Copyright Alfie O'Brien
A Government census of Ireland was first taken in 1821 and every 10 years thereafter. Census records for 1861 and 1871 were destroyed by Government order later after statistical information had been taken from them. The British Government with the consent of its Irish representative, ordered that the Irish census for the years 1881 and 1891, to be recycled, allegedly because of a shortage of paper during World War 1, and in so doing, they deprived the Irish people of part of our National Heritage.
The census for 1841 and 1851 were spared, because the Government used them to prove the ages of applicants for the Old Age Pension. During the Irish Civil War in 1922, the Republican side took over the Four Courts in Dublin, the repository for the Public Records Office of Ireland. It was bombarded by the Free State side, setting fire to the building and destroying, along with many other valuable records, the census for 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851. Only the statistics survive. The loss of every census for the 19th century with the exception of a few remnants, was a tragedy for the Irish people and their descendants worldwide. It is for this reason that the Irish Government lifted the normal 100 year embargo on census, and opened to the public, the 1901 and 1911 census. These can be seen now on the National Archives website.
A special compilation available on request, provides some details about persons believed to be living in Clonrush parish in 1851, with approximate ages. There were many more persons present in each townland in 1851. Children born before 1846 would comprise many of these. There was mass emigration from Ireland during and after this period. The shipping records together with marriage and death records of Irish immigrants overseas can provide useful information on these.
If you had ancestors from Clonrush (Whitegate, Co. Galway) parish, and you are interested in family genealogy, you may contact me using the contact form on the Links page of this website.