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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:52 am 
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Location: Ballina, Killaloe
In all that has been written about the confusing proliferation of administrative subdivisions in Ireland, I have read very little about Dispensary and Registrar's Districts. These were a layer between the Poor Law Union and the District Electoral Division. Experienced researchers will be familiar with them as the Registrar's Districts which appear at the top of birth, marriage and death certificates. Less experienced researchers will be confused by the fact that the familysearch.org Irish Civil Registration Indexes database and the General Registrar's Office indexes use the term `Registration District' as a synonym for `Superintendent Registrar's District' or `Poor Law Union'.

Those of us researching in Clare are lucky to have the Clare County Library's Townland Index at http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... wnland.htm which shows the `Reg District' to which each townland belongs. (It would be even nicer if we could filter than index by Reg District!) Neither the Index to the Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland 1851 (reprinted Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Company 1984) nor the online equivalent at http://www.thecore.com/seanruad/ includes Registrar's Districts.

County directories (offline and online) are the best places to look for lists of `Dispensary and Registration Districts'. For example, The Limerick City and Counties of Clare and Limerick Directory 1891-'2 printed by H. & E. Ashe, 15, Upper Cecil Street, Limerick lists the Dispensary and Registration Districts in the then Poor Law Union of Scarriff as Annacarriga, Feakle and Mountshannon (with the population of each also noted).

The striking thing about the Dispensary and Registration Districts is that they frequently took the names of what are now otherwise obscure rural locations rather than the names of significant towns or villages, for example in Clare, Annacarriga, Coolacasey/Coolycasey or Craggaknock.

The ancient town of Killaloe is in the Registration District of Annacarriga, which is not even a townland (see previous discussion at
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=458). Coolycasey [sic], Craggaknock East and Craggaknock West are townlands. The part of Sixmilebridge on the Limerick (eastern) side of the O'Garney River is in Coolacasey Dispensary District.

Each Dispensary and Registration District had a dispensary, which appears to have been the local office to which informants had to travel in order to register births and deaths. The local clergy may also have had to make this journey frequently in order to register marriages which they had performed. In large districts, some people may have lived ten miles or more from their dispensary, a long enough journey when the main mode of transport was often the ass and car. Thus it should not be a surprise that registrations were often late - so late that the date on the certificate is wrong, with birthdates often appearing to be later than christening dates. (The spiritual incentives of the time made the christening a far more urgent priority than civil registration.)

A recent query by an American cousin prompted me to carry out a rather tedious manual search of Griffith's Valuation for the dispensary for Craggaknock Dispensary and Registration District, which I found in the part of the village of Mullagh in the townland of Finnor More.

The dispensary in Annacarriga can likewise be found in Griffith's Valuation in the townland of Ballyheefy in the parish of Ogonnelloe.

I will leave it to others with greater local knowledge, more patience, more ingenuity or more time on their hands to tell us where the dispensary in Coolacasey was located!

\pw


Last edited by pwaldron on Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:11 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:50 pm 
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pwaldron wrote:
............Thus it should not be a surprise that registrations were often late - so late that the date on the certificate is wrong, with birthdates often appearing to be later than christening dates. (The spiritual incentives of the time made the christening a far more urgent priority than civil registration.)..............
\pw

I was once told at the registration office at the Sandfield Centre in Ennis that a common reason for "adjusting" the date of a child's birth was to avoid a fine for late reporting/registration of a birth. Thus if a child was born during some agriculturally important season when all hands had to be on deck the registration of its birth would not be a priority. There was a fine for not registering a birth within some given period (I think it was 3 calendar months but am not sure) so when the parent turned up at the office/dispensary he/she would "adjust" the birthdate to avoid unnecessary complications.

Paddy


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:34 pm 
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Slightly off-topic: GENUKI lists the dispensary and registration districts for Kerry at
http://homepage.eircom.net/~dinglemaps/ ... dists.html
It does not appear to have a similar list for Clare, or for Tipperary, which I need at the moment!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:15 pm 
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A list of dispensary districts, sorted by county, appears in an 1876 publication appearing online as a Google Book:
Annual report of the Local Government Board for Ireland, Parts 4-6
http://tinyurl.com/4x6u62d

That link goes to the second part of the list for Clare, in the set of images below. The columns in these screenshots are followed by columns of statistics. Since each county's set of districts is listed in the same way, you should be able to scroll along to those for Tipperary.

