People of Irish origin face a challenging task when they attempt to trace their early roots. Church records in Ireland such as registers of baptism, marriage, and burial–which are so essential to research elsewhere in the British Isles–are hardly comprehensive. For example, very few Catholic Church registers are extant prior to the mid-18th century. The earliest ones, though incomplete, exist for the town of Wexford from 1671. There are a few Church of Ireland registers but most date from around 1770. The vast majority of Presbyterian churches date from the 1670s. (On the other hand, the Society of Friends [Quakers] has maintained excellent records dating from the mid-17th century.)
Family historians seeking their 17th-century Irish roots are, therefore, faced with using a wide range of alternative source material, both published and manuscript. Much of this is original material in Ireland not accessible to the ordinary researcher, while some of the publications can be located in only a few specialist libraries, such as The National Library of Ireland in Dublin or the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast. It is these impediments that David Dobson’s new series, The People of Ireland, 1600-1699, attempts to circumvent.
This work draws on primary sources, such as published government records, together with references found in Irish, English, Scottish, and Dutch archives. The single most important source used in this work is the series of published Calendar of State Papers relating to Ireland. Published in London between 1860 and 1910, the many volumes of this series contain a storehouse of genealogical information for the period 1509 to 1670. Included among the documents are letters and petitions to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from English officers, noblemen, native Irish chieftains, and mayors and corporations of towns in Ireland. Among the important sources consulted for this volume are denizations resulting from the “Act for encouraging Protestant Strangers and Others to inhabit and plant in the Kingdom of Ireland.”
The aim of this series is to provide information on ordinary people throughout 17th-century Ireland–with the exception of people of Scottish origin who have been dealt with in Dr. Dobson’s Scots-Irish Links, 1575-1725 series. Thus, the people listed here are predominantly of native Irish and immigrant English origin, as well as a handful of Huguenot and Dutch immigrants. For Part Three, Dr. Dobson provides sketches of about 1,600 additional inhabitants of Ireland, bringing the grand total so far uncovered in the series to just under 5,000. Following are several illustrations from Part Three, minus the source citations:
Allott, Thomas, a tailor from Barnsley, Yorkshire, England, was denizised in Ireland, 5 January 1669.
Lackworth, Robert, a gentleman in the parish of Shankell, barony of Clanbrassell, County Armagh, 1659.
O’Mullen, Phelim McCole, of Balledunnegan, County Londonderry, pardoned for sheep stealing, 29 July 1625.
Spicer, Alexander, rector of Atholhill alias Miherahohill, diocese of Conner, also rector of Leakespatrick, diocese of Derry, 5 December 1625.