ISSN 1443-5888 Volume 8, No. 9, September 2006.

A Monthly Newsletter: Editor: Terry Eakin, 334 Burns Bay Road, LANE COVE, NSW 2066 Contact E-mail address:

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ISSN 1443-5888 Volume 8, No. 9, September 2006.

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A Monthly Newsletter: Editor: Terry Eakin, 334 Burns Bay Road, LANE COVE, NSW 2066
Contact E-mail address:
ISSN 1443-5888 Volume 8, No. 9, September 2006.
Introduction: ÔÇÿAll Ireland SourcesÔÇÖ is a monthly newsletter distributed free by E-mail to Family History Societies and
interested researchers near the end of each month. Distribution by Australia Post each three months (three issues) costs
$6.00 annually within Australia. The aim is to bring items of interest regarding Irish record sources to the Australian
genealogist. The editor would appreciate being made aware of records relating to the Irish, particularly those held in
Australia or new in the LDS Family History Library. Back copies available free for downloading from
Note new email address.
The administrative districts of Ireland are not well understood by family historians so I include a precise summary which
you can print for your personal notes for use during Irish research.

PROVINCE: Ireland is divided into four Provinces as follows:
MUNSTER - Six Counties,
LEINSTER - Twelve Counties,
CONNAUGHT - Five Counties
ULSTER - Nine Counties.

Munster: Counties Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford.

Leinster: Counties Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois (aka Leix) formerly
Queen's, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly formerly King's, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow.

Connaught: Counties Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo.

Ulster: Counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry (aka Derry), Tyrone, Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan.
Note: Of the nine counties in the Province of Ulster, only six are now in Northern
Ireland having transferred on 1 January 1922. Counties Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan,
whilst part of the Republic of Ireland, remain in the Province of Ulster. Records from these
three counties can be found in either Belfast or Dublin, but generally in both.
All civil registrations prior to 1922 are in Dublin. The civil registrations since
1 January 1922 for the six counties of Northern Ireland are in Belfast, and the Registrar-
General, Belfast has copies of births and deaths from 1864-1922 with their own indexes
which are different to the original indexes in Dublin. Marriages only commence in 1922.

COUNTY: The county is the major administrative division of land and is an autonomous
unit for many administrative purposes. For example in the Province of Munster there are six
counties. County Kerry is adjacent to two other counties, namely Cork in the South and
Limerick in the North. County Clare is just across the River Shannon. Some counties are
landlocked, for example county Tyrone in Ulster is surrounded by counties Donegal, Derry,
Armagh, Monaghan and Fermanagh. Only 18 of the 32 counties have a border directly to the
ocean. Some others have access by river.

BARONY: The baronies, 327 in all, correspond to divisions of great antiquity based on
the Gaelic clan and family holdings. The barony can spread across two counties, and is then
a half-barony in each county. The barony occurs in older records but now it has little
administrative significance. The various valuations of Ireland carried out in the 19th century
were organised and published by barony. It ceased to be used in 1898 when the Poor Law
Union was used for local government administration including civil registration.
All baronies are listed in A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland, (1986) by Brian
Mitchell. A copy is available in most libraries. Each county has many baronies. For
example county Kerry has nine baronies:
Dunkerron North
Dunkerron South

POOR LAW UNION: The Poor Law Relief Act of 1838 was introduced to alleviate
the severe distress of the poor in Ireland. The English System was applied to Ireland. The
whole country was divided into Poor Law Unions, for the purpose of administering relief to
the poor. Eventually, 163 Poor Law Unions were formed.
Each Union, centred on a single town, was sub-divided further into Electoral
Divisions, the names of which are listed in the book General Alphabetical Index to the
Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland. This book was compiled from
information in the Census of Ireland 1851, this census having been lost in the 1922 Four
Courts fire. It was republished in 1986 by the Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore
USA and the book is still in print.
Poor Law Union boundaries are in current use today for civil registration of births,
marriages and deaths and the continuing valuation records for the levying of rates on land.
Since the Local Government Act of 1898, the Poor Law Union has replaced the Civil Parish
and Barony as the basic administrative division. Records prior to 1898 are arranged in
baronies and parishes.

CIVIL PARISH: The Civil Parish is the key to finding your ancestors in records
before 1898 as most record categories used this geographical division. An unusual feature of
the civil parish is that several unconnected areas of land many miles apart may be part of the
same civil parish. Civil parishes may cross county boundaries; for example, Kilcastan and
Nohovaldaly are partly in Co. Cork and partly in Co. Kerry. There are 87 civil parishes in
Co. Kerry. All civil parishes are listed in the publication General Alphabetical Index to the
Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland on pages 905-957.

