Census Records

A 1. Census Records and Census Substitutes



1901 and 1911 Census

Because of the destruction of the Four Courts building during the Civil War, the earliest surviving complete records are for the censuses taken in 1901 and 1911.  We hold microfilm copies of both the 1901 and 1911 Census returns for the County, [originals in the National Archives].  These lists all those present in the household on the night of the census (31st March 1901, and on a range of dates from January to May 1911), their relationship to the householder, religion, occupation, age and other personal details.  The returns are arranged by District Electoral Division and townland.   *Microfilm


Other records in this category can be classed as census substitutes.


Muster Rolls

Dating from1630, this is the oldest census substitute record we hold.  It is a list of able-bodied men able to fight, if needed, for the Crown, listed by barony and ‘undertaker’.  It is reprinted in Donegal Annual Vol. 10 (2). 1972. pp 130-149, from the BM Add.  MS 4770  manuscript.


Civil Survey

This is a record of land ownership compiled between 1654 and 1656.  The Civil Survey for Donegal is printed, along with those for Derry and Tyrone, in a monograph published in 1937. [The Civil survey A.D. 1654-1656. Dublin: Stationery Officer, 1937].


Pender’s ‘Census’

This is a similar record, laid out by barony and townland, listing persons with title to land, the numbers of Irish and English, and principal Irish names (a valuable list).  It takes its name from Seamus Pender, who edited it, but it was compiled in 1659 by William Petty.  [Seamus Pender. A Census of Ireland circa 1659. Dublin: Stationery Officer, 1939].


Pynnar’s Survey

This is, like Pender’s Census, a survey of the native Irish tenants remaining on forfeited lands, and is contained in The Plantation in Ulster by George Hill. Belfast: M’Caw, Stevenson & Orr, 1877.  621p.


Hearth Money Rolls

These list the names of householders who were eligible to pay the Hearth Tax, and were compiled in 1665.  Ours is an indexed photocopy, from the PRONI T. 307/C manuscript.



Abstract of Wills in the Registry of Deeds

Volume 1  1708 - 1745

Volume 2  1746 - 1785

Volume 3  1785 - 1832.



This is a bound typescript of the owners of freeholds in Donegal, registered between 1760 and 1769.  The original manuscripts were found in the basement of Lifford Courthouse in 1933 and sent to the National Library.


Raphoe Marriage Registers

This is a photocopy of some 18th century Catholic marriages in the Protestant registers of the Diocese of Raphoe.


Protestant householders

A list of Protestant householders in the parish of Leck in 1766 is reprinted in Lecky’s The Laggan and its Presbyterianism (1905).  This also lists Hearth Money Rolls for East Donegal [1665], tenants on the Abercorn estate, and householders in St. Johnston, both 1794.


Parish of Culdaff

This is a photocopy of a List of persons in the Parish of Culdaff, March 8th, 1782.


Spinning-wheel premium lists/the “Flax List”

This is a photocopy of those persons in Donegal to whom a premium was paid in 1796, in connection with the spinning of flax.



These are lists of landholders, originally compiled as the basis for compulsory payments to the local rector, on behalf of the Church of Ireland, (the established church). We hold the Tithe Applotment books for the parishes of Aghaninshin (1834), Aughnish (1830), Burt (183-); Desertegney (183-) and Donegal (183-).  That for Mevagh (1827) is reprinted in Leslie Lucas’s Mevagh down the years Belfast: Appletree Press, 1982. [originals in the National Archives].  *Microfilm


Other Photocopied Material

‘Donegal remembers World War I dead’ (a list of men from the County  who fought and died in World War I).

A List of families in the Parish of Conwal 1878 / compiled by W. Craig.

Old Letterkenny families / compiled by Sam Fleming.

Murlog Church baptisms 1773-1777.

St. Eunan’s Letterkenny: List of Marriage Lines 1857.

Protestant householders in the parish of Templecrone 1799

List of High Sheriffs of County Donegal 1702-1921

List of tenants on William Connolly’s estate 1718-1726 (Donegal Annual 1981)