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5

DOCUMENTARY SOURCES FOR LOCAL HISTORY (PART 2)

The aim of this unit is firstly, to enable you to conduct independent research using many of the most important sources for studying local communities in the nineteenth century which are held in local and national repositories and secondly, to develop your critical analysis skills when using primary source material By the end of this unit you should be able to: . Identify and locate many of the major nineteenth-century sources for local history. Critically and exhaustively analyse these sources. Develop your ability to approach the available sources and historical research in an imaginative, alternative manner. Identify possibilities for establishing links between the content of contemporary sources in order to present a single, coherent historical narrative of a local community. Conduct independent research in various repositories and becoming versatile in the use of finding-aids and different cataloguing systems.

AIM

OBJECTIVES

. .

Relevant works have been listed throughout the unit, each relating to the specific category of sources under review and these should be consulted in the event of your choosing to pursue research based upon a particular set of source material. In this unit we will be discussing a number of the nineteenthcentury sources which are most widely-used by local historians. We will begin by discussing census material. Next we will concentrate on newspapers, directories, topographical dictionaries and gazettes, statistical surveys, and travellers accounts. This is followed by a case study, focusing on sources for studying the impact of the Famine on a local community. The unit concludes with a survey of parliamentary papers. As we discovered in Unit 4, increased bureaucracy saw an explosion in the creation of records by the state. In 1922 however another explosin, this time - the Four Courts - Dublin - the location of the Public Records Office, saw the loss of vast amounts of material. Unfortunately are of the most important sources that was last was the manuscript returns of the early census. However the printed census reports are available and can be a very fruitful source for the local historian.
Unit 5: Documentary Sources for Local History (Part 2)

REQUIRED READING

INTRODUCTION

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Census Records are among the most important sources for local and family history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. During the eighteenth century many estimates of population were conducted, some with parliamentary sanction, for example the Religious Census of 1766 (see section on Church of Ireland records in Unit 4). See Grenham (1992) chapter 12 for a countyby-county listing of sources, including references to such early census material. An excellent introduction to Irish censuses and the uses that local historians may make of the printed reports is Margaret Crawford, Counting the People (Dublin, 2003). For the purposes of clarity of treatment, we will firstly discuss official census records and thereafter we will turn our attention to unofficial censuses conducted independent of parliamentary involvement. The earliest official census was that conducted in 1813-15. However, that census was never completed and consequently it was neither printed nor presented to parliament. Only a handful of fragments from this census have survived. All surviving county and barony data was published by William Shaw Mason, the census commissioner for the 1813 census in William Shaw Mason, a statistical account on parochial survey of Ireland (3 vols, Dublin, 1814-9), (ii, pp xxii - xlvii. In addition parish data from this census is often available in the individual parish descriptions in these three volumes. Readings regarding 1813-15 Census: . Royle, S.A. (1978) Irish Manuscript census records: a neglected source of information, Irish Geography, xi, pp 11025. Froggat, Peter (1965) The census in Ireland of 1813-15, Irish Historical Studies, xiv, no. 55, pp 227-35.

CENSUS RECORDS: NINETEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURIES

For every administrative unit in Ireland, data relating to the total population, the number of males and females and a whole spectrum of information concerning the social and demographic profile of those areas has been recorded from 1821 down to the present. Full government census were taken for the whole of Ireland in 1821, 1831, 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1901 and 1911. We will therefore discuss each of these in turn. This census enumeration which commenced on 28 May 1821 was better organised and more comprehensive than that of 1813-15. It was organised by townland, civil parish, barony and county. The census was conducted by enumerators who went from house to house in his area questioning the inhabitants and taking down the answers - notebooks. The households themselves did not fall in their data until the 1841 census. Information was collected on individuals, that is, their names, ages, occupations, relationship to the head of household, acreage of landholding and the number of storeys in the house. Some useful details regarding education are recorded in the column headed Observations in the manuscript version. [See Document 5.1 for a synopsis of the information included.]

1821 CENSUS

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History 6

Consultation Virtually all of the original returns were destroyed in 1922. However, a few volumes of transcripts survive for parts of Counties Cavan, Fermanagh, Galway, Meath and Offaly (Kings County). These may be consulted in the National Archives. Details of parishes for which records survive (including individual call numbers for files) are provided in the county-bycounty source lists in Grenham (1992) chapter 12. You should, however, ensure that you know the name of (1) the townland, (2) the civil parish, (3) the barony and (4) the county which you are studying before consulting census material or indeed any nineteenth-century records since as you will have already noticed, these are recurring units in the organisation of records. Assessment The reliability of the population data gathered by these enumerators has been questioned recently. According to Michael Drake (1994) census authorities did not have a great deal of faith in the enumerators. However, in the case of those few returns which survive, their genealogical value is beyond question, the reported ages being the only element requiring a high degree of scepticism. In addition, if you are lucky enough to have a complete collection of returns for the 1821 Census you are in the unique position of being able to conduct a study of your community, assessing its membership in terms of age, gender ratio, occupational status as well as the size of farms, state of houses, schools in the area in the pre-Famine era. This census data can be readily combined with Royal Dublin Society Statistical Surveys, Masons Parochial Survey, commercial directories, Church of Ireland and Catholic Church records, Tithe Applotment Books, estate records, travellers accounts, Lewiss Topographical Dictionary, parliamentary papers and a whole host of other sources, both official and personal, in an attempt to recreate an image of what life was like for a community in a small locality in the early nineteenth century. This census was also organised by townland, civil parish, barony and county and it recorded data concerning individuals which is similar to that recorded in the 1821 census. As with the 1821 census the household were visited by a enumerator who asked the householder the relevant questions and wrote down the answered in his notebooks. Unlike the 1821 census, which recorded the names of all people living in a house, the 1831 census only recorded the name of the householder and the number of other residents in the house. Very few fragments of this census survive and those which do relate mainly to County Derry (see Grenham (1992) chapter 12 for details). Those records are available for consultation in PRONI (Derry), National Library (Dublin), Kildare (National Archives) and Kilkenny (Genealogical Office). This census failed to live up to the standard set by that of 1821 for a number of reasons. Firstly, the 1831 enumerators are said to have over-enumerated since they thought that their payment would be proportionate to the numbers returned although Joe Lee has argued that this payment schedule was not particular to the 1831 census. Secondly, many were constrained by the language barrier in Gaelic speaking areas. Thirdly, poor road conditions and the isolation and inaccessibility of many districts discouraged enumerators from

1831

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visiting every household in their area and consequently their returns were distorted. In spite of its many serious flaws, this census may still prove useful to the local historian if subjected to critical evaluation, particularly in the case of those areas which were generally Irish speaking and very accessible. Comparison of the 1831 returns with population figures given in the Tithe Applotment Books, commercial directories and Lewiss Topographical Dictionary should provide us with some indication of the approximate size of a localitys population, though none of these sources can be regarded as reliable in their own right with respect to population figures. Note that this census did not inquire into the religion of the people as is often incorrectly written. The census was, however, used by the commissioners of public instruction - 1834 to determine the religious make-up of the country in 1831. They achieved this by sending the 1831 returns back to the enumerators (or alternatives) for them to enter - the returns the religious professions of all those enumerated by them. See Malcom Macont, 'The religious inquiry - the Irish census of 1861' in Irish Historical Studies is, xxi (1977-8), pp 168-187. Most historians regard the 1841 census as the most reliable of all those taken in the first half of the nineteenth century. There are a number of reasons for this marked improvement. Firstly, the 1841 census enumerators were members of the police force. Secondly, the returns were filled out by the householders themselves instead of government officials. Thirdly, by the early 1840s, the first edition of the six-inch-to-one-mile Ordnance Survey map had been completed for the whole of Ireland except for Counties Cork, Kerry and Limerick. The same territorial units were used and information recorded included every individuals name, age, occupation, relationship to the head of household, date of marriage, literacy, absent family members and family members deceased since 1831. Enumerators also collected information regarding the quality of housing, agriculture data (the area of the county planted, the ratio between arable and non-arable land, farm produce and livestock, and statistics on emigration and education. Consultation The only original 1841 returns which have survived are those for the parish of Killeshandra in County Cavan. However, a number of transcripts of the originals have survived. Copies of family entries from 1841-1861 censuses were made as proof of age for claimants of the Old Age Pension from 1908 onwards. For many, these census returns were the only source of proof of eligibility for the pension since registration of births did not begin until 1864 and consequently birth certificates were not available. Applicants wishing to obtain proof of age sent a statement of their personal details to the PRO in Dublin (now the National Archives) where a search was carried out on their behalf. Census search forms called green forms were then completed by PRO staff. Those forms were kept by local agencies of the Customs and Excise department and returned to the PRO in 1928, and were thus spared the fate of the census returns in 1922. Those relating to Northern Ireland were sent to PRONI. There is a green form index for each county in the Reading Room of the National Archives. Each index is arranged by (1)
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1841

barony (2) civil parish and (3) townland. When the name of a townland is listed in this index, the name of each individual resident on whose behalf a green form was completed is recorded. This is a very straightforward procedure. This census used the same territorial units and gathered data on the same topics as previous censuses but a new category was added. This required the individual to specify his or her religion. Most of the surviving material relates to parishes in County Antrim. Grenham (1992), chapter 12 provides references to surviving returns in his county-by-county listing of available source material. The above comments on transcripts and abstracts of the 1841 census also apply in the case of the 1851 census. These census returns were officially (and thoroughly) destroyed: virtually none have survived. The only available transcripts are those found in the Catholic registers for Enniscorthy (1861) and Drumcondra and Loughbraclen in County Meath (1871). Details regarding their locations are supplied in Grenham (1992) chapter 12. The 1861 census was the first census to record the religion of inhabitants. These are the only surviving comprehensive returns for the whole country. The most widely used forms are the Form A, Form B.1, Form B.2, Form E and Form N and so will examine each of these in turn. Form A The household schedules for both censuses have been preserved either as loose forms or in bound volumes. These are similar to the forms which most of us fill out in the present censuses. These Form As record each individuals name, relationship to the head of household, religion, literacy, occupation, age, martial status, county of birth, ability to speak English or Irish. The same criteria applied in the case of the 1911 census except that women were required to state the number of years they had been married, the number of children born alive and the number still living. No address is supplied for a household, though this can be ascertained by consulting the Forms B (see below). By studying a Form A for one household, we can glean a great deal of information about relations within that house.

1851

1861-1871

1901 & 1911 CENSUS RETURNS

SAQ 1
Study Form A: Census of Ireland, 1911 [Document 5.2]. What can you deduce regarding the composition of the household? (Note especially places of origin and religion.) In this case we can use the Form A to gain an insight into the domestic life of the Big House in Ireland in the early twentieth century. The examination of the number of servants, their background, religious denomination, their standard of literacy, their marital status and age in a number of households in your chosen locality can prove a fascinating study. Comparing the domestic staff in a household in 1901 and again in 1911 can prove very instructive, often indicating a decline in their numbers and this can be gauged in tandem with the study of the familys fortunes. Even for poorer household with no domestic staff, you can provide a fascinating freeze-frame picture of a small
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village or street as it was in 1901 or 1911 by using the census material. The Form A is of particular value to the family historian since it provides at least approximate ages from which likely dates of birth can be calculated as well as providing an indication of the year in which a marriage took place. Form B.1: House and building return If you examine the top right-hand corner of the Form A you will notice No. on Form B. 2. This refers to another set of census forms, the Form B.1 and Form B.2. Each house recorded in the Form A is assigned a number (in this case, Bartons house is listed as no.2) and we use that number when consulting the Form B.1 and Form B.2 to identify the buildings attached to a specific house. Form B.1 [Document 5.3] specifies whether a house or building is already built or under construction. It classifies the house or building as a private dwelling, a public building (school and so on). It records the number of out-offices and farm-steadings as recorded on a second form B (Form B.2) and it states whether the house is inhabited. Specific details regarding the structural features off inhabited houses are recorded including the following: . . . . walls (mud or wood) roof (tiles, thatch, wood, etc.) rooms (ranked 1 to 6) windows in front of house

Tots of figures for each of these four aspects of the house are then recorded in a column and on the basis of these figures, the house is classified as a first, second, third or fourth class house, with first class being the best. The number of distinct families in each house is recorded as is the name of the head(s) of the family/families residing in the house. Data is also recorded with respect to the total number of rooms occupied by the family/families, the total number of persons in each family and the name of the leaseholder is noted. Form B.2 Return of out-offices and farm-steadings If you examine Form B.2 [Document 5.4], you will see in the first column headed Number on Form B.1 of house or Building to which out-offices, &c. belong a list of numbers, all of which correspond to an individual house number in the Form A. This form is generally filled by farmers. It records details of the number of out-offices and farm-steadings and specifies the types of building, ranging from a stable to a laundry. The total number of out-offices and farm-steadings attached to a given house is also recorded. Form E. Return of paupers in workhouses This form provides similar details to those recorded in the standard Form A and thus provide a fascinating profile of paupers in workhouses in the early twentieth century. The names have been deliberately omitted [Document 5.5]. Form N. Enumerators abstract for a townland or street This form provides collated numerical data concerning dwelling houses, the number of families, the ratio of males to females and the number of members of various churches as well as a list of the names of the heads of households [Document 5.6].

