Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Who's Your Father?

Or more accurately, who's your grandfather? That's the question that can now be answered thanks to the release of the Census of Ireland 1911 data online by the National Archives of Ireland based in Dublin.

The information is particularly interesting because it was the last census conducted in a united Ireland pre-partition - united, that is, under the Crown in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. To that end, it will sit well beside the previously blogged Ulster Covenant archive service hosted by the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland.

The other night we had a quick look for some ancestors, and I was able to find my granda Moles of Tullylish, who was a bonny baby of one year old when the 1911 census was recorded. I've also found my great-grandfather McMurray of the townland of Islandderry, who with his brothers was the source of the several McMurray families in Dromore today. Other branches of the family have been harder to find due to common surnames around the Dromore area and not enough information known or remembered about grandparents and great-grandparents. But we'll keep digging, and hopefully find a full set of great-grandparents to further the incomplete family trees we know of.

The thing about family trees and genealogical research is that you sometimes encounter surprises, or worse, things you didn't want to find out. One surprise for us was that mum's family was registered as Church of Ireland back then, whereas by the time mum was born they were members of the Presbyterian Church. So whether they just moved, or there was a mistake made in the census forms, I'm not sure.

For the natives out there, were you able to find out anything interesting about your relatives? Any surprises?


  1. Thank you for the link to the Irish Census. I have been able to see records for my father's family from Co Cavan and also my Mum's family from North Belfast!!
    An interesting, exciting and moving experience.
    Really enjoy your blog and reading your sermons

  2. Thanks for the comment, Anon! Glad to be of some help. The records are certainly exciting and can be moving. I consulted with my gran and have found another set of great-grandparents tonight.

    As she said, it's amazing to see the handwriting of the generations past, and scary to see just what you can find out on the computer! Similarly, will our own great-grandchildren be poring over the census forms we fill in when another hundred years or so have passed?