by Ken MacDermotRoe
For the Irish genealogist, the 18th century is a particularly difficult period in which to research. In the 19th century, the researcher may avail himself of the Tithe Applotment Books, Griffiths Valuation, church records and, for the latter part of the century, civil vital statistics records. However, in the 18th century, the researcher often has few records to work with and these records, such as real estate transactions and will indices, record only a small proportion of the population.
Thus, the MacDermots Roe are especially fortunate to have available the Elphin Census of 1749. This Census covering about 20,000 individuals living in the Diocese of Elphin, (much of County Roscommon and some adjoining areas) is unique among 18th century Irish records. It provides a rare and valuable glimpse at real population figures in Ireland in mid-18th century Connaught.
The Census of Elphin was undertaken at the instance of Elphin Bishop Edward Synge. Bishop Synge of the Protestant Church of Ireland was particularly interested in learning the percentages of Protestant and Catholics in the diocese. Nonetheless, his census takers went well beyond a mere religious census. Every family in Elphin Diocese is shown in the Census with the name of the head of the household, as well as, the family's location by parish and townland. The Census, also, contains valuable information, such as the resident's occupation, the number of his children by age category and his religion.
The Elphin Census covers the following areas:
Source: Irish Origins, Elphin Census of 1749, Marie-Louise Begg, editor
Notes: All MacDermot Roe families were Catholic except for Phil of Oxhill who was recorded as Protestant. "Mattw" was a son of Henry Baccach and Mary MacDermot Roe of Alderford, Kilronan Parish.
Copyright Biatach 2014