Counting the people
A survey of the Irish censuses, 1813–1911
This book provides a comprehensive survey of the Irish censuses from 1813 to 1911. Several eminent Victorian polymats, such as Thomsa Larcom, William Wilde (father of Oscar) and Thomas W. Grimshaw, were involved in the design and organization of successive census-taking exercises, and their labours produced works of great value to economic and social historians. The censuses of 1851 and 1861, in particular, are unsurpassed in their breadth of their scholarship.
This guide is in four sections. The first covers the history and development of census-taking in Ireland. The second considers the geographical and political units used in the censuses for the presentation of the data. Thirdly, the study discusses the major themes covered by the various censuses between 1821 and 1911. Finally, examples are given of the uses historians have made of census material. Students and others interested in many aspects of Irish history during the nineteenth century should find this book a valuable guide to using these volumes for research.
Margaret Crawford is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Social Research at Queen's University Belfast. She is the co-author of Mapping the Great Irish Famine (1999).