A Special Census of Northern Ireland for Genealogists
Here is an example of a 'survey' with great family value.
It is a source for land records with historical notations
on Counties Armagh, Tyrone, Donegal, Cavan, and
Fermanagh, plus notes on Londonderry (Derry).
It includes names of Catholics and Protestants.
Rare 17th Century 'Census'
In 1618 Pynnar was given orders to survey the lands that
had changed hands in the plantation of Ulster. What
improvements had been made, the general state of the
property, etc... The gaelic order of Ireland had fallen and
would collapse completely by the end of the century.
This is part of the early documentation of the new settlers
of the land from Scotland, England, etc..
Pynnar’s survey is useful for those researching family
history in Ireland. It surveys the people as well as the
land and buildings ( including text & more modern
His survey includes the names of owners, names of
previous owners, and the relationships between some
of those named. Those names are, of course, tied to
specific plots of land in the survey. For example,
Gerald Fleming, who died in 1615 is given, and it is
noted that his son was 26 years old and married
at that time. Other family relationships are shown,
widows are given, as are children. In this case, most
of the references will be to those who settled the
land, and not the native Irish of the day. It remains
an account of individuals and their land that is not
often found in other works.
I suppose a few terms need explaining when reading
the history of this era. You will find the term ‘undertaker’,
which means one who ‘undertook’ to settle the land
in Ireland, displacing the native Irish who originally
owned it. (Now, all these folks are dead now by several
hundred years, but the havoc in the wake of the
overthrow of a native culture is still with us today,
but that is for another time.) We are here to help
folks research family history of any family that lived in
The other term is ‘plantation’, which means the
‘planting’ of settlers in Ireland with the support of the
British Crown. It has nothing to do with the notion
of a ‘cotton field plantation’ in the southern regions
of the U.S.. The plantation of Ireland, by 1618,
was a young but successful endeavor which naturally
pitted the new settlers against the former landowners.
Excerpt from “Pynnar’s Survey. A Special Census...”
“Sir Alexander Hamilton(55) the first patentee. Jane
Hamilton (56), late wife to Claude Hamilton, deceased,
hath 2,000 acres, called Carrotobber and Clonkine.
Upon this Proportion there is a strong castle, and
a Bawne of Lime and Stone thouroughly finished
with her family living there (....and in the over 1/2
page of footnotes on this family are given other
inhabitants in 1629, namely George Griffin, Francis
Cofyn, Stephen Hunt, and Richard Lighterfoot, all
of whom had been granted deeds.)”
Family Name Changes
There are many notes on family names, locations
and backgrounds. Of the name of John Whisher,
Hill gives that it is 'now' written as Wishart,
and that Carew writes it as Wyhard, and that he
had returned to Scotland and returned and
suffered many misfortunes. We also find lists
of tenants who were not landowners in addition
to the 'census' type material.
Many Families Given
There are hundreds of families and specific plots
of land. Some of the families listed several times
in the work are: Acheson; Alexander; Bingley;
Beresford; ODonnelly; O'Boyle; Browne;
Chichester; McCaffery; Butler; McBryan; Cole;
Dillon; Hamilton (over 30 index listings); Moore;
Maguire; Oneale; OReilly; Stewart; Richardson;
Wilson; and Wray.....
This is just one example of an historical work
furnishing great genealogical information.
It is admittedly one of the better sources I have
found and published for family research in
Ireland, beyond a simple listing of a name.
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About the author
Mike descends from the O’Loughlins of Kilfenora, County Clare,
and the O’Donahues of Glenflesk, County Kerry. He also bears
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