Find ancestors from all over Ireland in the earliest surviving complete census of Ireland. A census is a great way to flesh out your family tree and find out more about how your ancestors lived. You can find out who they lived with, what they did for a living, how well off they were. For the first time online you can search the Ireland 1901 Census for more than one ancestor at the same time and by year of birth. Findmypast’s powerful search will also look for name variants so you have even more chance of finding the right person.
Each record contains a transcript of the household census return with a link to the image of the original held by the National Archives of Ireland. The amount of information varies but you can find out the following about your ancestor:
Relationship to head of household
Year of birth
Place of birth
Townland or street
District electoral division
Ability to speak Irish
Family members’ first and last names
Names of others within the household
Link to image of the original return on the NAI website.
The 1901 census was taken on 31 March 31. It is the earliest complete census to survive the Public Records Office explosion during the Irish Civil War and as such, is one of the key genealogical resources for Ireland. Censuses were taken in Ireland every 10 years from 1821 but all that remains of the 19th century censuses are fragments. You can find what is left of the 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851 on Findmypast, the censuses from the latter half of the century are totally lost.
Household return forms were filled out and signed by the head of household and then collected by an Enumerator. The Enumerator also noted religious denominations for each townland or street and counted the number of out buildings. Unusually, Ireland still has the original household manuscript returns, the ones filled out and signed by the head of household, rather than the more usual Enumerators’ books, where these details were copied.
Notable people in the 1901 census
Anna and Thomas Haslam
Key figures in the fight for women’s suffrage in Ireland, Quaker couple Anna and Thomas Haslam can be found living on Leinster Road in Rathmines. Both in their 70s at this stage, they are retired and living on annuities. Both of them object to the “Religious Profession” field of the census, with Thomas writing simply “object” and Anna “further information refused.” In 1866, Anna Haslam was one of 15 people with an Irish address among the 1,499 women who signed a petition to parliament to include women on the same terms as men. The Haslams had established the Dublin Women's Suffrage Association in 1876. Anna Haslam was secretary of the DWSA until 1913, when she stood down and was elected life president. She was also an active philanthropist and, after Thomas’s health broke down in 1866, was the breadwinner for 40 years, running a fancy goods shop in Rathmines. Although Thomas died in 1917, Anna lived to cast her vote in 1919. She died in 1922.
Ireland’s first president can be found living in Frenchpark in Co. Roscommon with his wife Lucy Constina and young daughters Nuala Eibhlin and Mary Une. Hyde was a prominent scholar of the Irish language. The year before the census he had addressed a meeting in Loughrea in County Galway, complaining of the rapid Anglicisation of the country and the loss of the Irish language. He had helped to found the Gaelic League in 1893, whose aim was to encourage the preservation of Irish culture, music, dances and language. While the 1901 census form is filled out in English, he filled out the 1911 in Irish. In 1901 he notes that he and his daughters as well as their cook and domestic servant can speak both Irish and English. As can be seen in the 1901 census, Hyde was an Episcopal protestant. It was felt important to have a non-Catholic for the country’s first president to disprove the assertion that the State was a “confessional state.”
One of the leaders of the 1916 Rising can be found as a 21-year-old law student in the 1901 census. Patrick Henry Pearse was living with his mother, brother and two sisters in Sandymount Avenue, Donnybrook, Dublin. He would qualify as a barrister and be called to the bar later that year. Pearse had joined the Gaelic League in 1896. In 1908, Pearse started his bilingual school St Enda’s in Cullenswood House in Ranelagh, County Dublin. A member of the secret Irish Republican Brotherhood, Pearse was the spokesman for the Easter Rising in 1916 and it was he who read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic outside the General Post Office on Easter Monday, 24 April 24. He and fourteen other leaders, including his brother Willie, were court martialled and executed by firing squad on 3 May.
James Joyce and Nora Barnacle
19-year-old student James Augustine Joyce can be found living at Royal Terrace, Clontarf in Dublin with his parents, two brothers and five sisters. Joyce would later become one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He is best known for Ulysses, his 1922 landmark work, but also for the short story collection Dubliners (1914), Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegan’s Wake (1939). Also in the census is 18-year-old laundress Nora Barnacle. Three years later, the day the two would meet – 16 June 1904 – would be immortalised by Joyce in Ulysses.