Notes and FAQ

Some Notes and FAQ ….

Q: How far back do Catholic Parish records go?

A: all depends on the parish, they all have different starting dates. The average starting date for records in a rural RC parish is about 1830, but records for some parishes in towns and cities may go back further, sometimes to the 1700s. In some areas it took quite a while after the end of the effects of the penal laws for parish administration and structures to be set up. Some of the records for individual parishes may be lost through incorrect storage, accidents such as fires or floods, or through deterioration of the books over time.

Q: Were all the birth, marriage and death records burned in the Four Courts ?

A: No – it’s a common, but untrue misconception that ‘everything’ was burnt in the Public Records Office fire. For one all the civil Birth, Marriage and Death records survived as have many other records. Catholic registers were not held in the Public Records office so these were not lost in this event either. Many Church of Ireland registers had been sent to the PRO and so were lost, but records for other denominations have survived in their respective archives and Churches – e.g. Presbyterian, Quakers etc

Q: Can you use naming patterns in research ?

A : “Naming patterns” are great if you know each and every last child, grandchild, etc. However, there are far too many variables to ever make it a certainty in most cases.
1) Not all families followed any pattern and of those that did not all branches followed it.
Assuming it was used-
2) There might be children who died young – not knowing their names and order of birth could throw off any assumptions
3) If both grandfathers have the same name then first child named for grandfathers and 2nd for father
4) If father and both grandfathers have same first name name of 2nd child will be taken from elsewhere
5) If a close relative or friend dies/is ill around the time of a child’s birth child could be named for that person rather than sticking to pattern etc

Land Measurement

Land was measured in terms of acres (A), roods (R) and poles / perches (P).
The acre was divided into four roods,  which were, in turn, each sub-divided into forty poles.

1 acre (A) = 4840 square yards or 4047 square metres
1 rood (R) = 1210 square yards or 1012 square metres
1 pole (P) = 30.25 square yards or 25.29 square metres

e.g. 3 roods of land = 3 quarters of an acre

Interchangeable names :
Johanna(h), Hannah, Nora, Hannorah, etc. are often used interchangeably in Ireland.

Requesting copies of RIC Records

Which census returns survive, and what happened to the others ?

The Census returns for 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851 were almost entirely lost in 1922 in the destruction of the Public Record Office in Dublin.
The 1861 & 1871 records were officially destroyed once the required statistics had been processed from these.
The 1881 and 1891 records were ‘pulped’, apparently as a result of a paper shortage during World War 1..

The next census for the Republic of Ireland took place in 1926 and this is currently closed  for access under a 100 year restriction.

What dates are the historic OSI maps online ?

6 inch mapping series (1:10,560) colour 1837-1842
6 inch mapping series (1:10,560) greyscale 1837-1842
25 inch mapping series (1:2,500) greyscale 1888-1913

How do I type Fractions or Fada’s ?

Press and hold the Alt key and type 171  on the numeric keypad  = ½  (or copy this one)
172 = ¼ , 243 = ¾

For a Fada – hold down the ALT-Gr key, and at the same time type the required letter – e.g. á é í ó ú , also works or for capital letters Á Í Ó

(this applies to Windows Operating Systems)

Status of Ireland

1172-1541    Lordship
1541-1800     kingdom subordinated to the English (later British) Crown
1801     merged with Great Britain to form the United Kingdom
1922     Secession of twenty-six counties as the Irish Free State
1937     Irish Free State breaks most remaining constitutional links with the
British Crown and is renamed Ireland (or Éire)
1949     Ireland becomes a republic and leaves the Commonwealth

Import Note on Surnames
The general principle is that orthographically and/or semantically identical surnames can
arise independently of one another – which is true across all cultures that have family