OAP returns an interesting source

The Old Age Pension Claim Forms are held in the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (P.R.O.N.I) reference T550/1-39. These give information mainly from the 1841 and 1851 census returns for the counties of Ulster. Similar records are held by the National Archives in Dublin although here they are referred to as Census Search Forms and these contain the same essential information, but for the whole of Ireland.

The claim sheets in PRONI are bound together and contained in large volumes primarily arranged by barony and county:

ANTRIM T550/2-11
ARMAGH T550/12-16
DOWN T550/17-20
FERMANAGH T550/21-23
L'DERRY T550/25-29
TYRONE T550/30-35
DONEGAL T550/37
FREE STATE T550/1A&1B

These volumes are packed with vital information on many Ulster families. Primarily, the 1841/1851 census returns were checked for proof of age. But the following sources were also used.
  • Baptismal/christening records (for all denominations but especially Church of Ireland as these were held in the PRO in Dublin as official records).
  • Marriage records (civil registration of protestant marriages began 1845)
  • Scottish census returns
  • Regimental records
  • Extracts from family Bibles
  • Workhouse certificates
Example of a search form from PRONI T550/25:
Coleraine stamp - dated 1st June 1917 claimant was Catherine daughter of William Mullan and Catherine McNicholl aged 70 years. Claimant states that she was born in May 1844 and baptised in Balteagh Church (of Ireland) by the Rev Scott. Check Balteagh, Ardmore and Drumsurn:
Balteagh parish register checked reference 2-45B
Searched the above register and found Catherine daughter of William Mullan and Mary McNicholl baptised 28 June 1842 and born 25 May 1842:
Note - from the same register please give details of and add record of Mary Jane the sister of the claimant born about 1845 (here the page was cut off by the binding and impossible to read).

Note: about one thousand parish registers, including those for Balteagh, were destroyed in the explosion in the PRO in the Four Courts complex in 1922 during the Irish civil war. Balteagh is a civil parish close to the town of Limavady.




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