Monday 5 June 2017

The forgotten Irish Census of 1813-15

The first decennial census carried out in Ireland was in 1821, correct?

Not exactly!

There was a previous census carried out in Ireland before that, between 1813-1815, but it was so poorly executed that it was never presented to Parliament. When some statistical findings from it were published a few years later in 1822, they were deemed to be completely unreliable.

The following questions were those required to be asked under the provisions of the Census of Ireland Act 1812:

1st. How many Inhabited Houses are there in your Parish, Barony, or Half Barony; and by how many Families are they occupied?

2nd. How many Houses are now building, and therefore not yet inhabited?

3d. How many other Houses are uninhabited?

4th. What Number of Families in your Parish, Barony, or Half Barony, are chiefly employed in and maintained by Agriculture; how many Families are chiefly employed in or maintained by Trade, Manufactures, or Handicraft; and, how many Families are not comprized in either of the Two preceding Classes?

N.B. The Total Number of Families in Answer to this Question, must correspond with the Number of Families in Answer to the 1st Question.

5th. How many Persons (including Children of whatever age) are there actually found within the Limits of your Parish, Barony, or Half Barony, at the Time of taking this Account; distinguishing Males and Females, and exclusive of Men actually serving in His Majesty's Regular Forces, or in the Militia, and exclusive of Seamen either in His Majesty's Service, or belonging to Registered Vessels?

6th. How many of the whole Number of Persons mentioned by you in Answer to the 5th Question, are Inhabitants of any City, Town, or Village, distinguishing the Number which are found in each City, Town or Village respectively?

7th. Are there any other Matters which you may think it necessary to remark, in Explanation of your Answers to any of the preceding Questions?

The full text of the census act is available online at,%201813&assocpagelabel=.

For more on the story of the census itself, visit

Just another tragic census story from Ireland *sigh*.

The Irish authorities got their act together by 1821, producing a much more detailed decennial census than its British equivalent. Unfortunately, unlike Britain, later generations made a complete dogs dinner of preserving the records, with the earliest complete Irish census to survive being that of 1901. For those fragments that have survived before 1901, as well as the 1901 and 1911 returns, visit


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