Comparitive Statistics (1821-1926)

Census Population Increase/Decrease
1821 730,444 N/A
1831 810,732 + 80,288
1841 854,118 +43,386
 1851  649,308 -204,810
 1861  544,818 -104,490
 1871  517,076 -27,742
 1881  495,607 -21,469
 1891  438,432 -57,175
 1901  404.611 -33,821
 1911  392,104 -12,507
 1926  365,747 -26,357


Civil census was taken in Ireland during the following years:

  • The first four were destroyed in 1922 during the Civil War. Some fragments were saved. All Cork returns were lost except for 1851. We have all of the civil parishes of Kilcrumper, and Kilworth. Leitrim and Macroney is partially available.

  • 1861,1871,1881,1891 were destroyed by order of the British Government
  • 1901 and 1911 are intact and can be viewed at the National Archives Dublin.

A microfilm copy of census 1901 can be viewed at the Cork County Library and also at the LDS Centre, Sarsfield’s Road, Cork.


Below is a list of the main Census substitute listings for Cork City and County.



NA = National Archives Dublin;
NL = National Library Dublin

JCHAS = Journal Cork Historical Archaeological Society;
C of I = Church of Ireland

Survey of houses in Cork City
Tenants and possessors
The Down Survey

This survey, carried out by Sir William Petty, is important in that the land was measured by trained surveyors and the results were reproduced in map form.

It provides a mapped record of confiscated lands after the Cromwellian war. The divisions used in the survey were the barony, parish and townland, and it is useful in determining land ownership for the period.

The survey was practically destroyed by fire in 1711 and the remainder in the fire of 1922. However, copies survive under the following classifications:

Copies of parish maps made in 1787 by the Hon. R. Rochfort, Surveyor-General, which are now included in the Reeves Collection in the National Library along with a series of barony maps, entitled “Hibernia Regnum”, compiled from the Down Survey parish maps and finally, the Quit Rent Office maps and tracings.

Civil Survey/Limited Parishes:

Reasons for the Survey:

The 1654 Civil Survey was undertaken by the Cromwellian government in Ireland for two reasons;

1. to secure information on the location and type of confiscated lands,
2. to survey these lands in order to honour agreements entered into with English adventurers who had financed the Cromwellian war in Ireland, and with soldiers who had fought in it with the guarantee of payment in land in lieu of money.
The survey was carried out under the aegis of the Courts of Survey, who in turn delegated the implementation of it to local juries who had extensive knowledge of their own localities.

Information Collected:

The survey, initiated in 1654, begins with a detailed account of landowners and their estates, and a valuation of the land, while also recording additional information such as the type of soil and the physical features of a locality.

In total twenty-seven counties were surveyed, including all those in the province of Leinster. Although copies were destroyed in the fire at the Surveyor General’s office in 1711 and the original set was lost in the fire of 1922, parts of it are still extant as copies had been deposited in the Quit Rent office.


What They Contain:

Wills are an important source of genealogical information, containing, in addition to the name of the testators, those of witnesses and executors.

They usually also give names of spouse and children and any other party standing to gain from the provisions of the will.

Where to find them:

Wills can be examined at the National Archives of Ireland where there is an index based on name to all wills prior to 1857.

From 1858 onwards there is an alphabetically arranged yearly calendar to wills. It includes name, address, occupation and place and date of death of the deceased.

These documents are particularly useful when researching the middle and upper classes.

Many original wills were lost in the fire of 1922 but abstracts and copies exist. Sir William Betham extracted genealogical details from almost 37,000 prerogative will up to 1800.

The Commissioners of Inland Revenue have also compiled abstracts of both prerogative and diocesan wills. These are printed in 22 volumes, covering the period 1828–1839, and are available at the National Archives.

Finally, the Irish Manuscripts Commission has published two volumes of will abstracts, taken from originals in the Registry of Deeds and edited by P. Beryl Eustace.

Subsidy Rolls
Limited Baronies
Cork City Free men
Able Bodied Male Protestants
Limited parishes
Anglo Irish Miscellany
Freemen + Freeholders of Cork City
Freemen of Cork City
St Mary’s Shandon Cork
Griffiths Valuation
NA + most libraries

Griffiths Valuation, a property assessment of all properties in Ireland, took place during the years 1848 to 1864. They began in the south of Ireland and ended in Ulster. Griffiths lists the lessors (not the same as the owner) and lessees of all property in the country. It is the primary 19th century Irish reference in which the poor are likely to be found. FHC Film # 0844991. Griffith’s was actually taken in County Cork 1851-1853 at the end of the Famine.

Book of Survey

Seamus Pender (ed.), published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission.

This Census includes details of population in several counties.

Counties were subdivided into baronies and the statistical information was summarised on a barony basis. Information was entered under the following headings:

Number of People,
Tituladoes’ names and
Whether English, Scots, or Irish.
Tituladoes refers to the principal persons of standing in a particular locality.

