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Finding Irish ancestors is notoriously difficult, as many Irish records were destroyed in archival disasters, most notably when the Public Record Office was blown up in 1922. Now, for the first time ever, surviving Irish census records from 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851 can be searched and viewed exclusively at findmypast, in partnership with the National Archives of Ireland.

These highly detailed records cover large parts of County Cavan, Fermanagh, Galway, Offaly (King’s), and Meath in 1821, Derry/Londonderry in 1831, Cavan in 1841, and Antrim in 1851, and contain the details of over 600,000 people. The amount of information varies depending on the census date, but many records list an individual’s name, age, occupation, townland, parish and address. Some later census forms also list whether a person could read and write, as well as their religion.