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Using the 1851 Dublin City Census

The index and maps are accessed through a web browser which is probably already on your PC. It requires Internet Explorer version 5.x. If you do not have one of these browsers a copy of Internet Explorer 5.5 is included on the CD.

The 1851 Census and the 1847 Maps are accessed via two different programmes which are explained below:

A. Chart's Index to the Census

The original census records from 1851 were destroyed in the destruction of the Irish Public Record Office in 1922. But prior to this date, Dr. D.A. Chart (pictured below) compiled an index of the heads of households in Dublin City.

Chart's index was designed to help applicants for the old age pension prove their age by finding their entry in the original census. His notes were written into two large books. Below are three examples of what the pages of Chart's Index look like (click on each to see a larger version):

Thankfully Seán Magee has taken the time to decipher these records and publish them with Eneclann!

1. The Home Page

The home page gives the user access to information about the publication, how to use it, technical support, and most importantly the data itself. It also contains a biographical study of Dr. Chart, as well as an analystical study of the index itself

2. The Standard Search

To search the index, users can select three search forms (Standard, Soundex and Expert). The Standard Search Form (above) allows users to search the index for a variety of different types of information, including which side of the river the person lived on (northside/southside). In this example, the user is searching for Ryan from Church Street.

3. Search Results

The search results are displayed as a list at the bottom-right of the screen. Clicking on each name will display the relevant information in the main view area. In this search example there were seven Ryan entries recorded for Church Street. The highlighted example is of a John Ryan, who was a slater, and his wife Jane who lived in No. 58 Church Street

4. What sort of people are recorded
Unlike Thom's Street Directory which only lists rate payers, Chart's 1851 Census Index lists all heads of households. This means that there are far more names listed for the city, and they represent residence rather than ownership. For example, in a sample of 25 streets, Thom's records 396 people, but Chart records 3,335. This is particularly important for the city's extensive tenements, where names are never given in Thom's. In some of the city's parishes, like St. Michan's, there were around 4.5 households living in each house. It is also significant that Chart's Index records that 26.3% of all heads of households were women.

Chart also transcribed a lot of other information from the census to help identify households. He often records the names of wives, and occupations, to distinguish between households. In short there is no other source with this much information about the inhabitants of Dublin in the mid-nineteenth century


B. The 1847 Maps

The maps or town plans of the city are accessed via a different programme, which installs at the same time as the Census Index. It is also accessed via a web browser, and uses an excellent browser plug-in called GrafixView which allows users to look at the map files which are very large and detailed.

These maps were the first edition of the Ordnance Survey's 5 foot to the mile scale of town plans. The city is covered by 33 maps which are detailed down to individual house numbers. These scanned images were kindly provided by the Planning Department of Dublin Corporation.

1. The Index Map

The individual maps are accessed via an index map on the home page of the map programme. Just click on the map you want to see and you will be brought directly to it, as follows:

2. The Map page

In this case the user has chosen Map 28 in the south-east. The user can then zoom in to very high detail. For example the red circle zooms into St. Stephen's Church on Mount Street, as follows:

3. Locating a house from the Index
In our example above we had identified the house of John and Jane Ryan as No. 58 Church Street, a tenament in St. Michan's parish. This is found on Map 13 and looks like this:

A user can now return to the index and try and find out who lived in the same house and in the houses in the neighbourhood.

Return to 1851 Dublin City Census Page