Hulley Family History >> Publications > The Manchester Genealogist

pLongview Publishing
pNorth Cheshire Family Historian
pThe Manchester Genealogist
pCatholic Ancestor
pPROPhile - Friends of PRO
pCheshire Record Office
pOxford Dictionary of National Biography
pJournal of One-Name Studies
pMacclesfield Express
pMacclesfield Times

pGuest Book
pView or Sign

pContact Me
pSend Email


The Manchester Genealogist

Irish Immigrants in the unfilmed 1851 census returns for Manchester and district

Ray Hulley

Elsewhere in this edition (pages 250-1) I report on the progress made by the project team at the Public Record Office, London in transcribing the unfilmed parts of Manchester and district. This work is vital to many family historians because the 1851 returns are the earliest ones to show family relationships, exact ages, occupations and, most importantly, precise birthplaces.

Unfortunately, in the case of Irish-born inhabitants, an entry showing the town or even the county of birth in Ireland is normally the exception rather than the rule. This has arisen simply because the enumerator has followed instructions not to show counties of birth for Irish, Scottish and Welsh inhabitants in English census returns. There were exceptions, however, the most notable of which are the returns for Salford Barracks shown in HO 107/2224 Book 4B, transcription pages 279-330. Almost all Irish-born soldiers have their town and county birthplaces shown. Out of a total population of 988, 445 (45%) were bon in Ireland.

Another area of comparatively high density Irish settlement is the first two Enumeration Districts (EDs) IG and 1H, transcription pages 1-122 in Portland Place Ward, Ashton under Lyne town. 20% of the 1,963 population were from Southern Ireland. In the other ward - Market Street Ward - the overall Irish contingent of 738 people comprised 12% of the total population. Clearly, Ashton under Lyne had become an Irish settlement area by 1851 with over 1,300 Irish people in the Portland Place and Market Street Wards in addition to those already shown in the filmed returns. The outlying area of Knott Lanes had an Irish population of 53(1%) and Oldham below Town had 90 Irish out of a total population of 5,706, less than 2% of the total. Members will have read the interesting article on 'Irish Migrant Settlement in Early Nineteenth Century Manchester', written by Mervyn Busteed which appeared in volume 32, no 1, edition. The area in question, Irish town, lay on the western side of Rochdale Road and stretched as far as the River Irk. The project team has almost completed transcription work on the St. George's sub-district and the EDs on the eastern side of Rochdale Road have proved to be a mirror image of their opposite neighbours, at least in terms of the Irish population shown on the returns.

The table below shows the Irish population in each of the 7 EDs located on the western side of Rochdale Road, nearest to its southern end adjacent to Swan Street. The average is even greater than the 44% of Irish-born, or bon elsewhere to two Irish parents, in Irish town. The transcribers were able to easily identify almost all the birthplaces shown as Ireland, mainly because the supervisors' check was made with a waterproof wax crayon that had been used to identify all Irish-born people. Unfortunately, these returns are amongst the most badly damaged ones. Although it was easy to identify the place of birth (if Ireland), other parts of each entry were indecipherable and the recapture rate is very low, less than 25 % in the worst of the EDs. One consolation to researchers is that we managed to identify all addresses to the provision of large-scale maps by Manchester Local Studies Unit and have listed male and female entries (taken from the age column) together with all Irish-born inhabitants.

Table 1: Showing the Irish population in each of the 7 EDs located on the Western side of Rochdale Road, nearest to its Southern end adjacent to Swan Street.

ED Total Pop. Irish-born % Dependents % including dependents
1A 578 137 24% 54 33%
1B 802 385 48% 86 59%
IC 703 266 38% 103 52%
1D 787 355 45% 157 65%
1E 979 564 58% 160 74%
IF 523 160 31% 64 43%
1G 1095 453 41% 141 54%
Total 5467 2320 42% 765 56%

To sum up, if you are wondering whether your Irish ancestors are in the unfilmed 1851 returns, then you should check Salford Barracks, then the Ashton under Lyne town returns in books 2B and 2C. Finally, the St George's returns (lA to 1L) may be worth a check, when they are published. If you still draw a blank, and you have already checked the published returns for Greengate and Hulme, then the only ones left are the 90 entries in Oldham and the 53 in Knott Lanes.

We shall begin Salford - Pendleton and Salford Pendlebury transcription work next year and will highlight the numbers of Irish-born inhabitants in those areas. Because they are on the western side of Manchester, there is a strong possibility that there will be a large Irish presence in many of the EDs.

* Ray Hulley, Project coordinator.


TopTop of Page

Copyright © 2000-2022 Ray Hulley. All rights reserved.