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Guide to County Clare ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.
- 1 Background
- 2 Resources
- 3 Archives and Libraries
- 4 Societies
- 5 Websites
- 6 References
Background[edit | edit source]
County Clare is a maritime county of the province of Munster, bounded on the east and south by Lough Derg and the river Shannon, which successively separate it from the counties of Tipperary, Limerick, and Kerry; on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the north-west by Galway bay; while on the north and north-east an imaginary boundary separates it from the county of Galway. As of 1837, County Clare comparises an area of 802,352 acres. The population in 1821 was 208,089 and in 1831, 258,262.
The county name comes from the Irish word Clár, meaning a bridge of planks, and a bridge was used to cross the River Fergus at the town Clare (now Clarecastle town). The county covers 1231 square miles (3188 sq km). Its greatest length is 67 miles from Loop Head to the boundary near Lough Atorick on the northeast corner and the greatest breadth is 37 miles from Black Head to the shore west of Bunratty.
In the old Gaelic system, this county was part of the Kingdom of Thomond. This area was subject to raids by the Danish Vikings during the ninth to the eleventh centuries; which were eventually defeated by the O’Briens (a major family in Thomond). The Normans then invaded the area and the land was granted to Thomas de Clare, who never gained control of the area. The English established the county boundaries in the sixteenth century. Initially, Clare was part of Connaught and it became part of Munster in 1639. Following the defeat of the 1641 rebellion of the Catholic Confederacy, Clare was set aside to accommodate the "delinquent proprietors", i.e. those proprietors whose land was confiscated because they did not actively oppose the rebellion. Parts of the lands of the existing Clare landholders were confiscated to accommodate these landholders.
Clare is also known as the “banner county” after the custom of carrying banners to political meetings. Daniel O’Connell was welcomed by many banners at the Clare election in 1828 and the freeholders marched with banners to the Ennis courthous to cast their votes for O’Connell on that occasion.
The population was 208,089 in 1821 and grew to 286,394. It was greatly affected by the potato famine and its population decreased to 212,440 in 1851. The population continued to decrease until it was only 95,064 in 1926. In 2006, the population was 110,950. The predominant religion in the county is Roman Catholic. In 1871, 97.7% of the population were Roman Catholic followed by the Church of Ireland at 2% with 0.2% being Presbyterian. Overtime there has been a slight increase in the percentage of Roman Catholic to 98.8% in 1926. In 1926, the Church of Ireland decreased to 0.87% with 0.06% and 0.01% being Presbyterian and Methodist, respectively.
Further information about County Clare is available at GENUKI.
Resources[edit | edit source]
Cemeteries[edit | edit source]
- Clare County Cemetery Records
- Clare Cemetery Records - transcriptions of cemetery records in some cemeteries
- Clare Headstone Photos
Census[edit | edit source]
- County Clare Old Age Pensions (information gathered from the 1841 & 1851 Ireland censuses before they were destroyed)
The parish of Miltown Malbay took a census in 1839. The transcription and images can be found at Clare Census Records.
- Clare Census Substitutes - includes landowners of County Clare in the 1870s
Church Records[edit | edit source]
List of County Clare Catholic Parishes.
- Particulars of Catholic parochial registers : Diocese of Killaloe images
- Marriage licenses : Diocese of Killaloe, 1680-1762 images
- Clare Church Records
Civil Registration[edit | edit source]
- 1845-1913 - Ireland Civil Registration, 1845-1913 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1845-1958 - Ireland Civil Registration Indexes, 1845-1958 at FamilySearch — index and images
Civil Jurisdictions[edit | edit source]
- List of County Clare Civil Parishes
Estate Records[edit | edit source]
Genealogy[edit | edit source]
- Pedigrees : of Counties Clare, Galway and Limerick families
- MacLysaght manuscript, ca. 1500-1940
- Blake-Butler : family records
Land and Property[edit | edit source]
- 1781-1815 - Draft rental of Wm. Fitzgerald's yearly income
- 1831-1856 - Ireland, Valuation Office Books, 1831-1856 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1853 - Valuation office miscellaneous books, County Clare, 1853
- 1855-1947 - General valuation revision lists, Ballyvaghan Union (Clare), 1855-1947
- 1855-1934 - General valuation revision lists, Corrofin Union (Clare), 1855-1934
- 1888-1894 - Rental of the estate of the Right Honorable Lord Emly, 1888-1894
- Clare Land Records
Maps[edit | edit source]
- 1885 County Map: Courtesy of London Ancestor
There is an amazingly detailed interactive map from Ordnance Survey Ireland that covers not only Clare, but the whole of Ireland. You can zoom in to see extremely fine detail. The map provides historic map overlays (see the check boxes underneath "Data Catalogue") that clearly show the townlands, roads, towns, homes, fields, estates, etc. Some churches and cemeteries are included. Several overlays are provided.
Military[edit | edit source]
Newspapers[edit | edit source]
- FindMyPast ($) has thousands of newspapers from County Clare available online
- Clare Newspaper Records
- Clare Obituaries
Other Records[edit | edit source]
Place-Names[edit | edit source]
Here are two important place-name aids/tools for locating your Irish place and its parish jurisdiction(s):
- The IreAtlas Townland Database - click County "Clare"; then click "Submit" to view a complete alphabetical listing of all townlands, towns and townships and the parishes in which they lay
- Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel A. Lewis - provides a rich 1837 historical perspective of each Ireland parish and large township; great for determining which churches existed in each parish--Church of Ireland or Nonconformist
Poor Law Records[edit | edit source]
Probate[edit | edit source]
- 1858-1888 - Limerick District will books, 1858-1888
School[edit | edit source]
Archives and Libraries[edit | edit source]
County Clare Library
Telephone: 065 6821616
Societies[edit | edit source]
Websites[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Lewis, Samuel. "Clare, County of," A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837, LibraryIreland, accessed 22 August 2018.