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History 6

By choosing a well-defined, small geographical area for study and by confining your time scale to the year 1901 or 1901-1911, you can present a very detailed reconstruction of what life was like for residents in a small village, a street or an isolated rural community. By combining all of this data drawn from all of the census forms, you can paint miniatures of each household as well as describing the local schools, church, hall, courthouse, barracks and so on. You can choose to study a particular family, describing in detail the composition of their household, commenting on the state of their house and farm, providing details regarding servants if applicable and then broadening out your focus to describe the community in which they lived. By introducing material from a local newspaper and a commercial directory you can gain a greater sense of what was happening in this small community at the turn of the century or in 1911. While virtually all of the census returns for the nineteenth century have been destroyed, we are fortunate in having the published reports based on these original returns and on the censuses for the twentieth century. The reports for the period 1841 to 1911 are particularly useful since they record detailed numerical data on a townland basis for all of Irelands 66,700 townlands. This information includes statistics relating to the area of the townland (acreage), its population (ratio of males: females), housing, education, its number of sick, disabled and paupers, it agriculture, religious denominations, occupation, vessels and mariners, age profiles of inhabitants, the age profiles of towns, birth places of its inhabitants and so on [see Document 5.7 for example]. Summary tables are also published along with a commentary on each topic. Although we do not have a list of the names of the members of a community, these reports provide extremely valuable information regarding that communitys socio-economic conditions. It is also possible to trace the changes in a townlands population, gender and occupational profile, the decline of the Irish language and so on by comparing statistics contained in the reports over a period such as 1841-1901. On a purely practical level, they also serve as a useful source of readily available context material for your study of a specific community in Ireland since they contain tables with aggregate figures of population, agricultural production and these can be used as a yardstick against which to measure and compare the statistics for your chosen townland [Document 5.8].

CENSUS REPORTS

Reports The census reports are available for consultation in the British Parliamentary papers (see Unit 5) collection in the National Library and in university libraries. Census reports are variously cited in library catalogues under headings such as Great Britain; Censuses, Great Britain: Parliamentary Papers, British Parliamentary Papers, Registrar General or OPCS. Northern Ireland censuses after 1921 may be entered as Northern Ireland Registrar General and the Republic of Ireland censuses under Eire: Department of Industry and commerce (1926 and 1936) and Eire: Central Statistical Office (censuses of 1946 and later).

CONSULTATION

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Returns The returns for 1901 and 1911 are be held in one of the following three locations: . County Library Most county libraries have microfilm copies of the census returns (Form A only) for 1901 and 1911 for their county. The National Archives The National Archives has a complete collection of original returns (all Forms) for all 32 counties with those for the 1901 census being available in large bound volumes and those for 1911 still remaining in loose form. In both cases, the returns for each townland or street are grouped together and are preceded by an enumerators abstract. PRONI Ironically copies of returns for the six northern counties of Armagh, Antrim, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone) are held in PRONI but are unavailable for consultation by the public.

Information which you need to have to hand prior to pursuing research in census returns and reports As you can see from Document 5.9, all census returns and reports are organised according to townland, civil parish, barony, county, District Electoral Division, county or urban district. See Margaret Crawford, counting the people, pp 34-43 for a discussion on the various administrative units that have been used in the censuses between 1821 and 1911. If you know the area in which you are interested through your familiarity with the locality but you do not know the name of the townland(s), you should firstly consult the Ordinance Survey maps (usually 6-inch map) for your area in the National Library or in your county library if they are available there. You should thus be able to identify the name and the boundaries of the townland(s) in your area of interest. You then need to consult the Index to townlands and towns preferably use the volume for 1851 or 1901. Virtually all county libraries have a copy of one of these volumes at their issue desk. This will supply you with details of administrative divisions as indicated in Document 5.9. Notice that in the final column, each District Electoral Division (DED) is allocated a number (*). (Incidentally, if you wish to find out the name of the Poor Law Union in which your chosen townland is located you will find this listed in the General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns of Ireland (1851 volume)). Having found out the relevant administrative details, you may now proceed to the County Library where your search should be very straightforward given the limited size of the collection or to the National Archives where you will begin consulting the indexes to the census returns for 1901 and 1911. County-by-county volumes are available on the open shelves in the National Archives. These list the District Electoral Divisions in numerical order for 1901 and 1911, giving the name and the number of each townland which they contain (**). To order the returns for your chosen townland, it is necessary to supply the following details on your order docket:

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History 6

. . .

the name of the county the number of the DED in which the townland is located (*) the number of the townland (**)

as given in these finding aid volumes. For the cities of Belfast, Cork, Dublin and Limerick, separate street indices have been compiled and are on the open shelves in the Reading Room of the National Archives. Clearly both census reports and census returns are extremely valuable sources for both the genealogist and the local historian. However, it is important to be alert to a number of pitfalls in our use of census material.

ASSESSMENT

SAQ 2
Can you think of some likely pitfalls in using census material? As is the case with all sources, it is essential that census material be handled in a critical manner and that material gleaned form the reports and returns be cross checked and combined with other sources in order to make your account of a local community balanced, colourful and as accurate as possible. Historians and genealogists have resorted to a range of sources dating from the early seventeenth century as alternative censuses. These alternative sources widely known of which was the hearth tax, religious censuses and estate surveys. The census of Ireland c.1659, which is actually a poll tax survey from 1860, may be particularly useful to local historians if it is correctly interpreted. Grenham provides a list of these sources [Document 5.11]. Bourke, P.M. (1965) The agricultural statistics of the 1841 census of Ireland: a critical view Economic History Review, 2nd series. Collins, Brenda (1993) The analysis of census returns: the 1901 census of Ireland Ulster Local Studies, xv, no. 1, pp 38-46. Collins, Brenda and Pryce, W.T.R. (1993). Census returns in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Audio-cassette 2A in Braham, P. (ed.) Using the past: audio-cassettes on sources and methods for family and community historians Milton Keynes: The Open University. Ffolliott, Rosemary (1987) Irish census returns and census substitutes, Begley (ed.) (1981). Gurrin, Brian, Pre-census sources for Irish demography. Dublin, 2002. Hepburn, Anthony and Collins, Brenda (1981). Industrial society: the structure of Belfast, 1901. In Roebuck, Peter (ed.). Plantation to partition: essays in Ulster history in honour of J.L. McCracken. Belfast, pp 210-28. Vaughan, W.E. and Fitzpatrick, A.J. (1978) Irish historical statistics: population 1821-1971 Dublin: Royal Irish Academy.
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CONCLUDING REMARK

CENSUS SUBSTITUTES

RELEVANT READING MATERIAL

Newspapers are amongst the most important sources for a local historian: however, they are also one of the most tedious and time consuming sources to consult. The first newspapers were published in Ireland in the late seventeenth century but the early nineteenth century on the explosion in the number of newspapers in Ireland and the increase was particularly pronounced from 1830 onwards. In the 1880s and 1890s, very small towns began publishing their own newspapers and so by the turn of the century nearly every small town had one and the larger towns had two or three issues. Newspapers are valuable sources of genealogical details and information concerning the political, social, economic and religious life of communities at local, provincial and national levels. Genealogical information may be gleaned from the announcements of birth, marriages and deaths and also from advertisements. Notices of marriages and deaths appear with increasing frequency from 1750 onwards. Prior to this, those published tended to relate to the nobility only. Notices which appeared in provincial newspapers were published in Dublin newspapers between five and ten days after their initial publication. Thus the substance of many notices originally published in provincial newspapers now survive in Dublin newspapers while the original provincial paper has been lost. Marriage announcements are very informative and newspapers contain copious notices of marriages of members of the Catholic merchant and gentry classes. Most Catholic marriage notices in the pre-1830 period do not specify the place in which the marriage took place while it was common practice for a Protestant notice to do so. For many marriages, a newspaper notice may be the only surviving record since the appropriate church register may be destroyed, no marriage settlement may have been registered and no marriage license bond may be available. Obituaries encompass the largest cross section of social classes and those of overseas persons are also published. Ages only tended to be stated if the deceased was either very old or very young. Until 1850, the place of burial was generally not specified since the intention was merely to inform people of the death rather than to summon them to the funeral. For most of the middle classes, the newspaper notice is the only surviving record of their death in the pre-1830 period. This is especially true in the case of women, since they tended to have fewer wills or legal documentation but the newspapers of the period carried several obituaries for women. After the explosion in newspaper production which occurred from 1830 onwards, the number of birth announcements rose sharply and marriage notices became more detailed. Advertisements also prove valuable sources for the family historian. Dates of deaths of proprietors can be deduced from advertisements which announce that a widow, son or daughter intends to continue the deceaseds business as the following advertisement extracted from the Leinster Leader, Saturday 3 June 1882 illustrates:

NEWSPAPERS

GENEALOGICAL INFORMATION

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History 6

AUCTIONEERING NOTICE The brothers of the late PATRICK MURPHY, of Tullow, intend to carry on the business of Auctioneering on behalf of his widow. They hope that those who kindly patronised him will entrust them with their business. Nothing will be wanting on their part to give satisfaction to those who may favour them. Cash advanced and prompt settlements

Requests for creditors to present their claims to the new proprietor or declarations of a transfer of ownership from one family to another are also valuable landmarks for the family historian. However, as family businesses began to decline, businesses became increasingly impersonal and therefore their advertisements grew more commercial in character. Thus, after 1830, the genealogical of advertisements as sources of genealogical information rapidly decreased. The newspaper advertisements for auctions for farms after the Famine period are particularly valuable given their detailed inventories of the main items and holdings on sale. More unconventional advertisements which you are likely to come across include a husbands announcement that his wife has absconded and disclaiming responsibility for any debts which she might contract or announcements of bankruptcy. In addition to providing information of interest to family historians, other topics covered in a standard newspaper, be it national, local or provincial tend to include commentary on national political developments; detailed commentaries and verbatim accounts of court cases (petty sessions); reports on demonstrations; on election campaigns; and on the proceedings of meetings of town commissioners; county councils and so on. Also included are detailed proceedings of meetings of the Board of Guardians; brief notes regarding world events; items on evictions, notices regarding fairs and markets, sports fixtures, remedies for common ailments and housewives tips, notes regarding house values, perhaps a column with advice for farmers and much more besides. Apart from their value to genealogists, newspaper advertisements are a treasure chest of nitty-gritty details helping the local historian to reconstruct an image of the daily life of a local community in the past. However, the onus is on us to be imaginative and probing in our use of these advertisements to gain full effect. In general the advertisement pages, often the front and or back page of the issue, comprise entries for a broad range of material from agricultural products (sacks, manure, seeds, churns, farm machinery, sheep dips) to advertisements for drapery stores, coal merchants, woollen manufacturers, auctioneers, furniture sales, tailors, hotels, piano tuners, gunsmiths, accountants, tea importers, builders and contractors, cattle salesmen, caterers, coach builders, pawnbrokers, photographers, match manufacturers, veterinary surgeons, life assurance agents and so on. Foodstuffs, medicines, new cosmetics, fashion items and

LOCAL POLITICAL, SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY

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household appliances are also featured as are notices of forthcoming shows and displays. Notices of ships travelling to Britain and America are published in this section with days of departure, prices of passage and so on being provided. Advertisements are also often interspersed throughout the main body of the newspaper. Thus, by studying the advertisements in tandem with the articles features in the newspapers we can build up a very detailed picture of what life was like for a local community in the past [see Document 5.12 (a) and (b)]. Newspaper illustrations also provide us with incisive commentary, usually on contemporary political and ecclesiastical events and as such deserve close attention. A limited number of indexes and guides to newspapers and specifically to genealogical information contained therein are available, the most important of which are the following. Indexes The following indexes refer to biographical information contained in newspapers: . National Library index to the Freemans Journal (17631771). National Library index to marriages and deaths in Pues Occurrences and the Dublin Gazette (1730-40) NL MS. 3197. Henry Farrar (ed.) (1889) Irish marriages: being an index to the marriages in Walkers Hibernian Magazine 1772-1812 2 vols (privately published). Card indexes to the biographical notices in the Hibernian Chronicle (1771-1802) and the Cork Mercantile Chronicle (1803-1818), held by the Irish Genealogical Research Society, London. Index to biographical material in the Belfast Newsletter (1737-1800). Material is arranged in chronological rather than alphabetical order and the index is held in the Linen Hall Library, Belfast. ffolliott, Rosemary. Index to Biographical notices, Collected from newspapers, Principally Relating to Counties Cork and Kerry, 1756-1827 * ffolliott, Rosemary. Index to Biographical Notices in the Newspapers of Limerick, Ennis, Clonmel and Waterford, 1758-1821* * Both are more than indexes, providing transcriptions and alphabetically ordering all notices which they record. Both are excellent but are not widely available. . The National Library and Cork County Library hold manuscript copies of the Cork and Kerry index (NL MSS. 19172-5). Limerick Archives, located at The Granary, Michael St., Limerick City, holds a copy of the index relating to Limerick, Ennis, Clonmel and Waterford.

