Genealogy

There has always (unfortunately) been a history of emigration from Ireland and Waterford and the south-east is no different.

Do you have an ancestor that has emigrated from the area ?  Hopefully the resources below will be of use in researching your Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny or south Tipperary ancestor.  We also have a couple of genealogy gurus on board, aiming to reunite the Power clans in 2013 – drop us a brief line and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction.

Administrative Divisions
It’s important to know what these mean so that when you come across them in your research & records, or are using a certain place-name as a reference, you know what they mean.

  • County – nowadays, these are the main administrative regions in Ireland – there are 32 counties on the island of Ireland – 26 in the Republic and 6 in Northern Ireland.  Examples include : Waterford, Wexford, Galway, Antrim, Laois, Dublin etc.
  • Barony – this is an older land division, now obsolete – but relevant to lots of 18th & 19th century records.  Every county includes several baronies but the borders are not the same – baronies can also include land areas from two counties.  The 8 baronies of Waterford are : Coshmore & Coshbride, Decies within Drum, Decies without Drum, Gaultiere, Glenahiry, Middlethird, Upperthird & Waterford City.  See a barony map here.
  • Poor Law Union – From 1838, Ireland was also divided into “unions” or regions, within which the inhabitants were responsible for the poor.  A Poor Law Union usually had a large town at its centre and cared for the poor of the surrounding area.  The boundaries of the Poor Law Union (see map) bore no relationship to the county administrative boundary (just to confuse things!).  The dreaded workhouse was part of the Poor Law Union set up, with the most destitute of people ending up there.Waterford’s Poor Law Union districts were : Dungarvan, Kilmacthomas, Lismore, Waterford city & Youghal.  Parts of County Waterford also came under the Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, PLU.
  • Parish – A parish is a mainly religious geographical area – there are 2 types relevant to genealogical records in Ireland.
    Civil Parish – A state unit of territory for census and valuation purposes. Civil parishes frequently break both barony and county boundaries.
    Ecclesiastical Parish – Normal unit of local church administration.  Am parish of this nature could contain several civil parishes.
  • Townland – this is the most important land division when it comes to identifying where you ancestor might have lived.  The present townlands date from 1837.  In records such as valuations and censuses, records are broken into townlands – it is also likely that the townland would’ve been the recognisable name of where they lived for your ancestor – many therefore, do not appear on maps.  Google maps (of Ireland) make good use of townland names.  Examples of Waterford townland names are : Knockroe, Ballyglan, Raheen, Stradbally Beg and Garrarus.

Census
The 1901 and 1911 censuses of Ireland are the only intact censuses left in existence.  They can be found here, via the National Archives, for free.  Enter the correct county in the drop-down and go from there.

Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland
We already have an article on how to access this free site, dealing with your land-owning or renting ancestors from the late 1840s and 50s – records here list family names, how much land they had, what taxes they paid and most important, where houses and farms were located on a map.

Church Records (Parish Registers)
These records are one of the main sources for finding your ancestors in Ireland.  Records and their existence vary as to location and dates.  Early Catholic churches were not required to keep and return records, so in some cases records were kept badly.

These records exist in various places on the Internet, including Ancestry.com, Roots Ireland (both paying) and to some extent on FamilySearch. Full parish registers are available on micro-film at Central Library, Waterford City.

Civil Records – i.e. Birth, Marriage and Death certificates
Civil registration only began in Ireland (for Roman Catholics) in 1864.  Certificates prior to this did not exist.   Indexes to these records can be searched for free on FamilySearch – in order obtain a paper copy of these certificates from the Registrar General’s Office in Dublin, you must find the Volume and Page numbers associated with the certificate.

See GRO Ireland for more details – a trip here is worthwhile, but go armed with the aforementioned Volume / Page numbers, or they will charge you a fee to consult their indexes.  Also bear in mind that Power (and many other Irish surnames) are very common, so you don’t want to have to make a choice (or a guess) at several certificates bearing the same name – you cannot see them beforehand and it’ll cost you €4 per copy to find out if you are right !  At least if you think you have the right one, from consulting FamilySearch, you can ask for the specific certificate (via Page/Vol number) either in person, or in writing.

As mentioned before, we have a couple of genealogy gurus on board, aiming to reunite the Power clans in 2013 – drop us a brief line and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction regarding your ancestors.

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