Thursday, 2 July 2009

1911 and 1912

Until recently, with Irish Censuses being either wholly or partly destroyed, we had to rely on 'Census Substitutes'. One such is the Ulster Covenant signed in 1912 by both men and women who wanted to protest against the British Government's proposals for Irish Home Rule. We now have on line the 1911 Census and we can compare this with the rather minimal information in the Covenant. One of the interesting things we can do is to compare the signatures on the two documents for we have the originals of both - the Ulster Covenant signatures being on the Internet site of the Provincial Record Office for Northern Ireland (PRONI) - but that is for another time.

The basic statistics as far as our clan is concerned are as follows. The total number of names: Census 114, Covenant 45. The Covenant signatures were all adults, with the probable exception of one working 14-year old boy. The Census is made up of 24 'heads of households', 49 other adults (including 14 teenagers over school-leaving age) and 41 children.  It seems certain (or almost certain) that 21 adults on the Census signed the Covenant, and that another 8 almost certainly did. This leaves 14 Covenant signatures that may or may not be on the Census and two which certainly were not for they gave an address in Belgium. Presumably they had returned to Ulster specifically to make their protest.

What else does the Census reveal? 24 'heads', 17 wives, 42 sons and one grandson, 23 daughters and one grand-daughter, two brothers and one sister, one 'children's nurse' and one 'boarder'. Where were they all born? 93 in County Antrim, 16 in Belfast, 3 in County Derry, one each in Counties Down and Armagh. Everyone declared a Christian denomination: Presbyterian 78; Church of Ireland 10; Plymouth Brethren 9; Baptist 8; Methodist 4; City Mission 3 and Roman Catholic one. What occupations? Farming 8 (Farmer 2; Farm Labourer or Servant 4; Flax Buncher or Scrutcher 2). Railway workers 6 (Clerk, Carter, Porter, Fireman, Engine Cleaner and 'Burling Engine Man'). In businesses 10 (Coal Vendor, Hawker, Oil Merchant, Clerks, Office Boys and girls). Craftspeople 10 (Carpenters, Shipwrights, Weavers, Gas Worker, Seamstresses). In Food 4 (Fruiterer, Bakers, Confectioner). Labourers 7 (Iron, Tobacco, Shipyard, General). And lastly a Child's Nurse to a GP. Finally, in which Registration District did they live? Shankill 26, Killagan 16, Ballymena 13, Kells 11, Belfast 10, Ormeau, Down 10, Clifton 8, Woodvale 6, Duncairn 4, Ballyclare 3, Kilroghts and Connor 2 each; Bangor, Court and Pottinger one each.

What we can learn from the 1911 Census and from a comparison of it with the 1912 Covenant of Ulster about the different families must be left for another day.

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