CONSULTATION

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History 6

National Library of Ireland. Typescript index to Freemans Journal Dublin 1763-1771. Material is arranged by place, subject and surname. Microfilm. Morris, H.F. (1973 onwards). Extracts from surviving eighteenth-century Waterford newspapers and from Finns Leinster Journal (Kilkenny), Irish Genealogist. Casey, Albert (ed.). OKeif, Coshe Mang, etc. vol vi (Available in the National Library, IR. 94145 c 12).

Many local and provincial newspapers have been indexed in recent years through schemes organised by FS, the training and employment agency in the Republic of Ireland. You should contact the county librarian and or local FS officer to inquire if the local newspapers have been indexed General guides to newspapers The single best guide to Irish newspapers (national and local) is Sarah Smith (1998) Newsplan: report of the Newsplan project in Ireland London and Dublin: The British Library and the National Library of Ireland. This publication, which is available in the National Library and certain university libraries, provides an extensive though not exhaustive listing of the available newspapers. The book contains a lengthy index. Each entry specifies the title of the newspaper and identifies any changes which might have occurred in the title since the paper was first issued. The dates for runs of the paper are provided. The initials of the repositories in which the papers may be consulted are provided and are followed by details of the dates of the surviving issues held in those particular repositories. The form in which we may consult the newspaper (that is hard copy, microfilm, microfiche) is also stipulated (See Document 5.13). In the Republic of Ireland, individual libraries have lists of their own holdings. Libraries in provincial towns often have runs of old local papers. Current newspaper offices may also have backdated copies in their stores. The National Library of Ireland houses a substantial newspaper collection and you can consult the relevant catalogue at the Issue Desk in the reading room [Document 5.14]. By far the best single collection of Irish newspapers is that stored in the British Library at Colindale in England, since after 1826 that library was obliged to hold a copy of all Irish publications. Hence, from that date onwards, the collection of newspapers is virtually complete. You may consult the catalogue to this Colindale collection of newspapers in the National Library or in the reference section of many university libraries [Document 5.15]. Within Ireland, the single largest collection of newspapers is stored in the National Library. Trinity College Library has some rare issues and the Gilbert Library in Pearse Street in Dublin also has a fine collection of modern newspapers. In the case of Northern Ireland, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has published a booklet entitled Northern Ireland newspapers: checklist with locations Belfast: Library Association (NI branch/ PRONI Working Party on resources for local studies, 1987). This deals with newspapers dating as far back as 1737 and

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down to the present day. All known papers are listed alphabetically with a clear indication as to where they may be consulted [Document 5.16]. Other useful introductory works/catalogues include: . Adams, J.R.R. (1983) The use of newspapers as an historical source, Ulster Local Studies, vii, no. 2, pp 10-14. ffolliott, Rosemary (1981) Newspapers as a genealogical source in Begley, Donal (ed.) (1981) Irish genealogy: a record finder, pp 117-38 (excellent discussion). Grenham (1992) Tracing your Irish ancestors, chap. 9. Munter, R.L.(1960) A hand-list of Irish newspapers, 1685-1750. London: Bowes and Bowes. North, J.S. (1986) The Waterloo directory of Irish newspapers and periodicals, 1800-1900 Waterloo, Ont.: North Waterloo Academic Press [Document 5.17]. The National Library of Ireland (1983) The past from the press Dublin: National Library of Ireland. Smith Sarah. Newsplan, Report of the Newsplan Project in Ireland 2nd ed. Dublin, 1998. . When doing a local study, always try to consult the local newspapers first since they are likely to publish the most detailed coverage of local events. In so far as it is feasible, try to ensure that you consult newspapers of various shades of opinion and with different readerships. This will make for a more balanced handling of your topic. Try to detect the bias of each newspaper and alert your reader to the bias inherent in each of your newspaper sources. Having consulted local newspapers then proceed to consult issues of provincial and national newspapers for a fortnight or so after the specific dates on which notable events occurred in your chosen community. In this way you will be able to reach a balanced assessment of the relative impact and importance of the particular local event. Note the amount of column space afforded the item in national newspapers as compared with that allocated in local papers. Observe also the situation of the report within the newspaper is its front-page news in the national newspaper or does it merely merit a small paragraph towards the back of the broadsheet? This will provide you with an indication of the relative importance of the local event on the national stage. This helps you to contextualise your study of events on a local community.

. .

A FEW WORDS OF PRACTICAL ADVICE

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History 6

Most material published in newspapers tends to relate to the nobility, merchant and professional classes including barristers, solicitors, doctors, school masters, military officers, clergy, well-off business people, the farming gentry of the locality and the less prosperous traders. In general, apart from items regarding petty sessions cases, lists of recipients of charity, evictions and sports reports, there are few if any references to medium or small farmers, not to mention labourers or cottiers or members of the lower classes in urban areas. In terms of genealogical information, no information is to be found concerning these categories either. Cross-check factual details in newspaper reports with those in which appear in other contemporary sources in an effort to ensure their accuracy. Newspaper items provide us with leads for further research. Newspaper coverage of the proceedings of the local Unions Board of Guardians meetings or reports on petty sessions are of enormous value to local historians working on areas for which the original copies of these minutes and proceedings have been lost or destroyed. In general these reports are ample substitutes for the original records in the event of their being no longer available. Material gleaned from newspaper can be readily combined with data from a range of contemporary material. Advertisements can be combined with commercial directories to form an impression of the business life of the local community. Minutes of Board of Guardians meetings and reports on petty sessions can be combined with official records on poverty and crime in a locality to enhance our impression of the local community in the Famine era and so on. No historical account, however, should rely exclusively on newspaper reports any more than it should rely exclusively on government sources or oral history or travellers books.

. .

Most importantly, bear in mind that researching newspapers involves trawling through successive issues and it tends therefore to be a very lengthy and tedious process. According to Rosemary ffolliott it takes two hours (or three if working with microfilm) to examine a complete year of one newspaper. Moreover, newspapers can be scattered and may be difficult to read if they are poorly copies or in poor physical condition. An additional obstacle to be overcome is the fact that prior to 1830, the layout of newspapers followed no set format and so notices of births, deaths and marriages for example were merely inserted where ever a suitable space appeared. If you are working with one particular newspaper after 1830, your rate of research will be increased since you will automatically know that auctioneers notices are always printed on page 3 or advertisements are always on the front page. You should therefore be prepared for putting in a considerable number of hours before gaining returns from all your work. However, more often than not, those returns are a rich reward for that effort.

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Irish directories are an invaluable source for those areas and classes to which they refer since they often contain information which is unavailable elsewhere. Most follow the format in Slaters Royal national commercial directory of Ireland [Document 5.18]. In general directories provide us with microscopic snapshot images of local communities throughout Ireland, mainly during the nineteenth century which was when directories became particularly numerous. We are provided with details regarding the number of inhabitants, the number of houses, the number of acres in a parish, accounts of ecclesiastical buildings, schools, mills, bridewells, courthouses, and so on. Information regarding the topography and local sites of historical interest are included. Details regarding post office services and market days are included. Lists of names are presented including those of the local nobility, the gentry, the clergy, the post office master or mistress, bakers, blacksmiths, boot and shoe makers, butchers, cotton manufacturers, grocers and spirit dealers, millers, physicians and surgeons and provisions dealers. Academies and schools, inns and hotels, haberdasheries, drapers, places of worship, workhouses and transport services are also listed. Directories can be subdivided into four categories (i) Dublin directories (ii) Country-wide directories (iii) Provincial directories (iv) Professional directories. We will comment on each of these in turn. The best known Dublin directories are: 1751-1837 Wilsons Directory; break from 1754-59; from 1787 issued as part of The treble almanack Pettigrew and Oultons Dublin almanac and general register of Ireland Thoms Irish almanac and official directory

DIRECTORIES

DUBLIN DIRECTORIES

1834-39

1844 to present

Wilsons Directory Initially only alphabetical lists of merchants and traders, presenting names, addresses and occupations were included. From the 1790s onwards, separate lists of officers of the city guilds and of Trinity College, state officials, those involved in the professions, Church of Ireland clergy and so on were included. From 1815 onwards, the names of the nobility and gentry were printed as were the names of certain bankers, chemists, dentists and so on. Pettigrew and Oultons Dublin almanac and general register of Ireland This directory contained all of the above details as well as including a street-by-street list initially only of the inhabitants of Dublin city but gradually extending to include those of residents in the suburbs. It also includes an alphabetical list of all the persons named in each volume, though this is less comprehensive than the street list. This directory also extended the range of people included in their volumes. For example, the names of all clergy were listed. Under the title Official authorities

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History 6

of counties and towns, this directory records the names of rural gentry and better-off inhabitants of large outlying towns and this can be valuable if no directory exists for your town. Thoms Irish almanac and official directory This directory continued the extension of Dublin directories coverage outside the capital. It includes alphabetical and street listings for the entire country and thus although it is generally viewed as a Dublin directory, you should not overlook its value to your study of a provincial town [Document 5.19]. Dublin is also dealt with in the country-wide directories published by Pigot and Slater at intervals throughout the nineteenth century. It to these that we now turn our attention. The most widely-used of these directories are: 1778 George Taylor and Andrew Skinner, Road maps of Ireland (repr. IUP, 1969) Contains a list of the surnames of the occupants of major country houses along with an alphabetical list. This book, a road atlas, shows the principal 'bighouses' and logographical features encounted on various main routes through the country. 1786 William Wilsons The Post-Chaise companion Contains a list of the surnames of the occupants of major country houses but does not include an alphabetical list. This book was published as a companion volume to Taylor and Skinner's road atlas and the two books contain invaluable information for late eighteenth century Ireland concerning topics as diverse as the size of towns or the tourist attractions in a locality. 1812 Ambrose Leet, A list of [] noted places 1814 Ambrose Leet, A directory to the market towns, villages, gentlemens seats and other noted places in Ireland Both of Leets volumes provide alphabetical lists of placenames and in the case of houses, the names of occupants are supplied and an index of names is to be found at the back of each volume. 1820 J. Pigot, Commercial directory of Ireland This was the first country-wide directory to cover more than the gentry, providing names of tradesmen in addition. 1820 J. Pigot, City of Dublin and Hibernian provincial directory 1846 Slaters National commercial directory of Ireland 1856 Slaters Royal national commercial directory of Ireland 1870 Slaters Royal national commercial directory of Ireland 1881 Slaters Royal national commercial directory of Ireland 1894 Slaters Royal national commercial directory of Ireland With each of the above editions, the range of the directories expanded.
Unit 5: Documentary Sources for Local History (Part 2) 5-17

COUNTRY-WIDE DIRECTORIES

John Ferrars Directory of Limerick, issued in 1769 was the first directory to focus specifically on a provincial town and during subsequent decades, several similar issues appeared with Munster receiving particularly good coverage. During the nineteenth century, numerous local directories came on stream particularly for Belfast, the northeast and Munster. The following guides prove useful as a starting point if you wish to consult provincial directories: Cary, James (1940) National Library of Ireland: bibliography of Irish History, 1870-1911. Dublin. Evans, Edward (1897) Historical and bibliographical account of almanacks, directories etc. in Ireland from the sixteenth century. Dublin. Keen, M.E. (1979) A bibliography of trade directories of the British Isles in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London. These arose in response to a need for generally available accurate information concerning clergy, doctors, apothecaries and so on. By 1805, Irelands three main Christian churches - The Church of Ireland, the Roman Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church - each had their own ecclesiastical directories, the most important of which are the following: Church of Ireland directories Ecclesiastical registry by Samuel Percy Lea, 1814. Arranged by diocese. List parishes and incumbents. Omits curates. Indexed. Irish ecclesiastical register, 1817. Arranged by diocese. Lists both incumbents and curates. Indexed. The churchmans almanack and Irish ecclesiastical directory, by John Meldicott Bourns, 1841. Arranged by diocese. Lists incumbents and curates. Indexed. Clerical directory of Ireland, 1858, by Samuel B. Oldham. Arranged by diocese. Lists incumbents and curates. Indexed. James Charless Irish church directory, 1862. Arranged by diocese. Lists patron, incumbent and curate. Indexed. Irish church directory, 1962 onwards. Includes details regarding Episcopal succession in each diocese. Roman Catholic Church directory The Catholic directory, almanack and registry, 1836 onwards, known as The directory [Document 5.20]. Lists clergy, details of convents, schools, religious orders, sodalities, temperance societies and so on.