Hope this helps. Doing this quickly, I have not tried to rotate the images. The involved book displays them in this awkward fashion.

Sharon Carberry
Attachment:
Clare dispensary districts by name.jpg
Clare dispensary districts by name.jpg [ 19.67 KiB | Viewed 11749 times ]
Attachment:
Dispensary districts, part two.jpg
Dispensary districts, part two.jpg [ 21.44 KiB | Viewed 11749 times ]


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:07 pm 
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Paddy,

Re
"Those of us researching in Clare are lucky to have the Clare County Library's Townland Index at http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... wnland.htm which shows the Registration District to which each townland belongs. (It would be even nicer if we could filter than index by Registration District!)"

here is a spreadsheet attached with the data from Clare County Library's townland tables sorted by registration district, parish and townland. Not perfect but should be useful.
Regards,
Clare Admin


Attachments:
Clare Reg Districts.xls [2.02 MiB]
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:55 am 
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Thank you both very much - it always pays to bump a query to the top of the forum after a year or so!

The Google book is available as 'snippet view' only, but in any case does not list the townlands within each dispensary district - I am trying to find the boundary between the Newport and Portroe dispensary districts in Nenagh Poor Law Union (because https://familysearch.org/search/collect ... ed-records has many Irish birth records where the only place given is the dispensary district).

The historical census reports at http://cso.ie/census/historical_reports.htm include many tables of population by dispensary district, e.g. 1926, volume 1, table 10 at http://cso.ie/census/census_1926_result ... %20T10.pdf So I now know that the dispensary districts in Nenagh PLU are Nenagh (no.1 and no.2), Newport, Portroe, Silvermines and Toomyvara, but not the boundaries between them.

I am reminded of another query that I posted a couple of years ago at viewtopic.php?f=1&t=712 - the various administrative divisions have been subject to minor changes over the years (most dramatically around Whitegate and Mountshannon, which moved from co. Galway to co. Clare in 1898) so it is important to be aware of the date in respect of which any list or table of such divisions has been compiled. For example, the Clare Library townland index refers to Tulla Union, so must be based on pre-1907 boundaries, as Tulla and Scarriff were amalgamated in that year.

\pw


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:15 am 
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In "Murphys of the Ballynacally Area" http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... y/main.htm I make reference to the dispensary at Ballycorick which my gg grandfather Edmond Murphy Sr rented to the Killadysert Union. My article states that there were five such dispensaries in the Killadysert Union, although I notice that the reference produced by Sharon Carberry above only includes the two at Ballynacally(Ballycorick) and Labasheeda. On dispensary days people without the means to pay could see a doctor and obtain medicines without charge. As Paddy Casey suggests the medical officers also registered new births.

On 14 Dec 1863, the Clare Journal ran an article outlining the new regulations covering birth death and marriage registration that were to come into effect on 1 Jan 1864. Also mentioned were the new regulations relating to the compulsory vaccination (smallpox?) of newborn infants due to be introduced at the same time. The article states in part..."Any person failing to give notice of a birth within twenty-one days, or of a death within seven days, after these events respectively, is liable to a penalty of 20s......Every husband failing to deliver to the registrar of marriages a certificate of his marriage within three days after its celebration will be liable to a penalty of ten pounds...." Various other penalties were applicable for non-compliance.

Anyone wanting more information should consult the Clare Journal article, but if someone does not have ready access to this and is keen to know more they can get in touch at kev.murf@bigpond.com and I will arrange a copy.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:33 pm 
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Paddy,
we've added Registration Districts to Clare Places and Placenames on the website.

See http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... places.htm

The Registration Districts table that follows the link from the Places page is quite large as it combines all four tables in the Townlands pages.

Regards,
Clare Admin


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:52 pm 
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Excellent!

Now, how about adding similar paragraphs for DEDs and PLUs something along these lines?

Poor Law Unions (PLUs)

On 31st July 1838, an Act 'for the more effectual Relief of the Destitute Poor in Ireland' was passed, dividing the country into Poor Law Unions. There were a number of subsequent subdivisions and amalgamations of Unions. Eventually, the 2,238 or so townlands of County Clare were assigned to eight and a bit Poor Law Unions - the Limerick PLU straddled the county boundary, as did the Scarriff PLU until the county boundary was altered in 1898. The average Clare PLU comprised approximately 263 townlands. Further details are given at
http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Ireland/Un ... .shtml#CLA
The PLU boundaries respected neither parish nor county boundaries; some PLUs in other parts of Ireland contained parts of three different counties. Each PLU was governed by an elected Board of Guardians, being divided into a number of District Electoral Divisions, each of which returned one elected guardian in an annual election. (There were also ex officio guardians.) Extensive details of the Clare Poor Law Elections 1839-1898 are on pp.460-610 of The Clare Elections by Kieran Sheedy (Bauroe Publications, 1993). When Civil Registration was introduced, the Poor Law Unions became the basis of the Superintendent Registrar's Districts.