Five counties are not covered: Cavan, Galway, Mayo, Tyrone and Wicklow.

Hearth Money Rolls

Introduced in 1662, when, under the Hearth Money Act of that year, a tax of two shillings was imposed on each hearth, i.e. fireplace. The rolls contain the names of householders, arranged by county and subdivided by parish and townland. None of the originals survive but copies exist for some counties.

Books of Survey and Distribution

The Acts of Settlement, passed in 1662, and the Act of Explanation, passed in 1665, made provisions for confiscated lands to be administered by the Court of Claims.

The Decrees of Innocence issued by this court were recorded in abstract form in the Books of Survey & Distribution. These were a record of landowners & their respective estates & were used to impose the Quit Rent, an annual acreable rent paid on land granted under the Acts of Settlement & Explanation.

The information in these books is complemented by the Lodge Transcripts of Records of the Rolls, available in the National Archives.

Volumes XI, XII, & XIII give the names of the new owners, the townland & barony, & the number of acres & rental imposed on the grantees under the terms of the Act.

Householders List
St Nicholas parish
Church of Ireland Registers
Religious Census
Cloyne Diocese

The 1766 Religious Census of Cloyne lists no DORGAN or DARGAN.

In 1766 Parliament undertook a census to determine the religious affiliations of the population. This census was carried out by the clergy & contains information under the following headings:

Head of household
number of children
It is useful for genealogical research though it is not a comprehensive record of all the population as those not eligible for payment of tithes were excluded.

Original copies of this census were destroyed in the fire at the Public Record Office in 1922 but partial transcripts had been made by Tenison Groves & these are now housed in the National Archives.

St Anns Shandon Cork City
Tithe Applotments Books
Head of households
Most libraries

Those on land expected to pay tithes to support the Church of Ireland. The lists only include names and parishes. The lists for County Cork span 1823-1837.

Lists of Poor
Cork City Parishes
Land survey

This survey, published in 1876, is a record of all landowners in Ireland in possession of one acre and upwards at that time. It was commissioned by the Lord Lieutenant at the suggestion of the Earl of Derby in 1872, and took three and a half years to compile.

It lists owners in alphabetical order, giving the amount of land held, its rateable value and the address of the owner as far as could be ascertained. It includes statistics on population and on the number of inhabited dwellings for each county.

The Landowners of Ireland, by V. H. Hussey de Burgh

This is an alphabetical list of owners of estates of 500 acres and upwards, with a minimum valuation of £500.

It also includes acreage and valuation of such estates, and gives details of the education and official appointments of the owners. Town and country addresses and membership of clubs are also given.

This list provides a valuable companion to Griffith’s Valuation as it gives details of land ownership between the completion of Griffith’s Valuation and the redistribution of land under the Land Acts of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Local Newspapers. These can be a useful source for birth, marriage and obituary notices.

Directories are useful in that they provide names and, in some cases, occupations of individuals, e.g. Thom’s Commercial Directory.

Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary gives information on a locality, its markets, towns, churches, arranged on a county and parish basis.

Incumbered Estates Records/Landed Estates Court Rentals

Crime and Outrage

Law and Order Records

The Chief Secretary’s Office, in the State Paper Office, Dublin Castle, contained a large and varied collection of records relating to the upholding of law and order in nineteenth century Ireland, and these are now housed in the National Archives, Bishop St.

Three Collections
The history of political and agrarian unrest and crime is contained in three separate collections:

  • The Rebellion Papers, 1796-1807;
  • The State of the Country Papers, 1790-1831,
  • The Outrage Papers, 1832-1852.

Other Records

In addition there are the following:

Prisoners’ Petitions, 1777-1836; appeals from convicted criminals for pardons or a reduction in their sentence.

Of particular importance for genealogy are the Transportation Registers, 1836-1857, which list persons under sentence of transportation, along with the crimes of which they were convicted and the length of their sentence.

After 1852, records relating to crime and outrage were amalgamated with the general series of Registered Papers kept by the Chief Secretary’s Office.

Other collections of interest include:

  • The Fenian Papers, 1857-83,
  • The Irish Land League and National League Papers, 1887-1917,
  • The papers of the Crime Branch Special, 1887-1917, and
  • The Intelligence Notes.

1876 Land survey

This survey, published in 1876, is a record of all landowners in Ireland in possession of one acre and upwards at that time.

It was commissioned by the Lord Lieutenant at the suggestion of the Earl of Derby in 1872, and took three and a half years to compile.

It lists owners in alphabetical order, giving the amount of land held, its rateable value and the address of the owner as far as could be ascertained.

It includes statistics on population and on the number of inhabited dwellings for each county.

Cork Census Returns & Substitutes:

For more information on the nature of these records, click here.

