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Surviving Ejectment Books - Also eviction letter re Co. Clare

Replies: 75

Surviving Ejectment Books - Also eviction letter re Co. Clare

Posted: 939816000000
Classification: Query
Edited: 993231521000
Surnames: Kennedy, Mahon
There is an almost complete set of Ejectment Books for County Clare from 1816 to 1914. These documents of the Circuit Court list applications from landlords seeking to evict their tenants. Per "Irish Roots" genealogy periodical published in Ireland, they are a "wealth of information" and an ejectment might explain a family's disappearance from a townland or parish. Women were often given with their full names and sometimes their maiden names. Information generally includes names of members of the family, others involved in the case, location of specific farms, previous occupiers of the land, landlords, details of the lease. Where several tenants are listed they represent a substitute townland census.

The surviving Ejectment Books are listed in the Circuit Court County Indexes which are at the National Archives, Dublin. The actual records are currently (1997) held at the Four Courts so it is necessary to order them a day in advance through the National Archives, Bishop Street, Dublin. Note, the "old" classifications (P and Q) are old catalogue card numbers and these records may not have survived. Look for those stamped "Salv. 1922" and those with "new" catalogue numbers in red ink, which imply surviving records.

The Ejectment books are written in longhand and with minimal punctuation, but they give much more information on families than do the tithe applotment books. Some abbreviations are found in the records such as "a", which is felt to represent "against," and "PP" which might stand for "proven process", and "C" for case. Numbers at the top of the page indicate the case number.

Co. Clare is fortunate in that the Civil Bills of the Circuit Court also appear to have survived the 1922 fire at the Four Courts.

Ejectments must have touched every family in Ireland. For the poor, it was something to be constantly dreaded. Eviction was regarded as nothing less than death by slow torture. (Over three thousand persons, including 84 widows, were evicted from the estate of Major Denis Mahon at Strokestown, Co. Roscommon in 1847 alone.)

Evictions often preceded at a rate of 150 persons a week, with sometimes 40 to 50 houses levelled in a single day. Evictions seldom took place without the levelling of houses.

Capt. Kennedy, the Poor Law Inspector for Co. Clare wrote, "The number in receipt of out-door relief on 24th March, 1849, was 22,661 at a weekly cost of 559 pounds for food alone."

On August 13, 1848, Capt. Kennedy had written to the Poor Law Commissioners stating:

"These helpless creatures are not only unhoused but driven off the lands, no one remaining on the lands being allowed to lodge or harbour them. It is obvious they must go somewhere till disease and privation thin their numbers, and whenever they acquire a residence the proprieter must eventually suffer, both in purse and character for the neglect or cupidity of others. Without means or energy they cannot emigrate, and without employment they cannot exist but on the rates. When the winter sets in these evicted destitute will be in an awful plight, as their temporary sheds, behind ditches or old fences, are quite unfit for human habitation, and if they attempted to build anything permanent they would be immediately demolished."

- British Parliamentary Papers, 1849

SubjectAuthorDate Posted
jeanrice 939816000000 
Larry Brennan 940161600000 
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jeanrice 940593600000 
Kevin McKenna 940593600000 
jeanrice 940766400000 
Kevin McKenna 940852800000 
jeanrice 940852800000 
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Kevin McKenna 940852800000 
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