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Proformat News
No: 77
July 2012
July seminars
5: Heritage Walk—Port Adelaide heritage precinct with refreshments @ the Port Dock Hotel (inc bus from Art Gallery to venue), Art Gallery of South Australia 10:00am to 1:00pm
28: Accessing the primary research stream — the family, Flinders University of SA 9:15am to 4:45pm

August seminars
1: Pitfalls in family history, Mt Barker Library 2:30 to 5:30pm
11: Accessing the secondary research stream — the paper trail, Flinders University of SA 9:15am to 4:45pm
25: Interpreting the Record, Flinders University of SA 9:15am to 4:45pm

See the seminar program for more details and bookings.

Factors making Irish ancestry difficult to trace
Unfortunately, researching in Ireland is probably the most difficult exercise most Australian family historians will encounter. A range of issues has led to the destruction of much of the more useful and accessible material. On top of this, there is little available outside the country and records within the country are very expensive to access. There are also a range of concerns about some of the Heritage Centres and personal experience of the writer is very much buyer beware!

When embarking on any new field of research one should spend some time understanding the background as often that will reveal why certain records were taken, whether they survive and where they might be found. In the case of Ireland, an understanding of some history, county structure is useful.

England and religion has played a significant part and that mix has not been helped by the differences in religion between the peoples of the two countries.

• Ireland was officially annexed to England from 1541.
• Ireland was administered along the lines of the English model.

In this issue:
July seminars
August seminars

Feature article
Factors making Irish ancestry difficult to trace


Graham Jaunay
Adelaide Proformat

Glandore SA 5037

Tel: +61 8 8371 4465

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• The English system overlaid a parallel ancient Irish one.
• Regardless of the attempts to Anglicise the people, they remained Irish.
• The administration added another dimension in the form of relocating people from the mainland who subscribed to the English ideals.

In 1801 Ireland officially joined with England, Scotland and Wales to become part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1921, after years of unrest, Ireland was divided in two. The bulk of the island became the Irish Free State, later the Republic of Ireland.

Six counties of the northern province of Ulster continued to be part of the United Kingdom and became known as Northern Ireland—often confusingly referred to as Ulster.

This map outlines the provinces including Northern Ireland and the counties with their Chapman Codes.

Connaught; Leinster; Munster; Ulster

Antrim ANT, Armagh AR,M Carlow CAR, Clare CLA, Cork COR, Donegal DO,N Down DOW, Dublin DUB, Fermanagh FER, Galway GAL, Kerry KER, Kildare KID, Kilkenny KIK, Londonderry LDY, Leitrim LET, Leix LEX, Limerick LIM, Longford LOG, Louth LOU, Mayo MAY, Meath MEA, Monaghan MOG, Offaly OFF, Roscommon ROS, Sligo SLI , Tipperary TIP, Tyrone TY,R Waterford WAT, Westmeath WEM, Wexford WEX, Wicklow WIC.


The following major events affected Irish church history and therefore the location and access of the records:
• 1560—the Church of Ireland (Anglican Church) became the state church.
• 1605 to 1609—the Plantation of Ulster was started and Presbyterians from SCT were sent to Ulster to displace Catholics and to strengthen English rule.
• 1619—the earliest Church of Ireland parish register (St John Dublin) starts.
• 1634—a law was passed requiring that The Church of Ireland registers be kept.
• 1637—Presbyterian worship was suppressed.
• 1674—the oldest known Presbyterian register (Antrim) was begun.
• 1695 to 1728—Penal Laws against Catholics were in force: clergy were banished; parish registers forbidden; Catholics were deprived of property ownership, offices and the vote.
• 1719—Toleration Act protecting Protestant dissenters passed.
• 1726—Non-conforming Presbyterians separated to form the Presbytery of Antrim.
• 1747—Methodist movement began.
• 1750s—Some Catholic registers in urban parishes begun and many Church of Ireland registers start.
• 1772 to 1795—Catholic Relief Acts gradually restore rights taken by Penal Laws.
• 1782—marriages performed by Presbyterian ministers validated.
• 1816—Methodists break into two: Primitive and Wesleyan.
• 1819—Presbyterian Church require ministers to keep records.
• 1829—Catholics free to practise without legal persecution.
• 1869—Church of Ireland ceased to be recognized as the state church.
• 1876—Church of Ireland registers to be stored in the Public Record Office, Dublin.
• 1878—Church of Ireland ministers with suitable storage facilities able to retain records. Methodists reunite.
• 1922—Public Record Office, Dublin burned, destroying many Church of Ireland parish records and other documents including Censuses. (Parish records in the east wing, A-C, survived and many, many parishes had copies in local custody.)
Traditionally in Ireland the lands belonged to the whole clan or community but that  was of little consequence to the English who according to English law/custom land should be managed by a local lord. English began to attract colonists from England, Scotland and Wales by offering cheap lands using the same process, called plantations, employed in North America displacing the local inhabitants.

Pictured: Castlecooley in Donegal part of the Earl of Londonderry's estates and the local lords were the Cunninghams from Ayrshire in Scotland.

The most affected region was Ulster as shown in the following map, where the local Irish were excluded from towns built by colonists resulting in a province containing pockets of Protestants and others of Irish Catholics.

The dependence of the Irish upon the potato that could be grown in small plots in quantities to feed many and did not detract from the payments due the landlord for cash crops brought great hardship when the crops successively failed in the 1840s. The era was not helped by an economic re-alignment, changes in agricultural technology and the rise of industry. A great wave of migration was the only alternative to starvation.

To be continued in a later edition.
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