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For anyone researching their ancestral roots in our parish, here is a helpful guide to get you started to and to let you know what is out there.

(Photo above) A hard working local man from Kindrum, Fanad (Clondavaddog) - Late 1800's

Quick summary of Irish Census Records from 1821 to 1911:

The first Irish Census Record was taken in 1813, but had so many flaws that the records were deemed useless and destroyed. A second, more successful, attempt was made in 1821 and a census was subsequently held every decade until 1911. The information contained in these census records varied according to the year but always included at least the names of all individuals, their ages and their relationships to their head of household, plus some basic data about their land or home. You could reasonably expect that after such extensive record-taking (taken 20 years before censuses in England, Scotland and Wales, and 30 years before the USA), an ancestral search through the 19th century shouldn’t be that hard...but sadly, that is not the case

The original census records for 1861 and 1871 were destroyed shortly after they are collected, and for some inexplicable reason (possibly for something as silly as a need to create additional storage space), the records for 1881 to 1891 were pulped, by government order, during the First World War.

Just a few years later, in 1922, an explosion and subsequent fire at the Public Records Office in Dublin destroyed most of the four censuses taken from 1821 to 1851.

Only a few fragments of these censuses survive.This means that the Irish censuses of 1901 and 1911 are the only complete sets available for your ancestor search. These have now been digitised and released, free, online.

Because virtually all of Ireland's 19th century census records were destroyed, family historians must instead rely on other genealogical sources for that period. These are collectively known as 'census substitutes'.

The most useful are land records (especially Griffith's Valuation), The Tithe Applotment books, Religious censuses, School registers, Old-age pension applications and other miscellaneous list….

The good news is that for townlands within CLONDAVADDOG the majority of these census substitutes mentioned above would be available online. I have added links at the bottom of the page for a few of them and I will be adding a short post on the websites and local websites over the next few weeks to hopefully make them a bit more user friendly and accessible for any interested parties.

Fanad Map 1840 Donegal

(Photo above) The Parish of Clondavaddog/Fanad in Co.Donegal - abt 1830's

1823 - 1837 Tithe Applotment Books

1848 – 1864 Griffith’s Valuation

1901 and 1911 Census Ireland

Irish Graveyards Website

Excellent Resource Site by Lindel Buckley

Clondavaddog Parish/Donegal Geneology Resourses -


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