Surviving Ejectment Books - Also eviction letter re Co. Clare
There is an almost complete set of Ejectment Books for County Clare from 1816 to 1914. These documents of the Circuit Court list applications from landlords seeking to evict their tenants. Per "Irish Roots" genealogy periodical published in Ireland, they are a "wealth of information" and an ejectment might explain a family's disappearance from a townland or parish. Women were often given with their full names and sometimes their maiden names. Information generally includes names of members of the family, others involved in the case, location of specific farms, previous occupiers of the land, landlords, details of the lease. Where several tenants are listed they represent a substitute townland census.
The surviving Ejectment Books are listed in the Circuit Court County Indexes which are at the National Archives, Dublin. The actual records are currently (1997) held at the Four Courts so it is necessary to order them a day in advance through the National Archives, Bishop Street, Dublin. Note, the "old" classifications (P and Q) are old catalogue card numbers and these records may not have survived. Look for those stamped "Salv. 1922" and those with "new" catalogue numbers in red ink, which imply surviving records.
The Ejectment books are written in longhand and with minimal punctuation, but they give much more information on families than do the tithe applotment books. Some abbreviations are found in the records such as "a", which is felt to represent "against," and "PP" which might stand for "proven process", and "C" for case. Numbers at the top of the page indicate the case number.
Co. Clare is fortunate in that the Civil Bills of the Circuit Court also appear to have survived the 1922 fire at the Four Courts.
Ejectments must have touched every family in Ireland. For the poor, it was something to be constantly dreaded. Eviction was regarded as nothing less than death by slow torture. (Over three thousand persons, including 84 widows, were evicted from the estate of Major Denis Mahon at Strokestown, Co. Roscommon in 1847 alone.)
Evictions often preceded at a rate of 150 persons a week, with sometimes 40 to 50 houses levelled in a single day. Evictions seldom took place without the levelling of houses.
Capt. Kennedy, the Poor Law Inspector for Co. Clare wrote, "The number in receipt of out-door relief on 24th March, 1849, was 22,661 at a weekly cost of 559 pounds for food alone."
On August 13, 1848, Capt. Kennedy had written to the Poor Law Commissioners stating:
"These helpless creatures are not only unhoused but driven off the lands, no one remaining on the lands being allowed to lodge or harbour them. It is obvious they must go somewhere till disease and privation thin their numbers, and whenever they acquire a residence the proprieter must eventually suffer, both in purse and character for the neglect or cupidity of others. Without means or energy they cannot emigrate, and without employment they cannot exist but on the rates. When the winter sets in these evicted destitute will be in an awful plight, as their temporary sheds, behind ditches or old fences, are quite unfit for human habitation, and if they attempted to build anything permanent they would be immediately demolished."
- British Parliamentary Papers, 1849
Jean, Could you tidy up an entry I have made in Canada-Unknown Queries under Church records for county Clare. I have listed all the Parishes under their current name in county Clare along with the dates of the records which the various parishes have.
We met on the Sligo page re workhouses. My Co Clare ggrandmother was Annie St Laurence of Ogonnelloe (married to Michael McKenna of Ballyloughnane, Ogonnelloe.
Unfortunately the Clare Heritage Centre was unable to find any record relating to their marriage.
A John St Laurence was one of the sponsors of my gfather's sister Mary McKenna on 13 Aug 1869 and was probably my ggmothers brother. The John St Laurence who was a defendant in the case you cite could well have been my gggrandfather.
The farm next door to my ancestors farm in the townland of Ballyloughnane (sold out of the family in 1997) is still occupied by a St Laurence family.
Due to lack of records I have not found out who my ggrandparents parents were.
Just about all the land in the Parish of Ogonnelloe was leased by the Purdon's, whose name features prominently in wall plaques in the Irish protestant church in Killaloe. One to William Causabon Purdon as well.
