MKA Blog 1901 CensusWhat is a Census Substitute and why do we need Kerry Census Substitutes?  When tracing our Kerry Ancestors, birth/baptism/marriage and death records are what we rely on to give definitive proof of the existence of our Kerry family.  A name, date and location on a Census would also be similar proof.  Unfortunately 1901 and 1911 are the only complete surviving census records that we have in Ireland.   While Kerry does not figure in the 1821, 1831, or 1841 fragments, there are thirty Kerry names (only) listed in the 1841 Census of Ireland.  These thirty names are from the Civil Parishes of Ballinvoher and Kilcummin.

The first full census of Ireland was taken in 1821 and again at the start of every decade. From 1841 householders themselves filled out the return form, making these records a unique snapshot of early 19th century lives of ordinary 19th century Irish people.

The 19th century returns after 1861 and 1871 were destroyed shortly after the censuses were taken and the later 19th century censuses were pulped during World War 1. Unfortunately the early censuses that survived were lost when the Public Records Office in the Four Courts in Dublin was destroyed in a fire during the Civil War in 1922.[1]

Census substitutes are records which list people residing in Kerry at a particular period, with varying additional information.  Some will only contain names, and may serve only to prove that  a person of a particular name lived in the county at a particular time.  However most will show some other information which will serve to broaden your information.

There is a full listing on Finding Your Ancestors in Kerry of what census substitutes are available currently.  Most of these substitutes have not been digitized so require a visit to an archive or library.   A lesser number have been digitized and are available online.  Here is a small selection from the list:

1664     Dispossessed Land Owners –  A list of 76 Kerry landowners who lost their land under Cromwell settlements. Ir.Gen Vol 4 No. 4 (1971)

1718      Rental of Kenmare Estate – online at

1755 –  Rental of Earl of Listowel – Over 100 major tenants in Listowel area, name, holding & rent. Online at

1796 – Linen Board Premiums for Persons Growing Flax – Name & parish of over 900 Kerry persons

1823-1839 – Tithe Applotment Survey  .  Online

1828 – Castleisland Tenant Petition to Daniel O’Connell – Twenty four tenants from the area asking O’Connell to represent them in court.   Online at

1834 – Prior & Killemlagh Census – A census of the heads of households of the Catholic Parishes of Prior and Killemlagh.  Index online

1846 – Subscribers to Famine Relief Committees – List of 1537 subscribers from Ardfert, Ballybunion, Ballyheigue, Kilmoyley, Ballylongford, Killury, Rattoo, Kilshenane, Kilfeighny, Kiltomy, Knockanure, Listowel, Murhur, Tarbert in Teampall Ban & Aspects of the Famine in North Kerry by John Pierse (Listowel 2014).

1848-1851 – Emigrants from Castlemaine.  Names & relationships of 22 individuals assisted to emigrate from Castlemaine.  Anal.Hib. Vol.22, p. 382

1852 – 1855 Griffiths Valuation.  Online    or Index only online 

1859 – 420 tenants by townland in the Cahirciveen area with rents, arrears.  NLI Ms. 20,839.

1848- 1864 – Griffiths Valuation – detailed information on everyone who leased or owned land, exact location, acreage of holding and landlord.

1849 Jeanie Johnston Passengers – List of 150 passengers from the port of Tralee (Blennerville) to Baltimore U.S.A.,   Blennerville: Gateway to Tralee’s Past (Blennerville Windmill Co. Ltd., 1989)

1874-1894 – Kenmare Estate Papers – Rental Ledgers of rural and urban.

1887 Accounts with National Bank 1877.  Individual names, addresses, occupations of people from Kerry who had accounts with the National Bank.  Online

1916 – Knocknagoshel Petition – Petition signed by 440 householders to the Bishop of Kerry, asking for a resident priest.

1921-1923 – County Kerry Civil War Compensation Claims (Post Truce) online

1922 – Irish Army Census – Online at Military Archives