Research Tip of The Week

When an emigrant has left Ireland prior to 1901, we largely think that might be the end of their story in Irish records. However, a few recent searches have shown the usefulness of searching for the emigrant’s parent (s) in the 1901 Census.

My great grandmother, Eliza, (b 1858) took her young family to the US in 1888 taking a large part of my family history to the USA.  What I hadn’t realized how worthwhile it would prove to search for Eliza’s family of origin on the Census.  Remarkably, Eliza’s elderly mother, Ann, was enumerated in both the 1901 and 1911 Census. This supplied me with the following useful clues for this branch of the family:

  • Given that Ann was widowed by 1901, I now had a book end year to search for the death and a possible will for her husband, Mathew.
  • The census entry gave me an approx.  year of birth for Ann, taking the family back to the early part of the 19th century, some twenty years prior to her marriage in the late 1850s, my earliest documented record to date.
  • Ann described herself as a farmer, and as head of the household, which included her adult son, and daughter in law. This tells something of the family dynamic here and that Ann held on to the farm after her son’s marriage.
  • The census entry provided useful information on Eliza’s siblings, which because of her emigration, had been overlooked.
  •  Eliza’s emigration had been prompted by an invitation from her mother’s sister. The census had given an approx. age for  Ann, so  a year of birth could be estimated for Aunt Lucy.   Using this year of birth, I have successfully traced Lucy in American records and learnt a whole lot more about this branch of the family  and have had the pleasure of establishing contact with one of Lucy’s descendants.  All this from the 1901 Census.

 By Expert researcher,

Carmel Gilbride,

carmel gilbride


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