District Electoral Divisions (DEDs)

When the Poor Law Unions were set up in 1838, the townlands of County Clare were assigned to approximately 155 District Electoral Divisions, each returning one Guardian annually to the relevant Board of Guardians. The average DED comprised approximately 14 townlands and the average PLU comprised approximately 18 DEDs. Under the Medical Charities Act of 1851, another subdivision between the DED and the PLU was introduced, originally called Dispensary Districts and later known as Registrar's or Registration Districts. Clare was divided into 28 Dispensary Districts, so that the average Dispensary District comprised about 6 DEDs and the average PLU comprised just over 3 Dispensary Districts. Census returns were compiled and collated on the basis of DEDs, which is how they are arranged for browsing on this website (http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... s_deds.htm) and on the National Archives website (http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1901/Clare/ and http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Clare/). The original DEDs of 1838 evolved into the 154 DEDs used in 1901 and the 155 Electoral Divisions into which Clare is divided for the purpose of modern censuses at http://census.cso.ie/censusasp/saps/Pag ... 6_live.asp

-----

The Microsoft Excel pivot tables which I used to calculate the averages above may not be completely reliable as in the present index there are some minor anomalies, presumably mostly arising from adjustments to boundaries over the years:

Crusheen DED in Ennis Union contains one townland in Corrofin Union (Caheraphuca)
Kilfenora DED in Ennistimon Union contains three townlands in Corrofin Union (Ballycasheen; Bunnanagat North; Bunnanagat South)
Ennis Rural DED is split between Ennis No. 1 and Crusheen Reg Districts (Rosslevan and Ballycorey are in Crusheen)
Ennis Rural Reg District contains only one townland (Newpark [Templemaley])
Cloghaun Beg and Cloghaun More and Gortalougha townlands are in Ennistymon with a Y, but elsewhere Ennistimon is spelled with two Is.
Ten townlands in Cloonagarnaun DED should probably be in Cloonadrum
In Drummaan DED, Illaunmore and Whitegate are down as Feakle Reg District, but the rest of the DED as Mountshannon
Inishcaltra-South (with a hyphen) and Inishcaltra South (without a hyphen) are treated as different DEDs


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:56 pm 
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Paddy,

It's unfortunate that you are getting only snippet views of Google Books that I can view fully; I have no explanation for that.

With the Clare library staff having added a table announced above, a researcher can make boundary lines of the dispensary districts on a townlands map. For the benefit of other readers and for absolute clarity, here is the direct link to the table of townlands shown with their dispensary districts:
http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... _table.htm

For Co. Roscommon research, a family historian named John Hunter apparently found a Registrar's District Map for that county, numbered F4 on his webpage. It might be worth an inquiry (which he says is welcome) as to his source of that, which might yield one(s) for Clare and Limerick. I don't know the year that his map was prepared.
http://www.sag.org.au/aisnltrs/AISN0811.pdf

As to locations of buildings used as dispensaries, that remains an open question, doesn't it? It may be that the steady two dispensary placenames provided for Killadysert in official publications might have been supplemented in real practice by additional buildings per the preference of the involved medical officers. Note that Samuel Lewis in his detailed descriptions of localities included what were then called dispensaries, which may or may not have continued to be used in later years:
A topographical dictionary of Ireland: comprising the several counties, 1840
http://tinyurl.com/3ebbe53
Google book with a search engine

In 1879 legislation provided for local authorities to buy or lease buildings to be used as dispensary residences, which could be used for the dispensing function the same as dispensaries. The difference between the two buildings, I suppose, is that medical officers had their living quarters in the dispensary residences where as dispensaries were devoted only to the official function performed by those officers. Perhaps someone can pin that down further. I wonder if, as time went on, fewer greatly affluent men were physicians engaged in dispensary functions and so there arose a number of medical officers needing to live where they dispensed. On page 431 of this published version of the 1879 legislation, there is a direction for preparation of a map to have a red symbol marking the location of each such dispensary residence:
http://tinyurl.com/3vojo2m

It will be interesting to see what more develops on this topic.