PROVINCIAL DIRECTORIES

PROFESSIONAL DIRECTORIES

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Presbyterian Church Directories Simms and MIntyres Belfast almanack, 1837 Lists members of the Presbyterian synod of Ulster William MCombs Presbyterian almanack, 1857 Lists alphabetically members of the Presbyterian Church, giving details of the Presbytery, Congregation and post town of each member. The other major category of professional directories is that of medical directories. While the names of medical practitioners were listed in commercial directories which we have already discussed, specifically medical directories only came on stream in the mid-nineteenth century and the most important issues are the following: The Irish medical directory for 1846, by H. Croly. The medical directory for Ireland, 1852 Irish medical directory, 1972 onwards Consultation A guide to the main directories for each individual county may be consulted in chapter 12 of John Grenham, Tracing your Irish ancestors. Also very useful is Rosemary ffolliott and Donal F. Begley, Guides to Irish directories in Begley, D. F. (ed.) (1981), Irish genealogy: a record finder Dublin: Heraldic Artists Ltd. While most county libraries have at least copies of Slaters and Pigots directories, the National Library holds the most substantial collection of directories for the entire country and these can be consulted in the Reading Room. Most of the early editions have been transferred to microfiche in the National Library. In order to find out which volumes deal even in part with your chosen area, you should consult the subject volumes of the printed books catalogue in the National Library, checking under the name of the village, the town, the parish and the county. You should also check the card and computer catalogues under similar headings and by subject in the case of professional directories.

SAQ 3
For what purpose do you think you might use directories in your research?

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While directories are clearly a very valuable source, the following are some cautionary points to bear in mind while using the directories: . Every entry is at least six months out of date by the time the directory is published. Population statistics may not be entirely accurate. For directaries from the nineteenth century the population figures are usually those of the previous census. Not all towns in Ireland are covered in these directories. The one class which is completely omitted from such directories is that of small tenant farmers, landless labourers and servants. Otherwise, almost all classes are at least partly included in these sources.

. .

In spite of these limitations, directories are still an important source for any local historian studying a local community from the mid-eighteenth century down to the present day. They can be used in conjunction with Tithe Applotment Books, Griffiths Valuation, the Royal Dublin Society Statistical Surveys, Masons Parochial survey and a whole host of travellers accounts, estate records and so on in order to create a detailed account of a local communitys life in the nineteenth century.

DICTIONARIES
Having completed topographical dictionaries for England, Scotland and Wales, Samuel Lewis then turned his attention to Ireland and produced another two volume topographical dictionary. This is a very popular reference book for local historians and one which is widely available, having recently been reprinted. The entries are arranged alphabetically and a map of each county is provided in the atlas. Lewiss work is valuable since it contains entries for even very small villages such as Straffan in County Kildare [Document 5.21], though not all villages are covered. The amount of information supplied varies according to the size of the village or town but the format of each entry is the same. Lewis opens with details of the towns geographical location and the number of inhabitants as recorded in the 1831 census. He often records the acreage of parishes. A compressed history of the town is then presented. Details regarding land quality, agriculture and industry in the area are recorded as are observations on architectural features of the towns buildings. The names of local notables are listed as are their seats (for example, Rockfield, the seat of R. Rothwell, Esq.) and he also describes the churches, both Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic in the area. Details regarding tithe payments (to the Church of Ireland) are recorded as are observations regarding the land owned by the Church of Ireland and the state of the vicarage and the rectory. Lewis mentions schools or academies which are located in the town or village, specifying whether it is a national school or a privately endowed establishment and the number of children attending is usually estimated. When relevant, he provides details regarding markets held in the town.
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SAMUEL LEWISS TOPOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF IRELAND 2 VOLS AND ATLAS LONDON, 1837

History 6

SAQ 4
Read the entry concerning Straffan village taken from Lewiss Topographical Dictionary, ii. What information would you regard as reliable and what information might you have reservations about on the grounds of its accuracy?

Lewiss work is widely available with most county libraries having a copy. The National Library also holds copies. Locating a relevant entry is extremely straightforward since the place names are listed in alphabetical order over the two volumes. Some points to consider in using Lewiss Topographical Dictionary: Firstly, Lewis himself did not travel throughout the entire country engaging in scholarly research into the history of each village. Such a task would have been well nigh impossible in the early nineteenth century. Instead, he drew on the works of others in compiling his dictionary. This necessarily opens up possibilities for errors to have been introduced into the dictionary. Nonetheless, it is still regarded as a very valuable source for Ireland in the 1830s. Secondly, when Lewis describes Straffan as a parish, he is referring to the civil parish of Straffan rather than to the Roman Catholic parish and this is an important consideration to bear in mind with this and other sources which you will consult. In official documentation, government valuations, Tithe Applotment books and so on, the term parish, unless otherwise stated, is generally understood to refer to the civil parish and this unit does not always correspond with the Roman Catholic parish boundaries. Thirdly, you will notice Lewiss use of terms which we might consider synonymous with the nineteenth century, for example, the neat residence and a neat edifice. These are formulaic phrases which Lewis uses throughout his work to describe compact well proportioned buildings and we should be careful therefore not to read too many implications into the literal meaning of neat as applied in the case of Straffan. Fourthly, while accepting that he had to contend with space restrictions and that his brief was to provide a brief outline of each town or village, we learn little about the poorer elements in these localities from Lewiss work.

CONSULTATION

ASSESSMENT

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SAQ 5
If you were given this extract on Straffan village taken from Samuel Lewiss Topographical dictionary and asked to identify avenues for further research based on this piece, what channels might you pursue? You do not have to specify the names of actual sources: rather, just try to think of some types of sources which you might consult further to your reading of the extract.

This publication, which is available for consultation in the National Library (IR9141 p30), contains information which is largely similar to that in Lewiss Topographical Dictionary. Commercial and professional directories and topographical dictionaries are therefore detailed, valuable sources which are particularly useful to local historians and are indispensable for any study of a local urban community from the late eighteenth century onwards. The best guides are: . . John Grenham (1992), chapters 10 & 12 Donal Begley (1981), chapter 4

PARLIAMENTARY GAZETTEER OF IRELAND 1846 CONCLUDING REMARK

These surveys were compiled under the supervision of the Royal Dublin Society and this helped to ensure a degree of uniformity in terms of themes covered. However, their value as reliable historical sources varies considerably. One of the best volumes, that of William Tighe of Kilkenny, contains detailed commentary on a wide range of topics concerning social and economic life in the pre-Famine era (See Document 5.22 which is an extract from the County Wicklow survey). The following table provides an insight into the kind of topics covered in a typical volume of the RDS surveys.

STATISTICAL SURVEYS OF THE ROYAL DUBLIN SOCIETY (1801-1832)

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Geographical state and circumstances Situation and extent Divisions Climate Soil and surface Minerals Water Agriculture Mode of culture Extent of it, and of each species of grain sowed Course of crops Use of oxen how harnessed Nature and use of implements of husbandry Markets for grain Use of green food in winter Pasture Nature of it Breed of cattle how far improved Breed of cattle how far capable of further improvement Markets or fairs for them General prices Modes of feeding how far housed in winter Natural grasses Artificial grasses Mode of hay-making Dairies, their produce Prices of hides, tallow, wool, and quantity sold Farms Their size Farm houses and offices Mode of repairing them, whether by landlord or tenant Nature of tenure General state of leases General state of particular clauses therein Taxes or cesses paid by tenants Proportion of working horses or bullocks, to the size of farms General size of fields, or enclosures Nature of fences Mode of hedge-rows, and keeping hedges Mode of draining Nature of manure

Figure 5.1 Table of contents from an R.D.S. Statistical survey

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The following are the volumes in the series which have been published: County Dublin Kings County Monaghan Queens County Wicklow Cavan Derry Donegal Down Kilkenny Leitrim Mayo Sligo Tyrone Armagh Kildare Wexford Clare Cork Antrim Galway Roscommon Meath Author Archer Coote Coote Coote Fraser Coote Sampson M'Parlan Dubourdieu Tighe Mac Parlan Mac Parlan McParlan M'Evoy Coote Rawson Fraser Dutton Townsend Dubourdieu Dutton Weld Thompson Date of publication 1801 1801 1801 1801 1801 1802 1802 1802 1802 1802 1802 1802 1802 1802 1804 1807 1807 1808 1810 1812 1824 1832 1802

No statistical surveys exist for counties Carlow, Waterford, Limerick, Kerry, Westmeath, Louth, Longford and Fermanagh. The volume for County Tipperary exists in manuscript form and may be consulted in the Manuscript Room in the National library (MS 8146 Matters of various nature arranged according to the programme of the Royal Dublin Society for the promotion of statistical surveys by Rev. Cooke). A full set of the surveys is held in the National Library. Certain county libraries have copies relating to their own individual counties. Given their early date of publication, it is not possible to photocopy the surveys in the National Library. If you are working on a survey you should therefore allow for the fact that you will have to transcribe sections of text and these can often be very lengthy.

CONSULTATION

SAQ 6
Read the extract from the County Wicklow survey (Document 5.22). What, in your view, are the merits and limitations of this extract as a source for the study of Wicklow society at the turn of the century?

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History 6

In spite of their varying quality and their lack of scientific and statistical data, these Surveys provide the local historian with unique and invaluable insights into the nature of agriculture and by extension the nature of Irish rural society at the turn of the century. They may be compared with Arthur Youngs findings in his A Tour of Ireland, 1776-79 2 vols (London, 1780) to monitor changes in agricultural practices in a county in the interim. They may also be consulted in conjunction with estate records, land valuations and travellers accounts in order to enhance our image of a local community in the vital decades preceding the Great Famine. While there are many visitors accounts of Ireland dating particularly from the late sixteenth century onwards, in the late eighteenth and more especially in the nineteenth century, Ireland attracted increasing numbers of British and continental visitors who came to spend anything from a fortnight upwards touring around Ireland. The vast majority of these visitors were members of the gentry or aristocracy and their purpose in coming to Ireland was largely to visit the country and to observe the lifestyles of the native population. This marked them apart from many of the sixteenth and early seventeenth century commentators who by and large came to Ireland for business or employment reasons. In the case of these eighteenth- and nineteenth-century travellers, the standard practice upon their return home was to have their accounts of their sojourn published. Among the best known works are: Bishop Pocockes tour in Ireland, ed. G.T. Stokes Dublin, 1891 Arthur Young, A tour of Ireland, 1776-79 2 vols London, 1780 C. de Latocnaye. A Frenchmans walk through Ireland, 1796-7. Transl. John Stevenson Belfast, 1917; reissued 1984. H.D. Inglis. Ireland in 1834: a journey through Ireland during the spring, summer and autumn of 1834 2 vols London, 1834 Alexis de Tocqueville. Journeys to England and Ireland. Ed. J.P. Mayer London, 1958 Mr & Mrs S.C. Hall. Ireland, its scenery, character etc. 3 vols London, 1841 W.M. Thackery [M.A. Titmarsh]. The Irish sketchbook, 1842 London, 1843 and numerous subsequent editions Francis B. Head. A fortnight in Ireland London, 1852 Madame de Bovet. Three months tour in Ireland. Transl. By Mrs Arthur Walter London, 1891 Guides George Taylor and Andrew Skinner. Maps of the roads of Ireland Dublin, 1778. New ed. with intro. by J.H. Andrews Shannon, 1969. James Fraser. Handbook for travellers in Ireland 4th ed., Dublin, 1854

CONCLUDING REMARK

TRAVELLERS ACCOUNTS

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We will now look at some examples of travel writings in order to gain an insight into the kind of material which they contain. In the process, we will also observe some of the most important merits and limitations inherent in travellers accounts as historical sources. In his Irish sketchbook, Thackery presents a description of a summer day in Dublin and an account of a country house in Kildare with sketches of an Irish family and their farm. He gives an eyewitness account of petty court sessions held in Roundstone, County Galway. He goes on to describe the pattern at Croak Patrick and then describes agricultural shows and markets in Kildare, Meath and Drogheda. He describes Maynooth College in very derogatory terms in the following manner: An Irish Union workhouse is a palace to it. Ruin so needless, filth so disgusting, such a look of lazy squalour, no Englishman who has not seen can conceive. He refers popular entertainments which the people of Dublin engaged in and provides a description of the physical layout of the city and its suburbs. He also includes a detailed account of Dublin Union workhouse located near Stoneybatter. Francis Head in his Fortnight in Ireland provides similar glimpses into nineteenth-century life. Among other items he gives an eyewitness account of the crowds coming and going to Donnybrook Fair; a detailed report on school life, including interviews with children attending school in Marlborough Street. He provides a detailed account of Ballinrobe workhouse and relates part of a conversation which he had with a sub-inspector in the police station there on the questions of local crime, cattle stealing and evictions. He describes clothing worn by the poorer classes. He questions the sergeant in charge of Claddagh Station in County Galway regarding the instance of illegitimacy in the locality. He also includes two interesting sections entitled Tactics of the Irish priesthood and Priests published speeches which provides an insight into clerical input into political issues and their attempts to influence the congregations. These travellers also concerned themselves with issues of national importance and thus often presented discourses on such matters as an intrinsic feature of their accounts. For example, in his Journey through Ireland, Inglis devotes a section to an assessment of the effects of absenteeism in Ireland. Others had an interest in particular features of Irish life and their work comprised a commentary on that practice. Arthur Youngs Tour in Ireland, for instance, is a valuable document dealing almost exclusively with pre-Union agricultural and social conditions. He was a highly qualified visiting expert and engaged in fairly prolonged study of Irish rural society. He visited many areas of the country and commented in detail on the crops grown, livestock reared, implements used, drainage, ploughing, expenses, fertilisers, agricultural improvements, farm sizes and so on along with comments on the state of the local population. Travel guides are also a very valuable source for the local historian. Guides such as Frasers Handbook provide details regarding the distances between towns and cities and present a commentary on the various features which the traveller will observe as he or she travels along the designated routes [Document 5.23]. Case study: Extract from Head, A fortnight in Ireland (1852), pp 227-29 [Document 5.24]
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SAQ 7
Read the extract from Heads A fortnight in Ireland, pp 22729. Do so slowly, consciously observing the relationship between Head and those whom he interviewed. Take particular notice of the language used in the answers given by the local police. Consider why Head especially may have been treated as he was by the police and try to think about whether other visitors may have been treated in a similar manner upon their arrival in local communities.