  • 1548-1857: Index to Diocesan Wills for Cork & Ross
  • 1500-1650: The Pipe Roll of Cloyne. Journal of the Cork Historical & Archaeological Society, 1918
  • 1623-45: Marriage License Bonds for Diocese of Cork & Ross
  • 1641: Book of Survey and Distribution. Proprietors in 1641, grantees in 1666-8. NLI Ms 966-7
  • 1641: Survey of Houses in Cork city, listing tenants and possessors. NAI Quit Rent Office Papers
  • 1654: Civil Survey. Civil Survey, Vol.VI, land ownership changes
  • 1659: Pender’s ‘Census’. ,
  • 1662-67: Subsidy rolls. Extracts for Condons and Clangibbons baronies. NAI M.4968, M.2636
  • 1663: Hearth Money Rolls by County, Barony, Parish and townland.
  • 1700-52: Freemen of Cork city. NAI M. 4693
  • 1708-87: Irish Manuscripts Commission, Abstracts of Wills
  • 1739-42: Land Index Volumes ofr County Cork. Vols. 5,8,9,12,26,100
  • 1753: Householders St Nicholas parish Cork city. Also later years. NAI MFCI 23, 24, 25; M 6047
  • 1761: Militia Lists, County Cork, M 608
  • 1766: Religious Census for Cork Diocese by Tennison Groves: Aghabulloge, Aghada, Ardagh, Ballintemple, Ballyhay, Ballynoe, Carrigdownane, Carrigrohanebeg, Castlelyons, Castletownroche, Churchtown, Clenor, Clondrohid, Clondulane, Clonfert, Clonmeen, Clonmult, Clonpriest, Cloyne, Coole, Farahy, Garrycloyne, Glanworth, Grenagh, Ightermurragh, Imphrick, Inishcarra, Kildorrery, Kilmahon, Kilnamartry, Kilshannig, Kilworth, Knockmourne, Lisgoold, Litter, Macroney, Macroom, Magourney, Mallow, Marshalstown, Matehy, Middleton, Mogeely, Mourneabbey, Roskeen, Shandrum, St. Nathlash, Templemolaga, Whitechurch, Youghal, M5036a; Rathbarry, Ringrone, NAI; Parl. Ret, 773, 774 Dunbulloge Journal of the Cork Historical & Archaeological Society Vol. 51; Kilmichael Vol. 26.

  • 1783: Freemen & freeholders, Cork city. NLI P 2054
  • 1787: Cork and Southern Towns Directory
  • 1793: Householders in the parish of St Anne’s, Shandon. Also includes householders of additional houses built up to 1853. Journal of the Cork Historical & Archaeological Society, Vol. 47 pp 87-111
  • 1814: Jurors, Co. Cork. NAI M2637, Grove-White Abstracts
  • 1817: Freemen, Cork city. NLI P 722
  • 1823-38: Tithe Books. Tithe Composition Applotment Book: Names of tenants with land by parish except townlands and cities. Gives surnames, location, acreage, valuation and title.
  • 1830: House-owners, St Mary’s Shandon. Journal of the Cork Historical & Archaeological Society, Vol. 49
  • 1830-1837: Registered householders, Cork city (alphabetical). Parliamentary Papers 1837, Reports from Committees, 1837/8. Vol. 13 (2), pp 554-7
  • 1832-1837: Voters, Cork city. Parliamentary Papers 1837, Reports from Committees, 1837/8. Vol. 13 (1), pp 320/1
  • 1834: Protestant parishioners: Bandon town (Ballymodan only). NLI Ms 675
  • 1834-1837: Valuation of Bandonbridge, Kinsale, Youghal towns (£5 householders). Parliamentary Papers 1837, Reports from Committees, Vol. II, (1), Appendix G
  • 1834: Protestant families Magourney parish; with the C. of I. Registers. NAI M 5118
  • 1837: Marksmen (i.e. illiterate voters), Bandonbridge, Kinsale, Youghal Boroughs. Parliamentary Papers 1837, Reports from Committees, 1837, Vol. II (1), Appendix A
  • 1837: Lists of waste and poor Cork city parishes. Parliamentary Papers 1837, Reports from Committees, 1837/8. Vol. 13 (1), pp 324-334
  • 1842: Cork voters. West 1842/26, East 1842/23
  • 1843-1850: Records of Easter and Christmas dues. Catholic parish of Ballyclogh: includes names of parishioners, with children. NLI Pos 5717. NLI Pos. 5717
  • 1846: Directory of Ireland by Slater. Residents’ names of small towns.
  • 1851: Extensive extracts for Kilcrumper, Leitrim and Kilworth parishes NAI M4685
  • 1851-1853: Griffith’s Valuation. Primary Valuation of Tenements by Sir Richard Griffith. Occupant’s names, address, acreage and value.
  • Pre-1880 Church registers of baptisms and marriages on microfilm
  • 1901: Census.
  • 1911: Census.