TOWNLAND: The townland is the smallest administrative unit of land and
varies in size from less than an acre to several thousand acres. It is the basic address used by
rural Irish people. Each civil parish is made up of a number of townlands. A town or village
might comprise parts of a number of different townlands. The standard reference work
General Alphabetical Index to Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland first
published by Thom, Dublin 1851 was reprinted by the Genealogical Publishing Company,
Baltimore USA in 1986. This book is based on the places listed in the 1851 census of Ireland
and is a wonderful tool for locating and verifying place names.
In researching place names (townlands) it is useful to remember that people habitually
abbreviate the names of places in their local area. For example county Kerry people will
frequently refer to their local market town of ÔÇ£LongfordÔÇØ or ÔÇ£DorneyÔÇØ or ÔÇ£CiveenÔÇØ. Such
abbreviated forms of place names will not be found in topographical sources but if we prefix
these places with the words ÔÇ£BallyÔÇØ, ÔÇ£AbbeyÔÇØ and ÔÇ£CahirÔÇØ respectively then one will find the
places. ÔÇ£BallylongfordÔÇØ, ÔÇ£AbbeydorneyÔÇØ and ÔÇ£CahirciveenÔÇØ can be located on a map of
county Kerry, or in the reference works General Alphabetical Index of Townlands and
Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland.
If on buying a copy of the death certificate of an Irish ancestor, the birthplace in
Ireland is long, short, illegible, unknown to you, or you cannot locate the place in the
reference books, then photocopy the certificate and send the copy with any enquiry you
make. An experienced genealogist in Australia (but especially in Ireland) may recognize the
place name, townland or a corrupted, abbreviated or an incorrectly spelt place name or parish.
This can save a lot of time and money, e.g. Dourles turned out to be Thurles in Co. Tipperary,
confirmed by finding the family five miles away at Holycross and Ballycahill parish.
Sub-denominational townland names are not in the reference publications but were
the local names given to fields, farms, houses and landmarks. They are often found in
official records such as civil registration or on Ordnance Survey maps of Ireland. It is
planned to publish a booklet of these names to help researchers. There are almost 9,500
townlands in the six counties of Northern Ireland. PRONI has collected together all the
townland names and some sub-denominational names and there is free access on the PRONI
web site at

ECCLESIASTICAL DIVISIONS: These are the Diocese for the Church of Ireland and the Catholic Church.
The Church of Ireland Diocese is important as certain records were historically administered by the
Church of Ireland as the established church, e.g. wills and administrations.
The types of Ecclesiastical Divisions are:
ÔÇó CHURCH OF IRELAND (CI) PARISH: In most cases, the CI parish is identical
with the Civil Parish and has the same name.
ÔÇó CATHOLIC PARISH: Unlike CI parishes, most Catholic parishes do not conform to
the boundaries of the civil parish, and will often not have the same name as the civil
parish they comprise. A single Catholic parish may include more than one civil
parish, and one civil parish may cover two or more different Catholic parishes. The
creation of new Catholic parishes in the 19th century means that the registers relevant
to a particular area may be split between two parishes.
ÔÇó CHURCH OF IRELAND DIOCESE: e.g. in county Kerry the Diocese of Ardfert
and Aghadoe is an amalgamation of two ancient dioceses of which Aghadoe
administered the south of county Kerry. Historical records organised by diocese
always include these two dioceses together. The diocese includes most of county
Kerry except for the parish of Kilcaskan in Glenarought barony, which is in the
Diocese of Ross.
ÔÇó CATHOLIC DIOCESE: e.g. in county Kerry the Catholic Diocese of Kerry
includes almost the whole of county Kerry except for a single townland in the parish
of Tarbert (Kilmurrily) and also includes parts of county Cork. Note: Refer to the
table: Counties of Ireland and Their Diocesan Jurisdictions below.

County: Dioceses
Antrim: Connor, Derry, Down, Dromore
Armagh: Armagh, Dromore
Carlow: Leighlin
Cavan: Ardagh, Meath, Kilmore
Clare: Killaloe, Kilfenora, Limerick
Cork: Cork, Ross, Cloyne, Ardfert
Derry: Armagh, Connor, Derry
Donegal: Clogher, Derry, Raphoe
Down: Connor, Down, Dromore
Dublin: Dublin
Fermanagh: Clogher, Kilmore
Galway: Clonfert, Elphin, Killaloe, Tuam
Kerry: Ardfert & Aghadoe
Kildare: Dublin, Kildare
Kilkenny: Leighlin, Ossory
Laois (QueenÔÇÖs): Dublin, Kildare, Leighlin, Ossory
Leitrim: Ardagh, Kilmore
Limerick: Cashel, Emly, Killaloe, Limerick
Longford: Armagh, Meath
Louth: Armagh, Clogher
Mayo: Killala, Achonry, Tuam
Meath: Armagh, Kildare, Kilmore, Meath
Monaghan: Clogher
Offaly (KingÔÇÖs): Clonfert, Kildare, Killaloe, Meath, Ossory
Roscommon: Ardagh, Clonfert, Elphin, Tuam
Sligo: Ardagh, Elphin, Killala
Tipperary: Cashel, Killaloe, Waterford & Lismore
Tyrone: Armagh, Clogher, Derry
Waterford: Waterford & Lismore
Westmeath: Ardagh, Meath
Wexford: Dublin, Ferns
Wicklow: Dublin, Ferns, Leighlin

Parish Vestry Minute Books (Church of Ireland): Sometimes where pre-1870 registers
were destroyed in the 1922 PROI fire, the vestry minute books in local custody, have
survived. For 60 of the 400 parishes in the province of Ulster, these date from before 1800.
Vestry minutes sometimes include records of private baptisms and publication of banns of
marriage (Ardstraw), a census of the whole community in 1802 (Ballintoy, Co. Antrim and
Faughanvale, Co. Derry 1803) or long lists of names of tithe and parish cess payers in the 18th
century (Templemore, county Derry) and Calry Co. Sligo 1772-1807. These vestry minutes
regularly include lists of poor to whom relief was granted. The vestry minute books for most
of the Northern Ireland counties have been filmed and are available in PRONI.
People whose ancestors were Presbyterian or Roman Catholic should not ignore
Church of Ireland registers and vestry minute books as a possible source of information. The
parish vestry was the smallest unit of the local administration and could include dissenters,
and poor relief was given to those in need from all sections of the community regardless of
religion. (Continued volume 8, page 39)

Articles, suggestions and information for this newsletter are welcome and may be E-mailed to:
or posted to Terry Eakin, 334 Burns Bay Road, Lane Cove NSW AUSTRALIA 2066
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