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The Manchester Genealogist

Salford's Irish Sardines

Ray Hulley

Family historians often come across large families crowded together in small houses and many of our own ancestors had six or more children in a typical family. The transcription work at the Public Record Office covering the unfilmed parts of the Manchester and district 1851 census returns has uncovered a small pocket of seemingly overcrowded tenements in the heart of Salford containing not one or two households packed together, but 14 of them, and all Irish.

Gill's Court was a tenement built in the middle of the area surrounded by Chapel Street to the south, the London and North Western railway leading into Victoria Station to the north, Trinity Church and Flat Iron Market to the west and Greengate to the east. It consisted of nine separate addresses containing 14 households. These contained a total population of 132 people - 74 males and 58 females - an average of fifteen people at each address. One wonders where they all slept - possibly top to toe, like sardines! Out of the 132, the Irish contingent totalled 118. Fortunately, all but one of the surnames have been 'recaptured' by the transcribers and, as a bonus, the Enumerator has entered the Irish county of birth. This is a departure from the normal method of recording the birthplaces of foreign nationals in 185 1, but to those researching their Irish ancestors it will be a Godsend! Surnames of the heads of households listed in the returns for Gill's Court are as follows: Burke, Dougherty, Gavin, Hession, Hopkins, Hynes, Kelly, McCrea, McGretton, Pierce, Reynolds, Smith and Walsh.

The final results of the transcription work should be available late next year. In the meantime, if any member wishes to obtain further details of any of the above families, they should contact me.


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