Nicola Morris M.A.G.I.

There is nothing more helpful to the genealogist when a record set contains an additional element. The parish priest of Enniscorthy helpfully enumerated the Catholic population of his parish in 1861, in tandem with the national census of that year. While the national census returns were destroyed, this record has endured.

Within the parochial registers for the Roman Catholic parish of Enniscorthy, published by the National Library of Ireland ( can be found this manuscript, headed: Census of the Inhabitants of the Parish of Enniscorthy. Commenced – April 17th 1861.

The parish priest recorded, by address, the Catholic inhabitants. Protestant families were enumerated on the opposite page in the early part of the census, but with very limited detail. For the Catholic families enumerated, the names of the household members were recorded, apparently with the head of the household first, followed by their wife, in some instances recorded as ‘Mrs.’ And then presumably the children of the house. However, in many cases the ages of the children were recorded, along with other useful details about the household.

The household of Richard Rossiter consisted of his wife, Mrs. Rossiter alias Williams and Mary Richard’s sister. In fact many, but not all, married women’s maiden names were included in the census.

The household of John Doyle recorded him as John Doyle Senr (English John) along with John Doyle Junr, Mrs. Doyle and Mary, 4 yrs and John, Annie and Kate, presumably younger children. With three John Doyles in the house, we can only assume that English John was the father of John junior, who in turn was married with a young son, John, probably less than 4 years of age.

The neighbouring house was headed by Paddy Connor pump man with Widow Purcell his sister and John Purcell as well as a family of Lodgers, the Kinsellas. As Widow Purcell was a Catholic who married prior to 1864, no marriage record would confirm her father to be the same as that of Paddy Connor.

The household of Denis Leary included his wife Mrs. Mary Leary and children, Cath., in Liverpool and Mary married D. Butler in D[itt]o [Liverpool], as well as Dora, Bessie, John and Jenny, although the parish priest noted that the child John was not confirmed. Alongside the family’s entry was written Emigrated. Other families who later emigrated to Liverpool were also noted.

In the house of Michael Byrne was enumerated his wife Bessy and children, John, Bessie and Tony, with a notation beside the children 1st Marriage, suggesting Bessy was Michael’s second wife, the children a product of his first.

Luke Cullen household

The family of Luke Cullen appear to have fallen on hard times. Luke Cullen was enumerated with Bess, his wife and children, Anne, Mary, Pat, Lizzie, John and Thomas, but Luke was recorded as dead and beside the remainder of his family was written Workhouse.

While many of the additional details included by the enumerator were gathered in April 1861, it would appear that some information were updates, added later in a different ink or slightly different hand. A very detailed note was included for a daughter of John Brennan. John Brennan and his wife Mrs. Mary alias Heran had the following children enumerated in 1861: John (age 14), Mary (age 12), Martin (age 10), Kate (age 7), William (age 5) and Eliza (age 3), but following their entry was the note Margaret born July 1865. Emigrated to USA. Married a man named Grogan. Erected a tombstone in Cath. Cemetery Enniscorthy to her father + mother.

Much of this information was gathered prior to the start of civil registration in 1864 and while the surviving Roman Catholic baptismal and marriage registers for the parish of Enniscorthy date from the late 18th century, this census provides detail that may not otherwise be found, such as occupations, maiden names, nicknames, extended family, details of deaths prior to 1864, emigration and workhouse admission.