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Source Information

Ancestry.com. Ireland: 1841/1851 Census Abstracts (Republic of Ireland) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Masterson, Josephine. Ireland: 1841/1851 Census Abstracts (Republic of Ireland). Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1999.

About Ireland: 1841/1851 Census Abstracts (Republic of Ireland)

This database contains names, extracted from various records, that appeared in the 1841 and/or 1851 Irish census in the Republic of Ireland.

Historical Background

Most Irish national census records prior to 1901 were destroyed in the 1922 fire at the Public Records Office in Dublin. Knowing this, genealogist Josephine Masterson turned to other sources to re-create these abstracts of information that appeared on the 1841 and 1851 Irish censuses.

Masterson’s largest source for the abstracts contained in this database were old age pension records. Old age pensions for those age 70 and above began in 1908. However, civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths in Ireland did not begin until 1864. To prove their eligibility, applicants submitted facts that were checked against entries in 1841 and 1851 census records. These findings were recorded in summary books before the census was destroyed in the 1922 fire. Masterson also makes use of available census fragments, certified copies of portions of some returns, and family transcriptions. For more details on what and how records were used, you can refer to the introductions in Masterson’s Ireland: 1841/1851 Census Abstracts (Republic of Ireland), which you can access via the browse.

What You Can Find in the Records

Of course, applicants for old age pensions represent only a portion of society, and this database is not a complete reconstruction of either the 1841 or 1851 census. Details provided in the abstracts will vary widely depending on the source, but they may include the following:

  • name of head of family
  • relationship to head of household
  • age
  • wife’s name and age
  • marriage year
  • maiden name
  • children’s names and ages
  • remarks
  • residence

Occasionally entries may include other members of family living in the household, servants, lodgers, visitors, and people who died in the 10 years prior to census.

Surnames Only

This database also contains two lists of surnames that appeared in census records for the following years and locales:

1841: Killeshandra Parish, County Cavan

1851: Union of Kilworth, County Cork, parishes of Kilcrumper and Kilworth and portions of Leitrim and Macroney

Masterson notes that these abstracts are transcriptions made from a secondary source, and while close attention has been given to detail, inaccuracies may still occur.

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