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The news that the 1901 census has been released online will come as good news to some of Ireland’s huge diaspora – considered to be somewhere in the region of about 80 million – more than 14 times the size of our population. However it will also come in handy for members of this site who may be trying to track down the history of their cottage.

The inhabitants of all 32 counties can be searched on both the 1901 and 1911 census for free online at the National Archives website

There is a basic search function that allows you to search by place name, person’s name, age and sex but there are further advanced search options such as literacy, language proficiency, marital status that can also be searched. Another option is to browse by place which will allow you to drill down to a townland area and view a list of surnames and the number of houses under that surname in the area. You can then choose to view the information on the web page or view the information exactly as it was written on the census on PDF.

1901 Census

1901 Census

Although it has always been an area of interest to many people, the success the TV show ‘Who do you think you are’ with high profile guests such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon and Spike Lee has fuelled greater interest in tracing ancestors.

Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin hopes that the release of this census will bring more tourists to Ireland – “We know that when the 1911 census went online there was huge interest from around the globe. This even older census will open up another chapter in people’s efforts to trace their roots.”

If you would like find out more about tracing your cottages history see my older article on the subject – Discovering the age of your cottage.

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