The 1851 census of Ireland



The 1851 census of Ireland

The Census of 1851 was taken under the superintendence of the Registrar-General of Marriages, Mr. William Donnelly, assisted by Dr. (afterwards Sir) William Wilde. As with the 1841 census the enumerators were selected from the Constabulary and DMP force who were supplemented by 'other competent persons'. Census day was 30 March 1851. The census was the most comprehensive undertaken. Thirteen forms were designed for the collection of information.

Of most interest to the genealogist is 'Form A' the household return that contained 3 tables:

The first requested information about family members, visitors and servants as show below for the family of James O'Neill recorded number 17 in Aghadavy townland in the parish of Ballinderry, barony of Upper Massereene, County Antrim
James O'Neil aged 42 male Head of family married 1830 farmer cannot read born Antrim
Eliza O'Neil aged 40 female wife married 1830 cannot read born Antrim
Eliza O'Neil aged 12 female dau not married cannot read born Antrim
Mary A O'Neil aged 8 female dau not married cannot read born Antrim
Margt O'Neill aged 4 female dau not married cannot read born Antrim
William McGivrone aged 63 male lodger not married Rag-gatherer can read & write born Down

The second table of 'Form A' was for the enumeration of absent family members on the enumeration night.

In the O'Neill household John O'Neil aged 20 years was absent on census night and recorded as resident in county Armagh where he was probably working as a casual labourer. Given his age John O'Neill would have been the oldest child of the family. The family farm may have been of modest size and hence the eldest son was supplementing family income with seasonal work.

On the third table, mortality statistics were collected. As in 1841, 'Form A' was distributed in advance of the census date for heads of households to complete on census day. Collection was to begin on Monday 31 March 1851.


Margaret O'Neil aged 2 female dau smallpox summer 1846
Mary Jane O'Neill aged 1 female dau inflammation winter 1851 (probably 1850)
John Hamill aged 75 male Grandfather farmer apoplexy winter 1842
Rose Hamill aged 74 years female Grandmother 74 summer 1842
Terence O'Neil aged 64 years male father farmer mortification summer 1848
Mary A O'Neill aged 58 years female mother consumption spring 1849

The mortality schedule for the O'Neill family is most revealing. From this we learn the names of James O'Neill's parents and maternal grand-parents.

The head of household James O'Neill was born circa 1809 the son of Terence O'Neil (c. 1784-1848) and Mary A Hamill O'Neill (c.1791-1849).

Mary A O'Neill nee Hamill (c.1791-1849) was the daughter of John Hamill (c.1767-1842) by his wife Rose Hamill (c.1768-1842).

COUNTY ANTRIM RETURNS: 1851

Returns are available for the parishes of  Aghalee, Ballinderry, Carncastle, Dunaghy, Grange of Killyglen, Kilwaughter and Larne. 

Some townlands returns exist for the parishes of Aghagallon (townlands Montiaghs to Tiscallen only), Ahoghill (townland of Craigs only),Ballymoney (townland of Garryduff only), Killead (townlands of Ardmore to Carnagliss only),  Newtowncrommelin (Limavallaghan only) Rasharkin (townlands of Carfinton to Tehorny only) and Tickmacreevin (Glenarm) are also included.

Townlands covered are:- Aghacarnan, Aghadavy, Aghalee, Aghalee Village, Aghanamoney, Aghanliss, Ardmore, Artnacrea, Aughnamullan, Ballinderry, Ballyboggy, Ballyclan, Ballycregagh, Ballyedward, Ballygally, Ballygawn Ballycoos, Ballygilbert, Ballyginniff, Ballyhackett, Ballyhampton, Ballyhill Lower, Ballyhill Upper, Ballykeel, Ballykelly, Ballykennedy, Ballylacky, Ballymacilhoyle, Ballymaclose, Ballymacmary, Ballymacrevan, Ballymather Lower, Ballymather Upper, Ballymullock, Ballynadrentagh, Ballynageeragh, Ballynaghten, Ballynanaghten, Ballyquillan, Ballyreagh, Ballyrobin, Ballyruther, Ballyscolly, Ballysculty, Ballytober, Ballytweedy, Ballywillan, Boltnaconnell, Boydstown, Brackenhill, British, Capanagh, Caragan, Carmavy, Carnaghliss, Carnbeg, Carncastle, Carnfinton, Carnfunnock, Carnmore, Carrowcowan, Cloughgaldenagh, Cluntirriff, Corkermain, Craigdunloof, Craigfad, Craigfadock, Craiginorne, Craigs, Crew Park, Demesne, Derrykillultagh, Donbought, Drains, Drainsbog, Droagh, Dromain, Drumagrove, Drumanduff, Drumnadonaghy, Drumnagreagh, Dungonnell, Eglish, Evishcrow, Farnacushog, Garryduff, Glebe, Glenarm, Glenleslie, Gortrany, Inchamp, Irish Armberbawn, Killycowan, Kilcreeny, Killough, Killydonnelly, Killyglen, Killyree, Kinflea, Legagrane, Legatirriff, Linford, Limavallaghan, Lisnagaver, Lisnahay North, Lisnahay South, Lisnamanny, Loughduff, Loughrelisk, Lower Tullaketagh, Lurgansemanus, Lurganteneil, Lurgill, Magheraboy, Minnis North, Minnis South, Moneycrumog, Moneyleck, Montiaghs, Moygarriff, Muneyduff, Old Mills Ballygally, Poobles, Portmore, Rasharkin, Rosedermot, Saint Cumming, Sallagh, Solar, Tamlaght, Tamnyvane, Tehorney, Templecormac, Tiftarney, Tiscallen, Tullaghbane, Tullyballydonnell, Tullynewey, Upper Tullaketagh.

http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1851/Antrim/














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