Census Substitutes for Co. Derry
Quite often the only realistic strategy in tracing ancestors beyond church registers is to examine surviving census returns and census substitutes, often compiled by civil parish, for any references to a surname or given name of interest.
This database contains an index to people recorded in such sources, dating from 1628 to 1920. These sources name heads of household only; each source returns the name of head of household, year, civil parish address, and, in most cases, townland (or street/town) address. The Flax Growers Lists of 1796 plus some of the 1740 and 1766 returns don’t record townland addresses.
- Hearth Money Rolls of 1663
- Protestant Householders Lists of 1740
- Religious Census of 1766 – Returns survive for 10 civil parishes in County Derry, namely: Artrea, Ballynascreen, Banagher, Bovevagh, Derryloran, Desertlyn, Desertmartin, Drumachose, Dungiven and Magherafelt.
- Flax Growers Lists of 1796
- Private Census of 1803 for the civil parish of Faughnavale
- Early-19th century Tithe Books. Year of compilation, ranging from 1822 to 1837, vary from parish to parish. The Tithe Book for the Deanery of Derry, which includes the parishes of Burt, Inch, Muff and Templemore, doesn’t record a year of compilation.
- 1831 Census. An abstract of the 1831 census returns survive which names all heads of households, 40,000 in total, in County Derry.
This collection of records also includes a further seven databases that are connected to the city of Londonderry (also known as Derry). They are:
- The earliest census of the city, namely the rent roll of 1628
- The names of 905 men from Derry and surrounding estates who defended Derry’s walls during the 1641 Rebellion
- The names of 1,660 supporters of Williamite campaign in Ireland of 1689 to 1691, many of whom fought at the Siege of Derry in 1689
- The names of 226 citizens of the city, in effect a census of the city at the end of the 17th century, who signed a petition condemning a Jacobite plot to assassinate King William III in 1696
- The names of 110 leaseholders within the walled city in 1738
- The names of 191 Derry men and women who were held in the County Jail on Bishop Street, from 1839 to 1856, awaiting transportation to Australia
- Reconstruction of census for Derry city during ‘the Troubles’ of 1920, extracted from Derry Almanac of 1921, which names 8,367 heads of households against their street address and house number
|1628||Rent Roll||153||Derry City|
|This Rent Roll, dated 15 May 1628, names 153 leaseholders within the walled city of Londonderry
This database contains 3 fields: Surname, First Name and Lot Number belonging to leaseholder
|1642||Garrison Muster Roll||905||Derry City|
|The ‘Muster rolls of foot companies in the garrison of Londonderry’, dated May 1642-August 1643, names 905 men in 9 foot companies, consisting of 90 officers and 815 soldiers, who defended Derry’s walls during the siege of 1641/42.
On 22 October 1641 the native Irish, under Sir Phelim O’Neill, rose in rebellion in Counties Londonderry and Tyrone, and the walled city of Londonderry became a refuge for Protestant settlers. A “League of the Captains of Londonderry” was set up to guard the city, with the raising of nine companies of foot soldiers, each assigned with a particular section of the walls of Derry to repair and to defend.
By April 1642 the city was close to starvation, with the rebel forces led by Sir Phelim O’Neill camped at Strabane. However, the threatened siege of Derry was lifted on 17 May 1642 by the defeat of the Irish army, led by the O’Cahans (O’Kanes), near Dungiven by an army consisting of east Donegal settlers and four Companies of soldiers from Londonderry.
This database consists of 4 fields: Surname, First Name, Rank and Foot Company.
|1663||Hearth Money Roll||2,781||Parishes of Co. Derry|
|1689||Fighers of Derry||1660||Northwest Ireland|
|‘Defenders of Londonderry’ refers to all those people (1,660 in total) who were named in contemporary sources and accounts as playing an active or supportive role in the successful Williamite campaign of 1689 to 1691 and were named in William R. Young’s Fighters of Derry Their Deeds and Descendants: Being a Chronicle of Events in Ireland during the Revolutionary Period 1688-1691 (published by Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1932).
Many of the ‘Defenders’ fought at the Siege of Derry, which commenced with the closing of its gates on 7 December 1688 and ended on 31 July 1689 with the Jacobite army in retreat after a relief fleet, with essential food supplies, managed to break through the boom of fir and iron cable across the River Foyle.