We can see from the case study how the visitors approach and the topics which he or she pursues can dictate the response which they receive from local people. Equally those interviewed have their own agenda and may also be quite wary of this stranger who is asking prying questions regarding the lifestyle of the local community. When consulting travellers accounts we must therefore be attuned to these factors as determinants of the content and tone of the commentary. Bear in mind also that road transport was comparatively difficult and that many visitors therefore tended to stay on main routes. This means that the chances of a visitor having travelled to a remote village are quite limited. Nonetheless, many proved themselves to be very resourceful in their travels and one of the great aspects of travellers accounts is their variety. It may well be the case therefore that a traveller made his or her way to your chosen remote village. Browsing through travellers accounts can thus prove a very rewarding pursuit. You are probably best advised to start your search with those listed above since they may provide you with an idea as to the routes most commonly taken. You should also consult the following guides when beginning your research in travel writings: McVeagh, John 1996 Irish travel writings: a bibliography Dublin Includes tours, guides and other topographical material Hadfield, Andrew and MacVeagh, John (ed.) (1994) Strangers to that land: British perceptions of Ireland from the Reformation to the Famine Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe Ltd. Fordham, H.G. 1923 The road books and itineraries of Ireland, 1647-1850: a catalogue Bibliographical Society of Ireland publications, ii , no. 4, pp 63-76 These accounts are enjoyable to read and tend to present very evocative, colourful accounts of life in Ireland. As such they are very valuable and provide are a welcome complement to official and statistical data. However, it is vital that they be approached in a critical manner and that we draw discerning conclusions from our reading of these accounts.

CONSULTATION

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SAQ 8
In your opinion what are the main merits and limitations of travellers accounts as an historical source?

On balance, the merits of travellers accounts outweigh the limitations if we are critical in our use of them. In addition, they should be compared and cross checked with other contemporary documents in an effort to evaluate their accuracy. Once this has been done, their unique grassroots perspective can serve to colour our historical account of a local community by looking at it through the eyes of a stranger. We will leave this discussion of travellers accounts with an extract from Thackerys conclusion in which we are given a salutary warning against an uncritical acceptance of travellers accounts. To have an opinion about Ireland, one must begin by getting the truth; and where is it to be had in the country? Or rather, there are two truths, the Catholic truth and the Protestant truth. The two parties do not see things with the same eyes. I recollect, for instance, a Catholic gentleman telling me that the Primate had forty-three thousand five hundred a year; a Protestant clergyman gave me, chapter and verse, the history of a shameful perjury and malversation of money on the part of a Catholic priest; nor was one tale more true than the other. But belief is made a party business; and the receiving of the archbishops income would probably not convince the Catholic, any more than the clearest evidence to the contrary altered the Protestants opinion. Ask about an estate, you may be sure almost that people will make misstate-ments, or volunteer them if not asked. Ask a cottager about his rent, or his landlord; you cannot trust him. I shall never forget the glee with which a gentleman in Munster told me how he had sent off MM. Tocqueville and Beaumont with such a set of stories. Inglis was seized, as I am told, and mystified in the same way. In the midst of all these truths, attested with I give ye my sacred honour and word, which is the stranger to select? (Thackery 1990 ed. Irish Sketchbook, Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, p. 368) The impact of the Great Famine on local communities throughout Ireland has been the subject of many fascinating studies in recent years. It is a topic for which there is, generally speaking, a reasonably substantial body of surviving evidence.

CONCLUDING REMARK

CASE STUDY: FAMINE RECORDS

Before reading on, make a list of those sources you might expect to consult in researching the history of the Famine in a local context.

ACTIVITY

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History 6

The following sources may be among those which you have listed: . . . . . . . Poor Law Union records (workhouse records and so on) Newspapers Church records Census records Tithe Applotment books vs. Griffiths valuation Estate & encumbered estates court records Parliamentary papers (reports on poverty, poor relief, government measures to address the crisis; The Famine in Ireland series) Records of central government (Distress papers; Relief commission papers; Office of Public Works; parliamentary papers) Records relating to the provision of relief Parish constabulary returns Local folklore Emigration records (for example, passenger lists) Travellers/ reporters accounts Charity records Quaker records Personal papers, diaries, journals Literature

. . . . . . . . .

Each of these merit brief comment. The records of the Boards of Poor Law Guardians, the principal state agency for provision of relief for the countrys poor, are essential to the study of the impact of the Famine at local level. Each union generated a set of records comprised of the following: minute books, correspondence, accounts (general ledgers, personal ledgers and rate books), out-relief registers, the workhouse masters journal, and material concerning workhouse administration. The latter including indoor workhouse registers, lists of inmates and details regarding the infirmary and the dispensary along with returns of births and deaths in the workhouse. Information regarding vaccinations in the union was also recorded. Consultation The single best guide to local Famine archives is Lindsay, Deirdre and Fitzpatrick, David (1993) Records of the Irish famine: a guide to local archives, 1840-1855 Dublin, Irish Famine Network. In this book which is available in most university libraries and probably in most county libraries, Lindsay and Fitzpatrick provide an introduction to the principal surviving records of the Poor Law Unions for the whole island of Ireland. These records are then listed by county. In each case, the authors specify the current location of the records, what material has survived, the dates for which it survives, and the periods for which there are gaps in the collections. In many cases the original minute books of the Board of Guardians have not survived [Document 5.25 (a) and (b)]. However, rough minute books may exist and these provide a partial substitute in cases when the finished books have been lost [Document 5.26 (a) and (b)]. Another substitute for the minute books is the reports of the

POOR LAW UNION RECORDS

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Board of Guardians meeting in local newspapers. As a rule, these tend to be very detailed accounts of the proceedings in which there is little variation, regardless of the leanings of the newspapers in question. Assessment Historians studying the Famine generally tend to rely most on the minute books of the Board of Guardians. As Lindsay and Fitzpatrick have explained, much of the material generated by the board is statistical rather than nominal. Nevertheless the weekly returns of the number of paupers admitted, discharged, sick, deceased, or born in the workhouse provide an insight into mortality and help the historian to identify peaks in the Famine crisis in a local community. Indoor workhouse registers can be used in conjunction with these numerical returns as the registers provide details of those admitted including their name, sex, age, marital status, the status of children (orphan, deserted or bastard), employment, religious denomination, details of any disability, the name of a spouse, and the number of children. They also record observations on the condition of the inmate upon his/ her being admitted to the workhouse; the name of the District Electoral Division and townland in which s/he formerly resided; the date of admittance to, or birth in, the workhouse and the date of death in, or discharge from, the workhouse. The account books detailing the running costs of the workhouse furnish us with details regarding the minutiae of expenditure on food, clothing, structural repairs, wages, thus enabling us to gain an impression of what life was like in the workhouse for both staff and inmates. If you are lucky enough to have chosen an area for which all of these Poor Law Union records survive, you will be able to present a very colourful, detailed and humane historical account of life in the workhouse and the life of the poorer strata in a local community. Realistically speaking, however, the prospect of this occurring is slim and you will be obliged to search elsewhere in order to flesh out your source material. Apart from their use as a substitute source for the minutes of the Board of Guardians, newspapers can be useful for carrying reports of the death of individuals in tragic or violent circumstances owing to their being reduced to destitution. They can also feature reports of the arrival of Indian meal, discussion in the British parliament of the crisis in Ireland, foreign reporters first hand accounts of encounters with starving Irish people and one newspaper, the Illustrated London news, printed artists portrayals of Famine victims [See Document 5.27 (a) and (b) for examples].

NEWSPAPERS

Read Crawford, Margaret (1994). The Great Irish Famine, 1845-9: image versus reality. In Gillespie, Raymond and Kennedy, B.P. (ed.). Ireland: art into history. Dublin and Niwot, Colorado: Town House and Roberts Rinehart Publishers, pp 75-88.

ACTIVITY

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History 6

Newspapers are therefore an important source for studying the impact of the famine at local level and researchers should try to assess whether the different political and social tendencies of the newspapers which they consult colour their handling of the impact of the Famine. Church records of baptisms, marriages and burials are an obvious source to be consulted when studying the impact of the Famine at local level, allowing us to monitor changes in birth and mortality rates and in the age of marriage during the late 1840s and early 1850s. Again, Lindsay and Fitzpatricks book provides a list of Roman Catholic parish registers for the whole country for the period 1840-55. Entries are listed by county and thereafter by parish. The registers are said to be either complete, partial or not traced. The availability of Church of Ireland registers has already been discussed in Unit 4. Remember that Church of Ireland registers often contain supplementary material regarding poor relief which may prove useful in researching this topic. The census returns and reports for the years 1841 and 1851 can be very useful in providing you with benchmarks with which you can gauge the effect of the famine on the population of a particular townland or group of townlands. Simply by comparing the population figures for each census, the number of males and females, the number of inhabited and uninhabited houses, we can gain an insight into the impact of the famine. Of course, returns for workhouses and hospitals would also be extremely valuable. We do, however, need to be cautious in our interpretation of these data. Often, you may find that the population of your chosen townland undergoes a dramatic reduction in this ten year period which might lead to you to conclude that there was a high mortality rate and or a high rate of emigration from the area? Before doing so, you should firstly investigate the figures for neighbouring townlands since it is possible that those resident in your chosen townland may simply have moved to neighbouring townlands in the period between the two censuses. When used judiciously in its own right and when combined with other contemporary sources, census data can prove very valuable in assessing the impact of the Famine in a particular locality. A similar before and after assessment may be conducted by comparing the data on land occupancy in the pre-Famine era with that recorded in Griffiths valuation which in most cases was compiled after the worst phase of the Famine had ended.

CHURCH RECORDS

CENSUS RECORDS

TITHE APPLOTMENT BOOKS VS. GRIFFITHS VALUATION

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These records can prove a very rich source for assessing the impact of the Famine in a locality. You may discover information regarding the failure of the potato crop; increasing arrears, the prevalence of subdivision; the size of holdings and the number of people resident in labourers cottages on the property. It might also be possible to focus on some individual case studies of families during the Famine period. The landlords response vis--vis provision of relief and or employment; assisted emigration; evictions; post-famine amalgamation of holdings are among other topics which you may be able to study. We have already discussed estate records in Unit 4 and the single best guide to landed estate records for this period is Eirksson, Andrs and Grda (1995) Estate records of the Irish famine: a second guide to famine archives, 1840-1855 Dublin: Irish Famine Network. As we will discover at a later stage in this unit, parliamentary papers provides the richest source of information of a whole spectrum of aspects of life in nineteenth century Ireland and the famine was no exception. The main collection of parliamentary papers contains reports on poverty and poor relief as well as the annual reports of the Poor Law commissioners [Document 5.28 (a) and (b)]. Of greatest interest to historians focusing on the famine era is the Irish University Press series of British parliamentary papers - papers relating to proceedings for the relief of distress and the state of the unions and workhouses in Ireland [fourth and fifth series] (1847-8) Famine Ireland, published in 8 vols. These contain reports on the state of the local population compiled by boards of guardians from Poor Law unions throughout the country, as well as correspondence, directives for relief measures to be adopted, statistical data concerning the numbers of inmates in workhouses and other related information [Document 5.29 (a) and (b)]. Consultation This set of volumes is available for consultation is the National Library and in the government publications section of most university libraries. Few county libraries are likely to have copies. Assessment This collection provides useful evidence of the correspondence between local officials and members of the board of guardians and their superiors in central government concerning measures to be adopted for the relief of distress and for improving conditions in the workhouse in each Poor Law Union. This material is therefore valuable as it provides an insight into the bureaucratic and financial constraints with which members of the board of guardians were forced to contend. It also provides evidence of corruption and negligence in the running of workhouses. Tables of statistics are arranged on a Union basis which facilitates comparisons between the figures for your chosen Union and those for neighbouring Unions. As with all parliamentary papers, these eight volumes are almost exclusively comprised of reports written by members of the upper strata of society which necessarily results in a bias. For a more detailed discussion of parliamentary papers see section below.

