The latest update of 11,000 additional entries to the Society’s Early Irish Birth, Death & Marriage Indexes includes some 7,500 death entries from newspapers published between 1740 & 1810. The combined number of names now found in the three databases is 278,334.
The data is drawn from a wide number of Irish newspapers, but particularly from Walkers Hibernian & Gentleman’s Magazine, Pue’s Occurrences, the Leinster Journal, Faulkner’s Dublin Journal and the Hibernian Chronicle. Despite the too often generally held view that early newspapers do not note details about “ordinary” people, this update proves to the contrary. It is full of references to such people as farmers, publicans, innkeepers, butchers, bakers, printers, brewers, apothecaries, tailors, seed merchants, drapers, painters, grocers, sailmakers, clerks, confectioners, cutlers, saddlers, haberdashers and tallow chandlers, to name but a few. And all are from places right across the island of Ireland.
For instance, in Faulkner’s Dublin Journal in November 1761 we learn that Mrs Esther Hodgson died, from George’s Quay in Dublin and she was the wife of a measurer. In the same newspaper in March 1764 the death of Mrs Lysaght is reported. The notice goes on to record that she was the widow of Charles Lysaght, of Craigmore, Co. Clare and her maiden surname was Hogan. In Pue’s Occurrences in March 1756 the demise of Mrs Hutchinson is noted. She was from Fleet Street, Dublin, and was reportedly aged 110 years!
One particularly tragic entry from Walker’s in September 1807 relates the sad tale of the drowning of an English couple in Dublin. The news item reads: “Mr and Mrs Greaves, the unfortunate couple whose bodies were found drowned in the dock near Ringsend-bridge, on Friday morning, were natives of England; they had been brought to Ireland by Messrs. Lindsay, of Parliament-street, and by them employed in making artificial flowers, which they had brought to great perfection and elegance….they had been in Dublin, and were returning to their lodgings at Irishtown, but in the extreme darkness of the night they missed their way and fell into the water, where they were found next morning locked in each other’s arms; they were persons of great worthiness and industry.”
For genealogists, the importance of these news reports is that they are very likely the only record now existing of each person’s death. Civil registration of deaths only began in Ireland in 1864 and before then the majority of parishes maintained no form of death or burial register. The
Roz McCutcheon, the project leader, and her dedicated team of indexers intend to add much more such data drawn from Irish newspapers over the coming months and years. As usual, she and her team should be thanked for their work.
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Birth Index – Name search only for non-members
Death Index – Name search only for non-members
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