Thursday 17 March 2011

For St Patrick's Day - some little-known Irish sources

Quay Street, Galway
A lot of Irish sources are being flagged up today, Paddy's Day. There is the promise of a new site to come soon, and additions and updates to records on existing sites. and that's not counting all the events and special offers. I was at the Society of Genealogists last Saturday running a workshop on Tracing your Irish Ancestors in The National Archives - in England which seemed to go very well. This a particular hobby-horse of mine, because for much of its history Ireland has been part of the United Kingdom, or at least subject to the British Crown. So a lot of records about Ireland and the Irish are held in The National Archives of the UK. I have hawked this around as a talk in Ireland, England, and the USA (Boston - where else?) and written about it in Irish Roots magazine. My deathless prose on the subject will appear in another publication later this year, and a version of my talk was podcast in 2007, although this is now a little out of date, since more records have been put online since then. You can't say I'm not trying to get the point across!

So as my contribution to St Patrick's Day, here is a source that many people won't have thought of looking at for their Irish ancestors, but which includes some indexed, digitized records, and it's FREE. It's not a genealogical site as such, which is why you could easily miss it. It's called Moving Here and is about the immigrant experience in England of four separate groups, Irish, Jewish, Caribbean and South Asian. The Irish sections in Migration histories and Tracing your roots are particularly useful; the site hasn't been actively maintained for a while, so some of the web links are out of date, but the background information is wonderful.

The fund provided loans at interest to the industrious poor, who had to provide some form of security for the loan. Records of the local associations that administered the loans survive for counties Cork, Clare, Galway, Limerick, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo and Tipperary. In addition to the notes of security (signed by the debtor and two guarantors), there are loan ledgers, repayment books and defaulters books. They show place of abode and occupation, and sometimes include details of the death or emigration of debtors. The documents that you can search on Moving Here are the returns to the Clerk of the Peace for the counties of Cork, Galway, Limerick, Mayo, Roscommon and Tipperary.

Select 'Yes - search for a person's name', limit your search to 'Documents', choose 'Irish community' from the drop-down menu and away you go. And may the luck of the Irish go with you!

T 91/187c

You might find something like this example, from the townland of Cloonkehanne, Co Mayo, dated 8 June 1852, which shows that Pat Barnicle and Thomas Boland emigrated 'to America about 4 years since', and that more recently two of their neighbours, Michael Rowley and Luke Monaghan, had gone to England.



  1. Thanks for this! I hadn't seen this resource before and got some hits, so will have to spend some time there.

  2. Thanks Audrey, I haven't looked at that resource before either, and will have a look now.

  3. Thanks, Audrey! You've given me a LOT to click through and I love it!!!