ESTATE & ENCUMBERED ESTATES COURT RECORDS

PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS

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RECORDS RELATING TO THE PROVISION OF RELIEF


These papers cover the period 1846-7 and are generally comprised of applications for relief work. They may be consulted in the National Archives, Bishop Street and they are indexed by location. The Relief Commission was established in November 1845 with the purpose of advising the government of the extent of the failure of the potato crop and to coordinate the efforts of local relief committees. The Commission gathered reports from local resident magistrates, members of the constabulary and others concerning conditions in their localities. Four months later, in February 1846, local relief committees were set up and these applied to the lord lieutenant for grants to fund relief schemes. A very substantial body of the Relief Commission papers therefore originate from local relief committees around the country. They are arranged partly by barony within the county. The entire collection is now on database in the National Archives and may be accessed by location. Many of the papers are written by local priests, parsons, landlords and secretaries of relief committees. They detail relief works which have been carried out, and the costs incurred. They record the amount of wages and Indian meal paid to labourers and recount the difficulties which they experienced in obtaining provisions for the poor in their locality. The records of the OPW are stored in the National Archives and they provide details of projects designed to provide employment during the famine period along with a very wide range of material dating from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. Reference reading Cosgrave, Marianne, Lohan, Rena and Quinlan, Tom (1995) Sources in the National Archives for researching the great famine, Irish Archives, ii, no. 1. Cosgrave, Marianne (1995) Sources in the National Archives for researching the great famine: the Relief Commission papers, Irish Archives, ii, no. 2. Lohan, Rena (1994) Guide to the archives of the O.P.W. Dublin: Stationary Office. Assessment These papers combined provide very useful vignettes on destitution at local level and afford us an insight into the mechanisms for providing relief. Given that they had their origins at local level, these collections are vital to any comprehensive study of the impact of the famine in a local context. Ideally they should be used in conjunction with Poor Law Union records and with the other sources presently under discussion in order to garner as much detail as possible from the

DISTRESS PAPERS

RELIEF COMMISSION PAPERS, 1845-7

OFFICE OF PUBLIC WORKS

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available pool of sources. You may consider tracing a family mentioned in the estate rentals in the Distress papers and in the workhouse records to add a human dimension to your study. The Grand Juries were the forerunners of modern county councils. These Grand Juries were responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the roads and bridges in the locality and for fulfilling some elementary police duties. They were also obliged to oversee the construction of jails and courthouses. The Grand Jury Present Books are especially valuable and are most widely available. These enumerate the sums awarded by the Grand Jury and charged on the county and the barony for contracts of building work, repair or maintenance to be carried out on behalf of the localitys cess-payers [Document 5.30 (a) and (b)]. Often they include the county surveyors report on public works; the county treasurers accounts; and lists of cess-payers along with their assessments. Also important are the voters lists, the poll books, and registers of freeholders. These contain nominal data as follows: name; residence; place and date of registration; occupation; and category of franchise. Consultation Again, Lindsay and Fitzpatricks Records of the Irish famine is the best guide to the countrys surviving Grand jury records. Other categories of records such as coroners inquests and schedules of tolls and customs are also discussed and their survival or otherwise is indicated in the county-by-county list. Assessment Given that the Grand Juries were responsible for organising public works schemes, including road construction, improvements to roads and harbours and so on as relief measures and consequently, their records are an important source for official responses to the famine at local level. We have already discussed the merits and limitations of using travellers accounts as a reliable historical source and John McVeaghs Irish travel writings and his collaborative work with Andrew Hadfield, Strangers to that land both provide details of travellers accounts dating from this period. A handful of newspaper reporters also visited Ireland during the famine years. Perhaps the best-known of these was Alexander Somerville who was sent to Ireland by the owners of the Manchester Examiner to examine the countrys condition without regard to political or religious parties, and to report to that paper what I saw. This he did in graphic detail. Having been a farm worker in his early years, Somerville showed a real empathy with and sympathy for the victims of the Irish famine whom he directly encountered [Document 5.31]. His letters were addressed from Dublin, Kilkenny, Clonmel, Dungarvan, Limerick, Ennis, Lough Derg, Banagher, Roscommon, Strokestown, Longford, Athlone, Mayo, Castlebar, Rathkeale, Ardagh (County Limerick), Newcastle (County Limerick), Castle Island, OBriens Bridge (County Clare), Birr, Collooney, and Sligo among other places. Somervilles letters have been published as Letters from Ireland during the famine of 1847. Ed. K.D.M. Snell. Dublin, 1994: Irish Academic Press.

RECORD OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

TRAVELLERS ACCOUNTS/ REPORTERS ACCOUNTS

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These returns, compiled on a parish basis by a member of the constabulary, record the amount of potatoes grown during the years 1844-6. They therefore serve as a useful gauge for measuring the advance of the potato blight and local peoples diminishing confidence in the crop. In the introduction to his book, Famine echoes, Cathal Pirtir discusses the reluctance on the part of Irish historians to use folklore sources when studying the Famine. He suggests that the emotive character of folklore makes it less appealing to historians who are often dubious about its credibility. He also refers to the fact that historians have by and large paid little attention to folklore since many of the sources are recorded in the Irish language. Pirtir argues that neither excuse justifies the failure to harness the wealth of material which survives only in folklore, much of which, he stresses, is in fact recorded in English. His book, which contains extracts of folklore, provides a good insight into the type of material which is available to historians in the three main collections of folklore concerning the Famine (see documents for assignment 4). The first of these collections had its origins in the mid-1930s. In 1935 the Irish Folklore Commission undertook a project whereby children or grandchildren of those who were eye-witnesses of the Famine were interviewed. Secondly, in 1937-8, children in National Schools throughout the 26 counties collected folklore regarding the Famine and life in late nineteenth-century Ireland. The third collection is comprised of the results of a questionnaire which was circulated by the Irish Folklore Commission in 1945 to commemorate the centenary of the Famine and it runs to thousands of pages of manuscript. All of these collections are now stored in the Department of Irish Folklore at University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4. See Sen Silleabhin, A handbook of Irish folklore (Detroit, 1970). The archives of Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick City, also store an Irish Folklore Commission collection and Dermot Gleesons parish notes held in Killaloe Roman Catholic diocesan archives contain folklore material. McHugh, Roger. The Famine in Irish oral tradition. In R. Dudley Edwards and T. Desmond Williams (ed.) (1976). The Great Famine: studies in Irish history, 1845-52. New York: Russell and Russell, pp 391-436. See also section on folklore and oral history in Unit 7. In studying the impact of the Famine on a particular local community, you may decide to investigate the rate of emigration from the locality. Alternatively, you might wish to study the fate of specific individuals who survived the Famine. There are a number of standard printed sources relating to Famine emigration to America, including: . Passengers from Ireland: lists of passengers arriving at American ports between 1811 and 1817. By Donald Schlegal. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. 1980. Document 5.32 provides an example of a standard entry in the list.

PARISH CONSTABULARY RETURNS

FOLKLORE AND ORAL HISTORY

EMIGRATION RECORDS

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Passenger and immigration lists index: a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. Ed. William Filby and Mary Meyer. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1985 [Document 5.33]. The Irish famine immigrants: lists of Irish immigrants arriving at the port of New York, 1846-1851. Ed. Ira Glazier and Michael Tepper. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. 1983 [Document 5.34]. Irish passenger lists, 1847-1871; lists of passengers sailing from Londonderry to America on ships of the J. & J. Cooke line and the McCorkell line. Compiled under the direction of Brian Mitchell. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988 [Document 5.35].

In chapter seven of Tracing your Irish ancestors, Grenham presents a very valuable, concise introduction to emigration records and their contents for genealogical research in particular. You may also wish to consult statistical material relating to rates of emigration. The 1851 Census Ireland: part vi: general report (Irish University Press series: population, vol 14) contains useful data concerning emigration during the period 1841-51. Migration statistics are published as part of the series of Agricultural statistics (Ireland), 1856-75 (British parliamentary papers). Within the British parliamentary papers you will find a very large collection of reports concerning emigration from Ireland throughout the nineteenth century. In beginning your research on parliamentary papers, you should consult the standard guides to parliamentary papers, that is Peter Cockton (1988). Subject catalogue of the House of Commons parliamentary papers, 1801-1900. 5 vols. Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey and his House of Commons parliamentary papers, 1801-1900: a guide to the Chadwyck-Healey microfiche edition. Cambridge: ChadwcykHealey, 1991. Vaughan, W.E. and Fitzpatrick, A.J. (ed.) (1978). Irish historical statistics: population, 1821-1971. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy provides figures for emigration by counties and provinces during the period 1851-1900. See Document 5.36 for a sample sheet of statistics taken from parliamentary papers. Assessment Such genealogical details and statistical data concerning emigration can be effectively combined in a local study in order to assess the extent of this reaction to the Famine and its implications in terms of population decline, the disappearance of Irish speakers, and the impact of their departure on land tenure arrangements in the locality. However, your scope for engaging in genealogical research for the purposes of your research project will be very limited and you should set yourself very modest goals if you do choose to trace an emigrant in the available records.

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The National Archives has the largest collection of records belonging to charity agencies and these may prove a fruitful source of information regarding initiatives adopted at local level to provide relief from the distress caused by the Famine. Since members of the Society of Friends were actively involved in the provision of food supplies and in organising relief work in their localities, it is worthwhile to consult the Societys archives when studying local responses to the famine. See Unit 4 for details. The journal of Elizabeth Smith who lived at Baltiboys in County Wicklow at the time of the Famine brings to light an estate managers wife outlook on the effects of the Famine in her locality and her efforts to assist the labourers and their families who resided on the estate. Read the extract from The Irish journals of Elizabeth Smith. Ed. David Thomson and M. McCarthy. Oxford, 1980 [Document 5.37]. Then read TeBrake, Janet K. (1995). Personal narratives as historical sources: the journal of Elizabeth Smith, 1840-1850. In History Ireland, pp 51-5 for a discussion of the journal as an historical source. As we will discover in the following unit, the work of nineteenthcentury novelists, especially Maria Edgeworth from Longford and William Carleton from the Clogher valley in Tyrone also shed valuable light on the lifestyles of both landlords and tenants in their era and these novels serve as alternative sources for the study of Irish rural society on the eve of the Famine. See Unit 6 for a more detailed discussion. Read Sophia Hillan King (1997). The conditions of our people: William Carleton and the social issues of the mid-1840s. In Crawford, E. Margaret (ed.). The hungry stream: essays on emigration and famine. The Institute of Irish Studies, The Queens University of Belfast, and the Centre for Emigration Studies, Ulster-American Folk Park, pp 175-83. There is therefore a very wide range of source material at your disposal should you choose to study the history of a particular local community during the Famine era, some of which are traditional and others which are less conventional. With enough imagination and a heightened sense of critical awareness in handling all of these sources, you can write a well-rounded, multifaceted historical account of this phenomenon which affected virtually every community in the country to some degree. This case study is also designed to prompt you to think about how you might approach topics other than the impact of the Famine at local level since selecting and researching any topic involves the adoption of a similarly imaginative, alternative approach.

CHARITY RECORDS

QUAKER RECORDS

PERSONAL PAPERS, DIARIES, JOURNALS

LITERARY SOURCES

CONCLUDING REMARK

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Parliamentary papers, often called Blue Books, are perhaps the richest source for local historians studying the period 18001921. Thereafter, parliamentary papers are superseded by Dil debates and government publications of the Irish Free State for the purposes of those researching Irish history [Document 5.38]. This large body of material comprises parliamentary committee and parliamentary commission reports. A substantial amount of the material of a purely local nature is included in the minutes of evidence gathered by committees and royal commissioners and in the many appendices to these reports. The census reports and returns, for example, are parliamentary papers. Parliament also published a range of annual accounts and statistics and this material is, as a rule, presented on a regional or more local basis, therefore rendering the data useful for the purposes of the local historian. It is impossible to provide a comprehensive guide to the contents of the parliamentary papers which run to over 7,000 volumes in this context. Virtually every conceivable topic is covered in the collection ranging from government finance, banking, land ownership, landlordtenant relations, poverty and relief, disease, health and living conditions, transport and communications, education and culture, to ecclesiastical matters, trade, industry, agriculture, migration, magistrates, civil disturbances, vagrancy, care of lunatics, workhouses and so on. The parliamentary papers influenced public opinion and social and political thought. They were produced not as historical records of the workings of government but rather as actual working documents which were used for communication information on a very broad range of issues to the legislative branch of government (houses of parliament) and to the electorate. In spite of their acknowledged limitations, parliamentary papers contain a great deal of detailed material concerning Britain and Ireland. For most local historians, it is reports of committees, reports of select committees, royal commission reports, and annual reports and statistical series which are of greatest value [See Documents 5.39-5.43 for examples]. If you would like to learn more about the organisation of British parliamentary papers, T.P. ONeills British parliamentary papers Shannon: Irish university Press, 1968 provides a very accessible introduction. The National Library of Ireland is the most accessible repository in which you may consult the most substantial collection of British parliamentary papers in this country. It is very useful to begin researching parliamentary papers by firstly consulting the bibliographies of other historians works since many contain extensive lists of parliamentary papers consulted in researching the studies in question. These will provide you with a means of circumventing the slow process of searching through guides and catalogues. Clearly when embarking on research on such an enormous collection, only part of which refers to Ireland, you need to use some of the many guides available in order to minimise time wastage and frustration. A useful starting point may be the General index to the reports of select committees, 18011852 (London, 1853) and there are several useful guides to parliamentary papers [Document 5.44]. Peter Cocktons guides are the standard finding aids used by historians. These provide a thematic index to the collection and they are organised in four

PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS

CONSULTATION

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categories government and public order; agriculture and the land; trade, industry and transport; legal and social administration, education, health and religious affairs. In his guide to the Chadwyck-Healey microfiche edition of the parliamentary papers, Cockton cites the title of the papers and follows with a full reference including the parliamentary session, the paper number in the bound set of papers, the volume number and page number. The reference number for the microfiche collection follows the box symbol. Every House of Commons parliamentary paper found in the bound set is listed in Cocktons guide. Since the vast majority of matters concerning Ireland were dealt with in the House of Commons, Cocktons guide covers virtually all relevant material. The procedure therefore involves five stages: . Locate Cocktons subject catalogue in a university library or in the National Library. Find the relevant heading in the table of contents. Go to the page listed. There you will find all of the references to parliamentary papers concerning your chosen topic. Having identified particular papers which are directly relevant to your work, you note down all details and include all of these in filling out your docket requesting to consult the papers in the National Library.

