Last Saturday myself along with a group from The Interiors Association took a tour of Georgian Dublin where we visited some of Dublin’s many beautiful Georgian buildings. Along the way we were treated to guided tours where we learned about the history of the buildings, and the people who lived there over a hundred years ago.

One street we visited was Henrietta Street on the Northside of the city.  Once famous for it’s wide cobble stone avenue and immense red brick houses, Henrietta Street was home to Dublin’s wealthiest aristocrats.  Sadly by the early 1900′s the street fell into disrepair and those once impressive houses became filthy slums housing up to 14 families at a time.  They, along with many others of their kind across the city became known as “The Tenements”

Henrietta Street 7680218268 500x333 Photo of the Week   20th July 2013

So following Saturday’s tour, I decided to search the National Archives to find out a bit more about my family.  

The National Archives Genealogy section has digitalised records for both the 1901 and the 1911 Census of Ireland. Not only do they represent a valuable part of our heritage but they give a fascinating insight into how our own families lived all those years ago. 

 A bit of a “Who do you think you are” experience icon smile Photo of the Week   20th July 2013

1911 census form 500x298 Photo of the Week   20th July 2013

My Grandfather James Hughes aged 14 listed on the 1911 Census of Ireland

My grandparents were born and raised in Kilmainham in the early 1900′s.  In fact my Great Aunt would regularly tell us wonderful (and very often not so wonderful) stories of life during the 1916 rising.

But until last Saturday I didn’t understand HOW they lived!  For instance I never realised that my grandfather along with his parents and 6 siblings lived in 2 rooms in a house they shared with 3 other families.  A total of 28 people living in one house!

1911 Census House and Builidng Return 500x259 Photo of the Week   20th July 2013

Nor did I realise that my great grandmother had 12 children by the time she was 40 and only 8 survived.  (My granddad’s youngest sister is not listed on the 1911 census as she wasn’t born until the following year).

Mary Hughes 1911 Census1 500x115 Photo of the Week   20th July 2013

The Online Census, Ireland is a fantastic directory fully searchable by name; county; religion; literacy etc. It’s fascinating learning about how our ancestors lived just over a hundred year ago.

Certainly makes you grateful for what you have today.

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