The database of ‘Defenders’ consists of 5 fields: Young’s ID, Surname, First Name, Residence; and Remarks. Young’s ID refers to the identity number used by William Young for the ‘defender’ in his book. With this number researchers can consult Young’s book to verify or gain additional information about any ‘defender’ recorded in the database. Biographical detail, where provided by Young, about a ‘defender’ and their planter origins in England, Scotland or Wales is inserted in the Remarks column.
|1696||Resolution condemning assassination plot against William III||226||Derry City|
|A resolution, signed by 226 citizens of Londonderry, expressing condemnation of the plot to assassinate King William, was copied into the minute book of Londonderry Corporation on 16 April 1696. This is, in effect, a census of the walled city of Londonderry at the end of the ‘Plantation’ period. It is very noticeable that baptism, marriage and burial entries relating to many of these people are recorded in the registers of St. Columb’s Cathedral, which commence in 1642.
There was a considerable surge in support for William III, who reigned as King of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1689 until his death on 8 March 1702, following the exposure of a Jacobite plan to assassinate him in 1696.
This database contains 3 fields: Surname, First Name and Remarks
|1738||Archibald Stewart’s Survey||110||Derry City|
|Archibald Stewart’s Survey of 1738 names 110 leaseholders within walled city of Londonderry
This database contains 3 fields: Surname, First Name and Lot Number belonging to leaseholder
|1740||Protestant Householders Lists||9,675||Parishes of County Derry and Inishowen, Donegal|
|1766||Religious Census||5,323||Parishes of Artrea, Ballynascreen, Banagher, Bovevagh, Derryloran, Desertlyn, Desertmartin, Drumachose, Dungiven and Magherafelt in County Derry and Parishes of Donaghmore and Inch in County Donegal|
|Religious Census of 1766 – Returns survive for 10 civil parishes in County Derry|
|1796||Flax Growers Lists||7,122||Parishes of County Derry and Inishowen, Donegal|
|1803||Private Census||333||Parish of Faughanvale|
|1831||1831 Census||40,916||Parishes of County Derry|
|No Year||Tithe||Parish of Templemore in Deanery of Derry|
|1822||Tithe||Parish of Desertoghill|
|1825||Tithe||Parishes of Artrea, Ballymoney, Ballynascreen and Errigal|
|1826||Tithe||Parishes of Arboe, Banagher, Derryloran, Drumachose, Kilrea, Tamlaght Finlagan and Tamlaghtard|
|1827||Tithe||Parishes of Bovevagh, Coleraine, Cumber Lower, Desertmartin, Lissan and Tamlaght|
|1828||Tithe||Parishes of Ballinderry, Ballyaghran, Ballyscullion, Balteagh, Cumber Upper, Desertlyn, Desertmartin, Dunboe, Kilcronaghan, Killowen, Macosquin, Maghera and Termoneeny|
|1829||Tithe||Parish of Magherafelt|
|1832||Tithe||Parishes of Aghadowey, Ballyrashane and Ballywillin|
|1833||Tithe||Parishes of Desertegny, Killelagh and Tamlaght OCrilly|
|1834||Tithe||Parishes of Clondermot, Dungiven and Kildollagh|
|1835||Tithe||Parish of Faughanvale|
|1839 to 1856||Derry Transportation Registers||191||Derry City|
|The Transportation Register identifies those people, male and female, who were tried and sentenced to transportation to Australia and were held ‘in the Gaol of the County of Londonderry’ in the time period 1839 to 1856 inclusive. In other words these men and women were convicted of committing crimes in County Derry and were held, prior to transportation, in the county jail on Bishop Street in Derry city. This jail closed in 1953 and was demolished in 1971, except for one turret of the jail which still stands today.
This database contains 7 fields: Surname, First Name, Age, Year Tried, Crime, Length of Transportation Sentence (in Years) and identification of cases where Sentence was commuted
|1921||Derry Almanac and Directory||8,367||Derry City|
|Derry Almanac and Directory of 1921 name 8,000 heads of household in Derry city. From 1868 right through to 1949 inclusive each annual edition of the Derry Almanac and Directory contained a ‘Street Directory’ where heads of households were identified against their street address in Derry city. The recording of house numbers, against each householder, first appeared in the Almanac of 1897.
As the 1926 census for Northern Ireland was used for waste paper in World War II the first census that survives for city and county of Londonderry, since 1911, is for 1937 and this will be available for inspection in the year 2038 (unless the 100 year closure rule is waived before then). This means that each annual edition of Derry Almanac is the closest surviving census document for Derry city in the period from 1912 to 1936.
This database contains 5 fields: Surname, First Name, Street, House Number and Page Number