. . .

Alternatively, you may consult Cocktons guide to the Chadwyck-Healey microfiche edition of the parliamentary papers in which case you: . Locate the guide in a university library or in the National Library. You find the relevant heading in the table of contents . Go to the page listed. Note down all details of relevant entries [Document 5.45]. Include all details when requesting microfiche copies in the National Library.

. . . .

Study the sample entry in Document 5.45. This provides you with a break-down of each individual element in a parliamentary paper reference. Each of those constituent elements must be included in your references to parliamentary papers which you have consulted.

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Parliamentary papers do not have authors or titles in the commonly accepted sense. It is therefore essential that references to parliamentary papers follow the standard format in order that your readers will be able to interpret your references. Footnote/endnote referencing When citing a parliamentary paper [Document 5.46] in footnotes/endnotes, you may use an abbreviated title, followed by a reference presented in the format shown in sample entry in Document 5.45. Example: Committee on outrages (Ireland), H.C. 1852 (438) xiv 14. Note: . . The title of the paper is in italics. While Cockton cites the volume number in roman capitals, it is preferable to use lower case roman numerals in footnotes/ endnotes/ bibliography. Even though Cockton does not include H.C. (House of Commons) in his references, you should do in the case of all references except when referring to House of Lords papers in which case you refer to H.L.

LOCATING AND CITING PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS

You may enter the microfiche number if you consulted the parliamentary paper in microfiche format. Bibliographical referencing When citing a parliamentary paper in a bibliography of primary sources the page number(s) should be omitted: otherwise the information should be presented in the standard manner but using the full title. Similar details are required in the case of Dil debates. Example: Report from the select committee on outrages (Ireland) together with the proceedings of the committee, minutes of evidence, appendix and index, H.C. 1852 (438) xiv. While being an immensely rich source of detailed information on life in Ireland, particularly in the period 1800-1921, parliamentary papers are not the objective analyses of the facts that we might like to hope they were. Often committees or commissions were appointed to make recommendations which a particular government wanted to hear. Also, appointments of chairmen and secretaries to these committees and commissions were political appointments which had clear ramifications in terms of the accuracy and relative objectivity of the reports. Moreover, in selecting their principal witnesses for interview within each locality, these committee members and commissioners chose members of the lite gentlemen, clergy, policemen and so on (remember the individuals selected in the case of Longford mentioned in OFerralls essay). This selectivity necessary imported a bias into the reports which they ultimately

ASSESSMENT

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presented to the houses of parliament. Often these reports contained written submissions from pressure groups whose leaders were sometimes drawn from the inner circle of influential individuals with government contacts. All of these reservations ought to be borne in mind when using this collection for researching the history of a local community. In this unit we have examined several of the principal nineteenthcentury sources used widely by Irish local historians. In the next unit we will examine further collections of primary source material which examine complementary topics. We have investigated a wide range of sources for studying the Famine in local context and in doing so, we have discovered that there are many possibilities open to us for pursuing imaginative, original research if we approach our topic and our sources in an alternative manner. Adams, J.R.R. 1983 The use of newspapers as an historical source, Ulster Local Studies, vii, no. 2, pp 10-14. Begley, D. F. (ed.) 1981 Irish genealogy: a record finder Dublin: Heraldic Artists Ltd. Bourke, P.M. 1965 The agricultural statistics of the 1841 census of Ireland: a critical view, Economic History Review, 2nd series pp. 376-91. Braham, P. (ed.) Using the past: audio-cassettes on sources and methods for family and community historians (Audio-cassette 2A ) Milton Keynes: The Open University. Carty, James 1940 Bibliography of Irish History, 1870-1911 Dublin: Stationary Office for the Department of Education. Casey, Albert Eugene and Dowling, Eugene P. (eds) OKeif, Coshe Mang. vol i (1952) - In progress. Cockton, Peter 1988 Subject catalogue of the House of Commons parliamentary papers, 1801-1900. 5 vols. Cambridge: ChadwyckHealey. Cockton, Peter 1991 House of Commons parliamentary papers, 1801-1900: a guide to the Chadwyck-Healey microfiche edition. Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey. Collins, Brenda 1993 The analysis of census returns: the 1901 census of Ireland Ulster Local Studies, xv, no. 1, pp 38-46. Collins, Brenda and Pryce, W.T.R. 1993 Census returns in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Audio-cassette 2A in Braham, P. (ed.) Using the past: audio-cassettes on sources and methods for family and community historians Milton Keynes: The Open University. Cosgrave, Marianne, Lohan, Rena and Quinlan, Tom 1995 Sources in the National Archives for researching the great famine, Irish Archives, ii, no. 1, pp. 24-44.

REVIEW

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Cosgrave, Marianne 1995 Sources in the National Archives for researching the great famine: the Relief Commission papers, Irish Archives, ii, no. 2 pp. 3-12. Crawford, Margaret 1994 The Great Irish Famine, 1845-9: image versus reality In Gillespie, Raymond and Kennedy, B.P. (ed.) Ireland: art into history. Dublin and Niwot, Colorado: Town House and Roberts Rinehart Publishers, pp. 75-88. Crawford, Margaret. Counting the People. Dublin, 2003. Drake, Michael 1994 Sources and methods: a handbook Milton Keynes: The Open University Press. Evans, Edward 1897 Historical and bibliographical account of almanacks, directories etc. in Ireland from the sixteenth century Dublin: Office of The Irish Builder. Eirksson, Andrs and Grda 1995 Estate records of the Irish famine: a second guide to famine archives, 1840-1855 Dublin: Irish Famine Network. Farrar, Henry (ed.) 1889 Irish marriages: being an index to the marriages in Walkers Hibernian Magazine 1772-1812 2 vols (privately published). ffolliott, Rosemary 1987 Irish census returns and census substitutes in Begley, Donal (ed.) 1981 Irish genealogy: a record finder Dublin: Heraldic Artists Ltd pp. 51-74. ffolliott, Rosemary 1981 Newspapers as a genealogical source in Begley, Donal (ed.) 1981 Irish genealogy: a record finder Dublin: Heraldic Artists Ltd pp. 117-38. ffolliott, Rosemary and Donal F. Begley, Guides to Irish directories in Begley, D. F. (ed.) 1981 Irish genealogy: a record finder Dublin: Heraldic Artists Ltd pp. 75-106. Fordham, H.G. 1923 The road books and itineraries of Ireland, 1647-1850: a catalogue Bibliographical Society of Ireland publications, ii , no. 4, pp. 63-76. Froggat, Peter 1965 The census in Ireland of 1813-15, Irish Historical Studies, xiv, no. 55, pp. 227-35. Grenham, John 1992 Tracing your Irish Ancestors Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. Hadfield, Andrew and MacVeagh, John (ed.) 1994 Strangers to that land: British perceptions of Ireland from the Reformation to the Famine Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe Ltd. Hepburn, Anthony and Collins, Brenda 1981 Industrial society: the structure of Belfast, 1901 in Roebuck, Peter (ed.) Plantation to partition: essays in Ulster history in honour of J.L. McCracken Belfast pp. 210-28.

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Hillan King, Sophia 1997 The conditions of our people: William Carleton and the social issues of the mid-1840s in Crawford, E. Margaret (ed.) The hungry stream: essays on emigration and famine. The Institute of Irish Studies, The Queens University of Belfast, and the Centre for Emigration Studies, Ulster-American Folk Park, pp. 175-83. Keen, M.E. 1979 A bibliography of trade directories of the British Isles London:Victoria and Albert Museum. Lindsay, Deirdre and Fitzpatrick, David 1993 Records of the Irish famine: a guide to local archives, 1840-1855 Dublin, Irish Famine Network. Lohan, Rena 1994 Guide to the archives of the O.P.W. Dublin: Stationary Office. Macourt, Malcom. The religion's inquiry in the Irish Census of 1861. In Irish Historical Studies, xxi (1977-8), pp 168-87. McVeagh, John 1996 Irish travel writings: a bibliography Dublin: Wolfhound Press. Munter, R.L. 1960 A hand-list of Irish newspapers, 1685-1750 London: Bowes and Bowes. North, J.S. 1986 The Waterloo directory of Irish newspapers and periodicals, 1800-1900 Waterloo, Ont.: North Waterloo Academic Press. ONeill , T.P. 1968 British parliamentary papers Shannon: Irish university Press. OToole, James 1992 Newsplan Dublin: National Library of Ireland. Pirtir, Cathal 1995 Famine echoes Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. Royle, S.A. 1978 Irish Manuscript census records: a neglected source of information, Irish Geography, xi, pp. 110-25. TeBrake, Janet K. 1995 Personal narratives as historical sources: the journal of Elizabeth Smith, 1840-1850 in History Ireland pp. 51-55.

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SAQ 1
Q. Study Form A: Census of Ireland, 1911 [Document 5.2]. What can you deduce regarding the composition of the household? (Note especially places of origin and religion) It was a well-staffed household for a small family having in all nine domestic staff, one butler, two footmen, one cook and five servants. You may have observed that Hugh Bartons wife was born in India which might appear novel but remember that she would have been born in the nineteenth century and perhaps her parents were involved in the government of India or in business there. Notice that Rosabelle Sinclair was a member of the Church of Ireland but was born in France. Perhaps she was an acquaintance from the Barton familys business interest in the wine trade, they being partners of Guestiers. Notice the hierarchy within the ranks of the servants. The butler was Church of England, married and a native of England whereas the hall boy was Church of Ireland, single and from Dublin city. Similarly the housekeeper was Church of England and a native of England while the rest of the female servants were Church of Ireland and natives of Ireland. A very striking feature of the household is that all members and visitors were either Church of England or Church of Ireland. We get an insight into the age profile of the family and of the staff, all of whom were young. It is also interesting to observe that no member of the household had any competence in the Irish language. We can also assume that their other two children are away, perhaps at school since their three children are alive but only their daughter is recorded as resident on the evening of the census. All members of the household are literate except the Bartons daughter who is only an infant. The description of the Bartons as having no occupation must be viewed with some envy by the modern reader!

ANSWERS TO SAQS

SAQ 2
Q. Can you think of some likely pitfalls in using census material? The following may be among the points which you have noted: . We have to contend with changing boundaries of parishes, county and urban districts or District Electoral Divisions over time. This can complicate our study of population trends, sizes of landholdings and so on. If overlooked, it can also lead to inaccurate conclusions being drawn regarding emigration or death rates since people who were formerly recorded as resident in one townland in 1841 may not have died or emigrated but may simply have been recorded in another townland in 1851 owing to boundary changes in the interim. Changes took place in the manner in which data was collected and presented and this complicates our attempts to study one aspect of a communitys life (demography, employment, education) over time.

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Institutional populations complicate our study of a local community over time. In the case of Newbridge town in County Kildare or Athlone town in County Roscommon, garrisons of soldiers greatly inflated local population figures and they also skewed the gender profile of that population, even though the troops were a separate entity from the local community. This problem also arises in areas with a hospital, boarding schools, workhouse or prison. Returns for these institutions should be removed from your total statistics before calculating the mean household size or house occupancy rates for your chosen locality. Certain townlands may not be included in the census reports in which case you are best advised to turn your attention to the next largest administrative unit in which your chosen townland is located. The entry for a townland may be split, in which case you need to follow the instructions for locating the rest of the information. These are provided at the foot of the relevant page [Document 5.10]. It is important that we be sceptical regarding recorded ages in the census returns for 1901 and 1911 since many people did not know their exact age. The need for such vigilance is illustrated by the fact that according to the census, there are cases of people who age by twenty years over the period 1901 to 1911! There are ambiguities surrounding some of the terms used in the census returns, notably the term servant. This terms appears both in the Relation to Head of Family column and in the Rank, Profession, or Occupation column. This can lead to confusion when totalling the number of servants in the household since those servants listed in the Relation column were relatives of the family either by blood or marriage. The term scholar should not be understood in a grandiose manner: it is simply used to describe a child or young person who is at school. Lastly, there is the basic problem of human error or wilful concealment of information and we should therefore try to cross-check our information with other contemporary sources in an effort to minimise our margin of error of interpretation. While you will need some quantitative analysis techniques in analysing census material, you should only use calculation procedures in which you are competent. Straightforward statistical analysis is preferable to elaborate statistical calculations which ignore deficiencies or distorting elements in the data. If you wish to incorporate some degree of statistical analysis into your work, see Unit 8 for a brief discussion and a list of useful readings.

