Friday 16 November 2012

The Irish in Britain

FindmyPast Ireland has an interesting blog post at concerning the population of the Irish in Britain between 1841 and 1921, as based on the collated statistics from the decennial censuses. The statistic that jumped out at me was that for 1851 Scotland, with 7.2% of the population having hailed from across the water - about 1 in 15 - the highest percentage anywhere in Britain for any of the censuses. When you take into consideration that that is a national statistic, this number itself will grossly underestimate the percentage of Irish folk in the West of Scotland, where most settled after fleeing the Famine. My own family is part of that story, with several migrants from Fermanagh and Derry settling in Glasgow's Bridgeton district.

My next book, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet, out in February next year in time for Who Do You Think You Are Live, looks at many Irish resources in Ireland. In addition, the British context is also included throughout, with Ireland part of the UK from 1801-1921, and Northern Ireland since then. If you haven't considered considered searching for your Irish relatives in Britain, you may be overlooking some seriously major clues for your research. The discovery of my three times great grandfather in the 1881 English census for Barrow-in-Furness was a game changer in one line of my own tree!


Scotland 1750-1850 - 5 weeks online Pharos course, £45.99, taught by Chris Paton from 2 NOV 2012 - see
New book: It's Perthshire 1866 - there's been a murder... (from June 12th 2012)


  1. Outwith the UK, there was a statistically significant Irish community in Jersey as well (probably of the order of 1-2% of the population). The largest numbers appeared to come from the south-east, county Waterford in particular.

    I spent the better part of a year transcribing admissions to the local hospital-cum-workhouse-cum-detention centre and as I recall about a tenth of the 5000 entries related to people born in Ireland.

    It's also a matter of fact that there were two Catholic churches in St Helier - one (St Thomas's) was the French-speaking church, the other (SS Peter and Mary) was English-speaking.

    James McLaren

  2. Many thanks, useful place to look also!