Ireland Census 1821-1851

Records in this collection

Discover your ancestor in the surviving fragments of Ireland’s early nineteenth century censuses.

The first full census of Ireland was taken in 1821 and again at the start of every decade. From 1841 householders themselves filled out the return form, making these records a unique snapshot of early 19th century lives of ordinary 19th century Irish people. Both 1841 and 1851, very unusually, also recorded those who had moved away or died since the last census. This makes the 1851 census, in particular, a rich resource for those researching the Famine.

The 19th century returns after 1861 and 1871 were destroyed short after the censuses were taken and the later 19th century censuses were pulped during World War 1. Unfortunately the early censuses that survived were lost when the Public Records Office in the Four Courts in Dublin was destroyed in a fire during the Irish Civil War in 1922.

These records are the remnants of the first four censuses covering certain counties. The amount of detail in each census varies, as does what survived.