Discovering Irish Patriots in prison records

Niall Cullen, Findmypast

The Irish Prison Registers 1790-1924 on Findmypast are an excellent source for tracing your Irish family history and provide a wealth of information about the prisoner including their name, address, place of birth, occupation, religion, education, age and even physical descriptions.

The records have also become a popular record set for historians to browse through as a source for tracing the history of rebellion in Ireland. Some of Ireland’s most famous rebel leaders feature in the registers, having found themselves on the wrong side of the law in their struggle for Irish independence.

Discovering Irish Patriots in prison records

In there, you’ll find Robert Emmet’s 1803 arrest for “Rebellion” and his sentence to death from Kilmainham Gaol. Another record features the arrest of William Smith O’Brien and Thomas Francis Meagher for “Serious Treasonable Practice” in 1823.

As you move into later years, you’ll find Irish Republican Brotherhood leader John Daly and his brother Ned and being incarcerated in 1866 for “Being a member of the Fenian conspiracy and assisting in making & concealing bullets for treasonable purposes”. In 1916, Eamonn de Valéra’s arrest for “armed rebellion” is also listed in the registers.

Of course, it’s not only famous patriots that feature in these fascinating records. Over 3 million names have been listed covering a period of over 130 years of Irish history. Delve into the Irish Prison Registers today and see if you can uncover the black sheep in your family tree.

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