Irish Census 1851


The Irish Research Group of the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society completed a WordPerfect transcript of the surviving 1851 Irish census in 1994. They then used this transcript to publish a listing of the surviving returns in 1999. The records for County Antrim were subsequently converted into a database by George Bushell in 1995 for use in a paper that looked at the social and economic patterns of that county. A summary of the 1851 occupant returns for County Cork, made in 1853, have also survived for a few parishes and some analyses of these data have been added to a 2007 update of the original 1995 paper. A very small number of the original returns remain for counties Fermanagh, Kilkenny and Cork, as well.

The returns from County Antrim, located in the extreme north-east of the island, include part or all of 14 civil parishes from various parts of the county (almost 29,000 records). The 1853 occupant summary of the 1851 census of County Cork, which is located in the south-west part of the island, includes nearly 4,000 records from four adjacent parishes: Kilcrumper, Kilworth, Leitrim and Macroney.

Four basic types of records were collected in 1851: occupant records, death records, absence records and uninhabited household records. There is an entry for each person living in an occupied dwelling on the date of the census. There may also be one or more death records if anyone from the household died between June 6, 1841 and March 30, 1851 , as well as an absence record for each person who was away from the household on the date of the census. Uninhabited households are simply counted – no further information was collected.

This web page presents access to copies of several publications as well as a research database developed by George Bushell.

Available documents:

Serious researchers can request a copy of the complete database and explanatory notes.

How the analysis was done
Record layout of the database
Search the Surviving 1851 Irish Census Returns

The Ottawa Branch of OGS thanks George Bushell for his cooperation in making all of this data available for publication on this web site.

This material is copyright © by Ottawa Branch – Ontario Genealogical Society and George Bushell. Please do not place any of the material from this site on your own website. If you want to publicize anything found here, just create a link to this site from your own. Obviously, if you use any of the information or data from this website in a publication, you must give the proper credits and references.

  1. I am looking for my G. G. Grandfather William Gleeson (or Gleason) married to Mary Dwyer. of Irish roots they were both born in Tipperary Ireland I am unable to find there marriage certificate or birth certificate but, the head stone might help I have been looking for a few years off and on would you have any information on this
    thank you
    anything would help


    1. Well done! I have irish Roots. My great great grandfather, Samuel Garry married Eliza Jane Mills November 12, 1849 in Lisburn, Antrim, Ireland and migrated to Scotland in 1855. Samuel was 21, Eliza 22 at the time of their marriage. Their marriage certificate shows Samuel living in Carricknaveaugh (sic) in the Parish of Killaney and Eliza living in Cleavey (sic) in the parish of Drumbeg. Unfortunately your census data does not have these parishes.

      Do you have any suggestions for further research.

      Thank you.



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