I keep finding info from you on the web. Great research and most helpful Thanks. Kevin McKenna
More on Ejectment Books - Co. Clare
The Ejectment Books are a little-known resource, but they contain much information. There are 17 Co. Clare ejectment books (including two that are missing) for the period 1816-1850. There are another 28 books for the years 1850-1914. Co. Clare has the largest number of surviving ejectment books as they were not at the Four Courts when it burned in 1922. Also surviving are the Civil Bills of the Circuit Court.
Throughout the 19th century, Ireland's impoverished tenants eked out a precarious existence from the soil. Since the turn of the century rapid population growth had led to continual sub-division of farms and more marginal land being brought under cultivation. Townlands often teemed with tenants working uneconomic patches of reclaimed bog and mountain. The potato, which was the staple diet of the majority, was a crop subject to frequent blight. Harsh and oppressive laws, unfeeling landlords, the "hanging gale," and the fear of ejectment were features of daily life.
Random evictions had occurred throughout Ireland before the 1840s, but it was the dreadful famine years that turned a stream into a flood. Faced with a blighted potato crop, tenants were often forced to sell everything they had to feed their families. The ramshackle poor law which was intended to provide relief for the distressed now exacerbated a developing crisis. Landlords receiving little or no income from rents were still liable to pay rates on holdings rate at 4 pounds and under. The number of bankrupt estates under the Court of Chancery was evidence of the harsh economic pressures. For some landlords the choice was stark: evict the tenatry or face impoverishment themselves. For other landlords ejectment was an opportunity to be rid of an unnecessary expense. Numerous properties were sold under the Encumbered Estates Act at prices which failed to cover mortgages and debts The new owners, often from the merchant class, were even more relentness in their clearance of tenants than the established landlords.
The sessions in Clare took place at Ennis, Killaloee, Kilrush, Sixmilebridge and Tulla.
Below is a record of a proposed eviction:
Ennis Sessions, Tuesday, March 26th, 1833 - Case #5
M. Greene was the attorney for the plantiffs.
Wm. Causabon Purdon Esq., a prominent East Clare landlord, was the plantiff.
James Touhy and Michl. Ryan are listed and presumed to be legal officers, perhaps process servers or baliffs.
Tenants who are listed as defendants include:
Anne Toohy alias Finaun
John St. Laurence
The reason for the proposed eviction was as follows:
For non-payment of rent of all That and Those that farm in Belkelly formerly in the possession of Dominick Hogan and Peter Hogan, since decd., and now in the poss'ion of said Defts. (defendants). Bounded viz on the North and East sides by Patk. Kelly's farm and by James Barry's and Mathew Ryan's farms; on the South by the part of Doctor MacNamara's farm called Behernagh. Situated in the Parish of Ogonnelloe and Barony of Tulla. Yearly rent 35 pounds late Irish currency. Sum due 135 pounds Sterling present currency.
You can compare this list of the names of tenants being ejected in 1833 with the list of tenants assessed for tithes in 1825 in the tithe applotment book for Belkelly (Purdon) 1825:
James O'Dea, John St. Lawrence, Owen Tuohy, Michael Hourigan, Thos. Sheedy, and Patrick Coffee. Notice spelling variations from record to record. (Info. from article in "Irish Roots" genealogy periodical, 1997.)
The verdict of the court in this case was "Possession Decreed."
Hi, Scroll down to the bottom of that webpage and contact the host, see if he or she will edit it for you. Jean
Posted: 24 Oct 1999 12:00PM GMT
Edited: 29 Jul 2001 9:14AM GMT
Surnames: Cullinan, Browne, Brady, Brady, Halpin, Hogan, Mitchell, Culligan, Brislane, Finucane, English, Croker, O'Brien, Gibson, Rose, Power, Mitchell, O'Callaghan, Daxon, Ryan, McNamara, Meehan, Reddan, Hehir, Boland, Rice, Daly, Deady, Donnellan, Downes, Heath, Hynes, Reddan, O'Loghlen, Brennan, Leary, Burns, Carthy, Connell, Egan, Halloran, Kenny, Hehir, Connor, Kennedy, Stapelton, Curran, Browne, Neylon, Shea, Connell, Hawkins, McNamara, Clune, Malone, Conumane, McMahon, Hynes, Loughnane, Kennedy, Musgrave, Butler, Hartigan, Considine, Rourke, RobertWalsh, Curtin, O'Brien, Martin, Blood, Hickey, Cukkinan, Burley, Cunumane, Mullins, Flanagan, Burns, Doogan, Sayers, O'Connor, Connellan, Bane, Dillon, Treacy McTigue
All the above name are part of an article written by Michael J.Coffey in the Othe Clare Vol.22 1998 under the title of Ejactment Books.
