The National Archives of Ireland have added what they call “census fragments and substitutes”-these cover the Irish censuses pre 1901. Censuses were taken in Ireland every 10 years starting in 1821. Not all of the pre-1901 censuses survived, therefore, the “bits and pieces” comment. The first census was tried in 1813—it didn’t work “well” as the enumeration was left to Grand Juries of the several counties. The second enumeration was taken in 1831 but did not start at the same time throughout the counties. In 1841 was first time that the Ordnance Survey maps were available, and a regularly organized police force from which a corps of Enumerators could be selected. The census of 1851 added more information. For the history of these early censuses go to: http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/help/pre1901.html . As written in an article by the Irish Times, a number of the early censuses were destroyed: during the first World War, the Registrar-General ordered the 1881 and 1891 returns to be pulped and the 1861 and 1871 returns had already been destroyed. In June 1922, when the Irish Civil War began, the Public Record Office was destroyed including the four earliest censuses, was obliterated without trace. What survived were “bits and pieces” that happened to be in use in the reading room or out for conservation To read the Irish Times article go to: http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/irish-roots-1.1774013
The 1901 and 1911 censuses are fully searchable and free access. The censuses fragments mentioned above are also free access. To search all the censuses go to: http://www.genealogy.nationalarchives.ie/
Thank you to both Genealogy In Time Magazine that alerted that the “census fragments would be posted this week and to Dick Eastman of the Eastman Online Genealogy Newsletter that the census fragments had been posted and for referring us to the Irish Times article.
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee