Society Adds 13,300 New Records to its Early Irish BMD Indexes

The Society has added a further tranche of records to its Early Irish Birth, Marriage & Death Indexes. This update adds a further 8,325 births and 5,000 marriages, all drawn from lessor known or underused sources. The total number of names noted among the births is now 70,000 and for marriages 213,000. Overall, between the three databases, there is now a total of 320,000 names.

Depiction of a bride and groom from the Regency period of the early years of the nineteenth century.

Included among the newly added marriages are 1,000 events drawn from the Registry of Deeds, which brings the total number of marriages in the index drawn from there to 10,000. While lots of these are formal pre-marriage settlements for wealthy people, there are examples of others for quite ordinary folk, including one dowry amounting to as little as £30. This was for the union of Thomas Shee, a farmer, and his bride Ellis Lanigan, a farmer’s daughter. Both bride and groom were from Co Kilkenny and they married in 1772.

Other additions to the marriages are 4,000 references drawn from the Killaloe Marriage Licence Index. The index, which covers licences issued during the years 1719-1845, is all that survives. Originally, it was the finding aid to the more detailed marriage licence bonds, but these were destroyed in the Public Record Office fire in 1922.  The diocese of Killaloe comprises approximately 85 Church of Ireland parishes from across the counties of Clare, Galway, Laois (Queens), Limerick, , Offaly (Kings), and Tipperary. Given that the penal laws placed heavy strictures upon the Catholic population, it’s worth remembering that a proportion of the marriages were actually those contracted between Catholics, but who were protecting their interests by being married according to the rites of the Church of Ireland, the established, Protestant state church.

The 8,325 births newly added to the database are all drawn from the Carrick-on-Suir Census of 1799. Carrick is a town and parish which straddles the boundary between counties of Tipperary and Waterford. Although references to births are easy to extrapolate from the Carrick census, this is not the case for marriages because while addresses and ages are given clearly, family relationships are not spelled. Given this, marriages have not been extracted.

However, that said there are indications within the records.  Take, for instance, the Crowley family living in River Lane West: John (aged 35), Margaret (aged 38) and their three children, Catherine, Jillen and Bridget.  Living with them are a widow and a single woman, both described as relations: Jillen Driscoll (aged 62), and Catherine Driscoll (aged 40).  It is reasonable to suppose, subject to verification, that Mrs Margaret Crowley, aged 38, was a daughter of Jillen Driscoll, and that Catherine Driscoll was her sister.  Also, this would indicate that John Crowley married Miss Margaret Driscoll sometime before 1790, prior to the birth of their eldest child noted in the census, being Catherine, aged 9.

You can search the databases here:

Marriage Index      – Free to all

Birth Index              – Name search only for non-members

Death Index              Name search only for non-members

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