Irish 1901 census goes online

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Friday, June 4, 2010

The earliest surviving complete census of Ireland is now available freely online. It may be viewed through the website of the National Archives of Ireland.

Within the census are more than 4.5 million records from 850,000 households across the 32 counties; the information covers the night of Sunday March 31, 1901. 1911 Census records were made available online in 2009, subsequently attracting more than 260 million hits.

The 1901 census lists a number of now-famous Irish people; James Joyce as a 19-year-old student living with his family in Fairview, Dublin. Author Peig Sayers, under her married name of Margaret Guiheen, on Great Blasket Island. A 22-year-old Pádraig Pearse, one of the leaders of the Easter Rising and Edward (Eamon) de Valera, a significant leader of Ireland's struggle for independence, at the time an 18-year-old boarder in Blackrock College, are also included.

The majority of 19th century Irish census records are now lost for a variety of reasons, including a fire at the Public Records Office during the 1922 Irish Civil War.

Digitisation of the records cost almost €4 million; the work was carried out by the National Archives of Ireland in partnership with Library and Archives of Canada.