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


Family History

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.

Undertakers ?

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.

Contact me

You can reach the Irish Roots Cafe on Twitter; Facebook;

www.IrishRoots.com; and by mail at our U.S. location:

Mike O’Laughlin

The Irish Roots Cafe

Box 7575

Kansas City, Missouri 64116

Leave a message on our Phone (816) 256-3360

©2010 IGF, This information is intended

for personal non-commercial use only. Since 1984.


About the author

Mike O’Laughlin

Mike descends from the O’Loughlins of Kilfenora, County Clare,

and the O’Donahues of Glenflesk, County Kerry. He also bears

Sullivan, Buckley, Kilmartin, Llewellyn and Kelliher roots.

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