I recently came across The Irish Famine Eviction Project which caught my attention as a worthy online volunteering opportunity. It involves more than just transcribing record images, yet it can still be done from the comfort of home.
The Project’s aim is to document evidence of eviction during the terrible years of the Great Irish Famine in the 19th century.
It seems every time we turn around these days there are organisations seeking our voluntary assistance with transcribing genealogical records. Some are large commercial companies that charge for their services - which I think is more than a little cheeky – through to those which make the records freely available. As a capable touch typist, I find transcribing records for Family Search very therapeutic, but the Irish Famine Eviction Project is far more interesting particularly for anyone with Irish heritage.
What is required to participate?
To contribute requires:
Searching for any references to evictions during the
Comparing the details with the list of documented
evictions held by the university;
Documenting the physical location; landlord’s name;
number of families/tenants evicted; tenants names
(where provided) and any other relevant information
available from the source;
Emailing details and their source of any evictions not
already in the university’s database to:
Supported by the Irish Newspaper Archives, the project is the first of its kind and the co-ordinators are hoping to gather information from any source that may lead to identifying eviction sites. The information will help in understanding the local experience of removing people from the land during the famine period.
I have so far contributed several afternoons to this worthwhile project. When I sent through the first batch of information the genuine warmth of the welcome and thanks I received made me very happy that I had taken the time to participate.
Where can I look for eviction information?
I use FindMyPast’s online newspapers as my source to search for evictions in Tipperary, my father’s home county before he emigrated to Australia. It was a useful although sobering source due to the number and frequency of evictions reported and I confess to being fearful that I might find members of my extended family among the eviction lists.
If you don’t have access to FindMyPast, the National Library of Australia also has free access to Irish newspapers via its website under e-Resources/Genealogy. You will need to register as a user before being able to access the newspapers.
However, you do not need to be restricted to newspapers. Many evictions are documented in Courts of Petty Session records or you may come across references in historical books. There may even have been evictions in your own family history that you can contribute to the project.
The Irish Famine Eviction Project is a volunteer research project more than a transcription project, nevertheless, it is an excellent opportunity to contribute to a worthwhile body of work in documenting a tragic period in Ireland’s tumultuous history.
Do you have any information on evictions during the Great Irish Famine? If so, please contact the project team who I am sure will welcome you with open arms. Their website is located at:
Your Family Genealogist
Picture : Courtesy of National Library of Ireland via Flikr