (that is the first film for Waterford 1901) and it will bring up the entire Ireland 1901 census listings by county but WITHOUT descriptions - or if you know the location within the county, enter that and you will get a list of things available for that location, including the censuses.

1911 Census

1911 Census of Ireland, is located at the PRO (Public Records Office) in Dublin.
INDEX only, filmed in 1971, it is the "supplement to the general topographical index of Ireland, containing all the territorial divisions in which alteration has been made between 31 March 1901 and 2 April 1911.
      Film 0865092
The census itself is available at the Public Records Office, but not yet out on film. It includes everything listed in the 1901 census (see below), and also the number of years married, and number of children born to the family, as well as the number of children living. Interestingly, the names of policemen and the names of the hospitalized insane were replaced with initials only. Indexes for various counties are now being produced., and there is a page available on this site for each county that currently has FHLC film numbers:

Antrim *
Armagh *
Carlow *
Cavan *
Clare *
Cork *

* complete listing. All others give the film number(s) for obtaining enumeration district.

1901 Census

Ireland Census: 1901 Inventories, Registries and Catalogs, microfilm # 0990232.
This lists all the parishes and the # of film that the census will be on.

An index was made for the cities of Belfast; Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Londonderry, Waterford, arranged alphabetically by street name. They are available on microfiche and film:

0994078 item2.............vol 2..Dublin
440978 item9..............vol.3..Cork, Limerick, Londonderry, Waterford

6035493 thru 6035495.............vol. 1 - 3 (three fiche) Belfast (Co. Antrim portion, Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Londonderry, Waterford
60366............................vol. 1A.. (one fiche)...Belfast (Co. Down portion)

1901 Census of Ireland, located in the British Film Area of the Family History Center.
Films 0851582 through 0851605

Arranged by county, parliamentary division, poor law union, electoral district, and townland, it provides the names, ages, relationship to head of household, occupation, religion, ability to read and write English and/or Irish, number of rooms in dwelling, type of roof, and number of windows.

If you know which townland (the city index for the major cities also contains all the townlands) your relatives lived in, then you can look at FHLC # 990232 titled:

Ireland Census, 1901 Inventories, Registries and Catalogs.

Skip the beginning of the roll of film, it has some other records, then you come upon the "Ireland Census Report - 1901".

It lists the counties in alphabetical order. Listed under each county are various parish names and a series of numbers. The name of the county appears several times with various parishes, some parishes appear on several different microfilms, When you have the townland name, you can then find a parcel #. This parcel number appears after the county name. The following is the way the information is on the page:

Microfilm #
Item #

County Name
Parish Name........parcel# of townland/district #

The number that appears to the left of the slash mark is the parcel #. It is the parcel# that is important, so you know which roll of film to order. To find out the parcel # for your townland, go to the Family History Center computer, go into Ireland, then Census, then 1901. There is a listing of the townlands and it gives the parcel # of the townlands.

A Recap:
STEP ONE: if you know the townland, order FHLC film no. 865092. This lists all of the townlands and their corresponding county, barony, civil parish, county district and electoral division. At the end of the listing for each townland is an entry "Number in Table VII of Census County Book, 1901". This number will be very useful, as it is the specific district number in the census where your townland will be found.

STEP TWO: order FHLC film 990232. (You can do this at the same time as you order the film above, as these are quick lookups. You also can do this second film if you know only the civil parish, but not the townland, but your search will be much more laborious, especially if it's a large parish.) This film is the Index to the 1901 Ireland Census Districts. It is divided by country, then by civil parish, and gives specific FHLC film numbers. Each parish is further divided into a number of districts (the number you got in step one above). Find the right district and you have the FHLC film number to request.

STEP THREE: order the corresponding FHLC film(s).

"Lost Censuses"

The fire at Four Courts in 1922 destroyed most of the returns for 1821, 1831, 1841, and 1851, which were stored in the attached PRO. The returns for 1861 and 1871 were destroyed earlier, during WWI, by government order. There is debate about the reason, confidentiality? to obtain wood pulp during the war? or other?

There are a number of transcripts of the original returns for 1841 & 1851 because they were used in the twentieth century as proof of age when the Old Age Pension was introduced. The forms detailing the results of searches in some of the original returns to establish age have survived and are found in The National Archives (for Republic) and PRONI for NI. County by county indexes to the areas covered, giving the names of the individuals concerned, are found on open shelves in the Reading Room.

There are also a number of researchers' transcripts and abstracts compiled from the original returns before their destruction, and donated to public institutions after 1922 in an attempt to replace some of the lost records. Since the researchers were usually interested in particular families, rather than whole areas, these are generally of limited value. The most significant collections are the Walsh-Kelly notebooks, which also abstract parts of the 1821, 1831 and 1851 returns and relate particularly to south Kilkenny, and the Thrift Abstracts in the National Archives.

1861 & 1871 Census Fragments.

Grenham says, "The official destruction of the returns for these two years was commendably thorough." [p.21] Virtually nothing survives. The only transcripts are contained in the Catholic registers of Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, (1861), and Drumcondra and Loughbraclen, Co. Meath (1871).

1851 Census Fragments

This recorded the following:
Most of the surviving returns relate to parishes in Co. Antrim.

1841 Census Fragments

Unlike the two earlier censuses, the returns in 1841 were filled out by the householders themselves, rather than government enumerators.The information supplied was:
Only one set of original returns survived 1922, that for the parish of Killeshandara in Co. Cavan except townlands of Corranea. Glebe and Drumberry, is available as 1841 Irish Census Remnants FHLC#0100831 thru 0100838.

1831 Census Fragments

Organized by townland, civil parish, barony and county, this census recorded the following:
Very little of this survives, with most of the remaining fragments relating to Derry.

1821 Census Fragments

This census, organized by townland, civilparish, barony and county, took place on May 28th 1821, and aimed to cover the entire population. It recorded the following information:

Almost all of the original returns were destroyed in 1922, with only a few volumes surviving for parts of Counties These are now in the National Archives. .

Thrift Abstracts

The following information can be obtained through LDS:
film # 6035573 Thrift, Gertrude, INDEX TO CENSUS ABSTRACTS FOR 1821, 1841, 1851.

From ffalley's Irish and Scotch Irish Ancestral Research p. 170 "The very large collection donated by Miss Gertrude Thrift consists of pedigree charts, abstracts of Chancery, Equity and Revenue Exchequer documents, Wills (Prerogative and Diocesan), Grants of Administration, Marriage License Bonds and Grants. The items number almost 4,000. Due to their importance, the items are presented in indexes in the 55th Report (of the Deputy Keeper, p. 69-90) and in the 57th Report, p. 325-420. Names of the principals are listed; nature and year of the document; Prerogative, Diocesan or Probate Registry named and number of the abstract. Her collection of Ecclesiastical records is indexed in the 55th Report, p. 91-96."

So, if they're indexed in the Deputy Keeper reports, the records are housed at the PRO/Nat'l Archives or PRONI. Check the Locality Catalogue (fiche version - it'll make a difference) under Archives & Libraries.

1659 Pender Census.

This "census" was conducted by Sir William Petty, and edited by Seamus Pender in 1939. It lists the names of the tituladoes (those with a title to the land) and the total number of persons (English and Irish) resident on each townland. NOT INCLUDED: Co. Cavan, Galway, Mayo, Tyrone and Wicklow. Also, only three baronies are given from Co. Meath. It also lists the Principal Irish names and their Number in each barony. (description provided in "Irish Genealogy, A Record Finder, page 52)
Film 924648

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