Tulla Session Monday 1st. April 1839
Ennis Session Monday 4th. April 1825
Ennis Session 21st. October 1825
Sixmilebridge Session June 23rd. 1843
Information from Ejectment cases:
Where several tenants are listed they represent a substitute census
Since Landlords are named it should be easier to locate estate records.
Women are given their full name and sometimes their maiden name
An ejectment might explain a family's disappearance from a townland or parish
The location of specific farms, previous occupiers of a townland, and details of the lease
Researchers should not that it is necessary to order the Ejectment Books at Bishop St. Dublin a day in advance since they are not currently stored on the premises.
Co. Clare Heritage and Genealogical Centre -- LDS (Mormon) Family History Centers -- Grenham book
It would be wonderful if you go to Dublin, or ask someone to do a look-up for you and send you the material, as I think this person, John St. Laurence (St. Lawrence) must be connected to your Co. Clare, Ogonnelloe family! No doubt, there would be much information you could glean from the old records in the National Library of Ireland and the Genealogic Office, etc. You have the advantage of knowing quite a bit about the location of your ancestors.
Evidently, they were able to survive the ordeal of ejectment. Where did you family immigrate to, the USA? Give us a few details, as it might help someone else.
Per "Irish Roots," article:
Ennis Sessions, Tuesday, March 26th, 1833
Extract from County Clare Ejectment Book 1D 40 21.
Consider purchasing John Greham's wonderful book, "Tracing Your Irish Ancestors," (new ed. just out), Genealogic Publishing Co., or locate a slightly older edition in a library. It contains several pages devoted just to Co. Clare resources, and many chapters on general Irish records.
Have you tried the Co. Clare Heritage Center, Church St. Corofin, Co. Clare? They do searches of specific records as well as full searches. They are open Mon-Fri. 9-5:30.
Contact person is Antoinette O'Brien: Tele 065 6837955. http://clare.irishroots.net/
Have you tried the microfilmed Co. Clare records at the LDS (Mormon) Family History Center; they have many old census and census substitutes and rental (to be viewed at the FHC) is only $3.75 per film. They also have microfiched IGI birth/christening/marriage records pertaining to the 1860s, (some earlier, some later), on site (free) in their catalogue card drawers under "British Isles," subheading "Ireland." There should be 1-4 little black squares of fiche for Co. Clare. If you use the fiche, have the FHC volunteer place the largest magnifying lens into the microfiche reader for easy viewing; you can make photocopies right at the machine.
My informational posts are a "labor of love." Thank you for your comments. I posted some ideas for research at this location:http://cgi.rootsweb.com/~genbbs/qindex.html
Look for General Ireland Queries at the top of the index, click on "Deeds," scroll down through the Co. Mayo Landowner List until you find my recent post "Ideas for Research."
I am looking for info on my ggrandfather born in Longford, County Clare around 1840. Also for his wife Katherine Gorman born 1835 same County.
Yes I have info re sponsors, baptism dates, valuation info etc from thr Heritage Centre.
If you commisssioned the Clare Heritage Center to research your family then they would have looked at the very parish record I cited. They have indexed the parish registers. I have now looked at your internet tree and all those dates you have I assume are from the Clare Heritage Center. The film I cited would just be a duplicate of their work unless they failed to give you the sponsors/winesses info.
Just trying to save you some time & money.
Kathy Flynn, CGRS