Unit 5: Documentary Sources for Local History (Part 2)

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SAQ 3
Q. For what purpose do you think you might use directories in your research and what might some of their limitations as historical sources be? Given that we have no census returns for most areas for the nineteenth century, these directories provide us with an invaluable substitute source, mainly for the skilled, professional, retailer, gentry and aristocratic elements in society. By virtue of the wealth of their detail, these directories provide vital information regarding the names and occupations of town inhabitants and those of notables in their hinterland. They are therefore particularly valuable to the family historian. Secondly, by comparing accounts of an area in a succession of these directories over a period of fifty or 100 years, we can trace trends of increasing urbanisation, diversification in skilled labour, continuity in property ownership or in the practice of a particular profession. It is also possible to identify improvements in transportation, evidence of a rising population, expansion of the gentry, disappearance of some trades, and so on. In the case of professional directories, it is possible to gain a deep insight into clerical and lay activity within a specific parish or diocese by consulting even one volume of a clerical directory.

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History 6

SAQ 4
Q. Read the entry concerning Straffan village taken from Lewiss Topographical dictionary, ii. What information would you regard as reliable and what information might you have reservations about on the grounds of its accuracy? The following details regarding the village may be regarded as reliable: . . . . . . Details of its location Use of land (tillage and pasture) Soil quality Grand Canal passing nearby Names and seats of local notables Statement that Mrs Whitelaw had the right to nominate a clergyman for the rectory Amount of tithes and arrangements for their division Details of ecclesiastical divisions Observation that day and Sunday schools were held and that there were three other schools

. . .

We might have reservations, however, about the following elements in Lewiss entry: . The number of acres in the parish. Given that this was measured under the tithe act, it is likely to be reasonably accurate. However, it was not until the Primary Valuation or Griffiths Valuation of Ireland from the 1850s onwards that uniform and accurate measurement of landholdings took place. Also Lewiss Topographical dictionary predates the work of the Ordnance Survey, the first O.S. maps only appearing in the late 1830s and this must also raise questions regarding the exactness of this measurement of the acreage of the parish of Straffan. The estimation of the number of children attending the two private schools. This fluctuated enormously in all schools throughout Ireland and the difference between the number of children on the roll and the number actually attending school in this period is acknowledged to be very considerable.

Unit 5: Documentary Sources for Local History (Part 2)

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SAQ 5
Q. If you were given this extract on Straffan village taken from Samuel Lewiss Topographical Dictionary and asked to identify avenues for further research based on this piece, what channels might you pursue? You do not have to specify the names of actual sources: rather, just try to think of some types of sources which you might consult further to your reading of the extract. . He refers to tithes and tithe applotment so you might look up tithe records (Tithe Applotment books) and also records relating to the Church of Irelands administration. In this way you will find out more about the churchs collection of its tithe dues and you will learn more about church lands, clerical income, rights of nomination of clerics and so on. He refers to the Grand Canal and the Royal Canals passing nearby. Perhaps you could consult the records relating to the construction and running of the canals. Plans for the construction of the canals would have had to have been approved in parliament and so you could consult the parliamentary papers. You could also check for surviving records relating to barges, commodities transported, timetables, and so on in transport archives. Newspapers would also prove valuable in this respect. He lists the names and residences of the main notables in the area. These would have held land and so you could work through landed estate records, land valuations, tithe records, deeds, wills, newspapers, estate maps, family correspondence, architectural designs and photograph collections and so in order to create a detailed profile of each of these individuals and to assess their relationship with the lesser ranks of the local population. He refers to there being a Roman Catholic chapel in the village and that this is within the district of Celbridge. Perhaps there are records relating to this chapel and to parishioners who were christened and married in the chapel. The fact that it is a chapel and that it has ties with Celbridge may mean that you might have to investigate the records in Celbridge. There may also be details of the cost of maintaining the chapel, expenditure on bread and wine, vestments and so on, all of which would help you to form a more detailed impression of the chapel and its parishioners. Lewis mentions the existence of schools in the village. Perhaps the school is still in existence on the records and rolls of the school have survived. These can provide invaluble evidence an educational opportunities, curriculums, and attendence figures which can allow us to judge like literacy levels and so on.

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History 6

SAQ 6
Q. Read the extract from the County Wicklow Survey (Document 5.22). What, in your view, are the merits and limitations of this extract as a source for the study of Wicklow society at the turn of the century? Among the merits which you might have thought of may be: . The detail concerning the mechanics of agriculture in the pre-Famine era is very valuable. The author is clearly a person with very considerable expertise in agricultural practices and is therefore a competent and reliable commentator.

With respect to limitations, you may have identified the following points: . Firstly, the information is not presented in a very scientific manner with no details regarding farm acreage being provided. Secondly, the extract is mainly concerned with farmers who had a relatively large holding and so the landless in the locality are very marginal in terms of coverage. Thirdly, although it is not detrimental to the account, the author has a discernible agenda underpinning his account, namely to promote industriousness and the improvement of farming. We must therefore ask whether he and his counterparts tended to select farmers who displayed signs of similar commitment to implementing improvements.

Unit 5: Documentary Sources for Local History (Part 2)

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SAQ 7
Q. Read the extract from Heads A fortnight in Ireland, pp 227-29. Do so slowly, consciously observing the interaction between Head and those whom he interviewed. Take particular notice of the language used in the answers given by the local police. Consider why Head especially may have been treated as he was by the police. Try to think about whether other visitors may have been treated in a similar manner upon their arrival in local communities. The following may be included among the points which you may have noted: . Head, a complete stranger to Galway, had just arrived and is persistently inquiring about a very sensitive subject in nineteenth-century rural Ireland. Nobody knew exactly who he was or what organisation he may have belonged to. Not surprisingly, the responses which he received were wary. The verbal juggling engaged in by all four members of the police force, ranging from constable to sub-inspector to sergeant is undoubtedly contrived to confuse and baffle the traveller and to render their responses as non-committal and therefore inoffensive to the local people as possible. Some of the language used by the local constabulary indicates a certain defensiveness and a wish to put forward the best side of the local community. This is evident in the constables answer Particularly so (p. 227) and also in the subinspectors tone when he replies Not only have I never known of such a case [of illegitimacy], but I have never heard any person attribute such a case to the fisherwomen of Claddagh (p. 228). It is also manifest in the sergeants rebuttal of Heads question regarding the clothing worn by the people of Claddagh wherein he describes how neat and clean the people are on Sundays. The sergeants emphasising that while there were cases of illegitimacy in Galway town, no such cases occurred in Claddagh also points to this defensive stance. Such statements must in some part be explained in terms of parochial pride. While the subinspectors remarks regarding the absence of illegitimacy in Claddagh may indeed be absolutely true, the fact that he is being questioned about an area in which he had only been living for the past six months and in which he was presumably trying to settle may be a significant determinant in shaping his responses about that community. The use of qualifications such as only one that I know, of my own knowledge are tactically employed by the constabulary to assist them in evading the question asked them by Head. Notice also how the sub-inspector tries to re-direct the conversation in order to divert Heads attention away from the topic of illegitimacy (p. 228).

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History 6

SAQ 8
Q. In your opinion what are the main merits and limitations of travellers accounts as an historical source? Merits The following you may have included in your list of merits: . . Travellers accounts are primary sources. They are eyewitness accounts of events and the inhabitants of localities visited. They are written by overseas visitors which offers an outsiders perspective on Ireland and the Irish. Often, they are written by well educated commentators, for example de Tocqueville. They contain a very eclectic set of observations on aspects of life in Ireland which particularly drew the individual authors attention. They can provide evocative images of aspects of life for the poorer elements in Irish society, though their reliability is often questionable.

Limitations You may have identified the following among your list of limitations of travellers accounts: . They were written by strangers to Ireland. These visitors often came to Ireland for a short period of time, some of them staying for only two weeks. Given that they travelled long distances and since transport was relatively slow, they had little opportunity to spend much time in any one place. As a result we are presented with vignettes on specific aspects of life as they saw it in the various locations which they visited. Their acquaintance with the places which they visited and their inhabitants was therefore in most cases extremely short-term and necessarily superficial. Secondly, many of these visitors set out definite routes for their itinerary, going to and from the houses of the gentry. As such they were readily identified with the upper classes and therefore treated accordingly by members of the lower social orders. This generally meant that they were treated with deference. However, it is also likely to have resulted in the local population consciously putting forward an image of themselves and concealing from view any aspects of their lives such as poaching or crime which they did not want the visitor or the landlord to find out about. The example of Heads queries regarding illegitimacy provides a clear illustration of this point.

Unit 5: Documentary Sources for Local History (Part 2)

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Often they were written by commentators who had an interest in the whole question of how to improve the lot of the Irish peasantry. In many of these accounts you will find a chapter towards the end which is devoted to a discourse on how, in the authors opinion, the plight of the Irish poor might be alleviated. In a great many cases, these writers show a distinct tendency to present a stereotypical view of the lower orders of Irish society. The following extract form John Carrs The stranger in Ireland or, a tour in the southern and western parts of that country, in the year 1805 London, 1806, pp 151-52, provides an example of one of the more benevolent accounts written about the poorer classes in Ireland. The peasant and his wife were tolerably well dressed; and their children, of which every cabin had a bountiful quota, looked fat, fresh, and ruddy. Here, as in every part of Ireland which I visited, a dog was almost always one of the inmates of every cabin An Irish cabin, in general, is like a little antediluvian ark; for husband, wife, and children, cow and calf, pigs, poultry, dog, and frequently cat, repose under the same roof in perfect amity Insufficiency of provision, which operates so powerfully against marriage in England, is not known or cared about in Ireland; there the want of an establishment never affects the brain of the enamoured rustic. Love lingers only until he can find out a dry bank, pick a few sticks, collect some furze and fern, knead a little mud with straw, and raise a hut about six feet high, with a door to let in light and let out smoke; these accomplished, the happy pair, united by their priest, enter their sylvan dwelling, and a rapid race of chubby boys and girls, soon proves by what scanty means life can be sustained and imparted.

Since virtually all of these visitors were members of the gentry or aristocracy, they are likely to have been shielded from regular direct exposure to the poverty of the lower classes in their home country. Thus, for many, their personal encounters with the lower classes in Ireland was their first prolonged exposure to the horrors of poverty. This evinced a strong and often negative reaction against the Irish who were viewed as particularly depraved and destitute although their English or French counterparts might well have lived in similar circumstances or worse. Some of these writers may not have been particularly astute or reliable commentators and consequently we are forced to bear with their limitations as reporters of events. Since the account was to be published upon the visitors return home, it is also possible that he or she tailored some of his or her observations to suit the intended readership and that necessarily involved some distortion of the work.

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History 6

Also the image of the poorer elements in Irish society was to some degree pre-determined by virtue of the situations sought out by the visitor in which he or she could observe them. Many for example attended court session in which the Irish were naturally bound to appear in a bad light. Madame de Bovet visited a public house in Dublin on a Saturday night which she described as being poisoned by alcoholic vapours, thick with tobacco smoke, and reeking with the exhalations of foul humanity (Madame de Bovet. Three months tour in Ireland. Transl. By Mrs Arthur Walter London, 1891, p. 4). On that basis she formed an impression of the Irish as being excessively given to drinking. Many also interview the police, inquiring about the instance of crime in an area and several of these visitors reside in the house of the local gentleman and thus see the local population through his eyes. Thus the provenance of their information can serve predetermine the conclusions drawn by these visitors in terms of their impressions of the Irish [See Illustration 5.2]. Most commentators had agendas, some of which were more explicit than others. Many English visitors showed their support for the British Establishment in Ireland by singling out key institutions to visit in the course of their sojourn. Many, for example, visit schools, police stations, courts, charitable institutions, the houses of landowners and also churches. Each of these were agencies for exercising control in Ireland and thus the writers opinions of the Irish complied with their fundamental belief in the legitimacy of the role of these institutions. Any commentators viewed their own class, the middle class or gentry, as the agents for potential social amelioration in Ireland. The enthusiasm with which they discussed local enterprises and the pathos of their descriptions of the poor can be seen as products of this middle-class mentality and it must be remembered that these descriptions were serving to fuel the basic agenda of their accounts. Consequently, these descriptions should be treated by the historian in a circumspect manner.

Unit 5: Documentary Sources for Local History (Part 2)

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