Eighteenth Century Sources

Books of Survey and Distributions c. 1700

The purpose of these books was to establish an official record of landed properties and their estates in order to levy the Quit Rent which was payable annually on lands granted under the Acts of Settlement and Explanation 1666-84. The restoration of the monarchy in England, with Charles II in 1660, meant a redistribution of land in Ireland to royalists who had been dispossessed.

The books list the ownership of land in each barony and parish prior to, and subsequent to, the forfeitures under the Parliamentary Government and William III. The names of the old proprietors, the lands forfeited, the extent profitable and unprofitable, and the areas distributed to the specified new owners are exhibited, column by column, in wide folios.

The proprietors of land circa 1700 are listed.

The manuscripts are available in the National Archives and the National Library of Ireland has on microfilm the records for every county except Meath. Duplicate copies of the Survey have survived, one of these sets, known as the Taylor Books is now in the Royal Irish Academy. The Irish Manuscript Comission has published the Books for Roscommon (1949), Mayo (1956), Galway (1962) and Clare (1967).

Convert Rolls 1704-1839

In order to avoid the legal disabilities imposed by the Penal Law, a number of Catholics renounced their religion for that of the established Church of Ireland. In the majority of cases this was not a sincere renunciation of the Catholic religion, as it was the only legal means whereby a Catholic could obtain basic civil rights. The Convert Rolls, covering the period from 1704 to 1839, in addition to the names, give the address and sometimes the names of parents. The Convert Rolls edited by E. O·Byrne has been published by the Irish Manuscript Commission (1981).

Voters Lists 1727-1793

Voters Lists contain the name and address of those entitled to vote, they do not record the way people voted. These lists cover either parishes or baronies.

From 1727 to 1793 only Protestants with a freehold worth at least forty shillings per year had the vote, from 1793 to 1829 both Protestants and Catholics with forty shilling freeholds had the vote. In 1829 all forty shilling freeholders lost the vote.

What is available is very scattered the Public Records Office in Belfast has records for Ulster.

List of Protestant Householders 1740

This was compiled in 1740. It is a list of Protestant householders in parts of counties Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Donegal and Tyrone. It is arranged by county, barony and parish but not townland, only the names of householders are given.

It is available in the Office of the Chief Herald (G. O. 539) and is typed and indexed. It is also available in the Representative Church Body Library but is not indexed.

Poll Books 1752

Poll Books are the books which recorded the votes cast at parliamentary elections, they contain the name (forty shilling freeholders ) and address of the voter. The Office of the Chief Herald has the books for Armagh (1753) and Westmeath (1761). The Public Records Office Belfast has books for Antrim (1776), Armagh (1753) and Down (1852 and 1857).

Register of Freeholders 1758

Those who held a freehold worth less than forty shillings per annum and all Catholic freeholders prior to 1793 did not have a vote. The Office of the Chief Herald has lists of freeholders for counties : Laois (1758), Donegal (1761), Kilkenny,Meath and Tipperary (1775), Roscommon (1780) and Fermanagh (1788). The Public Records Office in Belfast has lists for the Ulster counties.

Militia Lists 1761

Is a list of men in a local militia aged between 16 and 60 years, able to bear arms. The Office of the Chief Herald has lists for the following counties : Cork. Derry, Donegal, Down, Dublin, Kerry, Limerick, Louth, Monaghan, Roscommon, Tipperary and Wicklow (M. 680). The Public Records Office in Belfast has lists for Antrim, Armagh and Tyrone.

Roll of Electors 1761

The Roll of Electors (Protestants with forty shilling freeholds) is available for Donegal in the National Library of Ireland (Ms 787). There is also a freeholders list for Donegal in the Office of the Chief Herald.

Return of Householders 1766

In 1766, the Government instructed rectors of the Church of Ireland, to make a return of householders in their parishes, showing their religion (whether Protestant, Dissenter or Papist). It is also known as the "Religious Census 1766". The census lists the names of the head of the households, their religion and numbers of children. The counties for which transcripts are available include : Cork (part of), Derry, Limerick, Louth, Tipperary and Wicklow.

The returns available vary in quality and some list only Protestant households. What is available is in the National Archives, the Public Records Office Belfast, the Office of the Chief Herald (M. 536-7) and in the Representative Church Body Library. Local journals have published extracts covering their own areas.

Freeholders entitled to vote 1770

The names of freeholders entitled to vote for Meath (1775 and 1781) and Longford (1790) are available in the National Library of Ireland. The National Archives has a list of electors (forty shilling freeholders ) for Longford (1790) (M.2486-8).

Oath of Allegiance 1775

Test book 1775-6 containing the names of Catholics taking the Oath of Allegiance under an Act passed by the Parliament of Ireland in 1775. This has been printed in the 59th. Report of the Deputy Keeper of Public Records.

Catholic Qualification Rolls 1778 - 1793

In 1778 the Irish Parliament passed an Act entitled "An Act for the relief of his Majesty's subjects in this Kingdom professing the Popish religion". The Act permitted Catholics to take leases for any term of years not exceeding nine hundred and ninety-nine or for any number of lives not exceeding five, provided that they had taken and subscribed the oath of allegiance passed in the Irish Parliament in 1774. The names of persons taking and subscribing the oath after 1778 were enrolled at the Rolls Office in Dublin. The index to these rolls survives, the information contained in the Index is usually; name, occupation, date and where oath was taken. The index is in the National Archives.

Flax Growers List 1796

The list was published by the Linen Board in 1796 and contains the names of flax growers who were eligible for assistance under a premium scheme. In order to encourage the growing of flax in Ireland, rather than it being imported, spinning wheels and utensils were to be given as a premium. A microfiche index is available in the National Archives and the Public Records Office, Belfast, this list should be used with caution.

State prisoners 1798

In his capacity as representative of the Crown, the Lord Lieutenant exercise the prerogative of mercy in Ireland. Many convicts submitted, or had submitted on their behalf, petitions for commutation or remission of their sentence. The petitions vary greatly in style and content but details to be found concern the crime, trial, sentence, place of origin and family circumstances of the convicts. The State Prisoners' Petitions petitions concern those arrested for involvement in the 1798 Rebellion, for which many were sentenced to transportation. The petitions are in the Sate Papers Office, have been microfilmed and indexed on computer. See also the consideration of transportation.

Estate Records and Marriage Licence Bonds

The estate records and marriage licence bonds which are considered in below, also cover the eighteenth century.

Grand Jurors and Books of Presentiments

Grand Jury Presentments are the chief records of the county administration prior to 1898. These and Grand Warrants contain information about work ordered to be done by the Grand Jury. In addition there are Quarter Session and County Court records that could be consulted. Rate books, compiled for the collection of local government rates contain lists of householders and occupiers. The National Archives has records for the twenty-six counties. The Public Records Office in Belfast has such records for the six counties. The Grand Jury Presentment Books on a county basis date from 1711 to 1899 with many gaps.

Seventeenth Century Sources

Nineteenth Century Sources

Australian Transportation Records