Sharon Carberry


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:36 pm 
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Some more bizarre examples of land divisions:

In County Clare: The townlands of Trusklieve and Tullig are both divided between the Civil Parishes of Kilballyowen and Moyarta. For censuses, Tullig DED includes Trusklieve East, Trusklieve West and Tullig West (1901) or Tullig (1911). Tullig East does not seem to exist. Trusklieve East is presumably the part in Moyarta parish and Trusklieve West the part in Kilballyowen parish. I don't know how to tell in which parish those enumerated in Tullig West in 1901 or in Tullig in 1911 lived.

In Counties Galway and Mayo: The parish of Cong straddles the county boundary. The part in County Mayo contains townlands called Ballykine Upper and Ballykine Lower. Ballykine Upper is in Ballinrobe PLU, which straddles the county boundary. Ballykine Lower is in Oughterard PLU, the remainder of which is entirely in County Galway.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:42 pm 
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Thanks to John Grenham for drawing our attention in his column in The Irish Times this week to maps showing all the DEDs and Dispensary and Registration Districts in Ireland. Clare is on the south-west sheet of the map at
http://www.logainm.ie/eolas/Data/Brainse/sw-sheet.jpg
Links to the other three sheets are at
http://www.logainm.ie/eolas/?uiLang=en#13


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:06 pm 
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Location: Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare
re the "Coolacasey" registration district.
My GG parent's marriage and my GF's birth were registered in this district in the early 1850s. I talked to some Cooleycasey locals a while back about where this registration place could be. No-one had any idea. The only official building that existed in the townland in the 19th C. was the short lived Cooleycasey national school and that could have doubled as a registration place. This school was likely funded by David Wilson of Belvoir, the local landlord. There is now no trace of the building. However, its site is marked by a memorial stone, taken from the school building and erected by locals.
Having looked at the map in the previous posting, I doubt this was a registration place. The school site is in a remote location, up a steep mountain road, which ultimately comes to a dead end in a farmyard. I cannot imagine people coming from the suburbs of Limerick on foot to register. For that matter, it would be a tedious journey even from Sixmilebridge as it is all uphill. I think that while the registration district was called Coolacasey, registration probably took place in the nearest village; Sixmilebridge.

on a lighter note, I read that a Pádraig De Bhaldraithe was a guest at our new President's inauguration. Could that be you Paddy?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:15 am 
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Hi Paddy,

What you need is the Townlands in Poor Law Unions, put together and published by George B Handran, CG in 1997 and is from the Poor Law Union's phamplets originally published in 1885 by GRO. Each SRD listing is only a few pages, 2 to 3 typical. The townlands are organized further by District, ED, then Parish. I use it when I transcribe the parish registers. You can get this cheap on CD ROM by Archive CD Books or Enneclann for not much money. I think I paid $20. Sometimes a bit hard to read as these are copies from mimeograph printouts. The latest book, published around 2000 has been typeset and is easy to read but cost much more. It really is worth it to have the breakdown by SRD, a real time saver. The other thing that is useful about this 1885 publication is seeing something closer to the 1901 census as the 1851 census townland index is what names the townlands were known as in the 1851 enumeration and sometimes different in 1901/19011.

ALl the best,
Jim McNamara

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Jim McNamara
Surnames of Interest: McNamara-McGrath, Cleary-Conway

"Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart." -Rumi


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:31 pm 
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Michael - I saw my double second cousin and namesake Padraic de Bhaldraithe sitting in the front row during the TV coverage from Dublin Castle on Friday. He lives in Michael D's former constituency. We try to avoid confusion by spelling our names slightly differently!

I don't have time at the moment to go through Griffith's Valuation for Limerick Union looking in the Description of Tenement column for the various dispensaries in the Union. None of the online versions of Griffith seems to be searchable by Description of Tenement, so this is probably something better done with a paper version! Most of Sixmilebridge is in Newmarket dispensary district, so I would expect to find the Coolacasey dispensary closer to Cratloe. The example of Craggaknock/Mullagh shows that the dispensary did tend to be in a village of some sort rather than in the middle of the open countryside.

Jim - I was aware of Handran's book, but not aware that it is available in digitised form - full details at
http://www.eneclann.ie/acatalog/IE0021_ ... nions.html
I must order a copy.
(One could infer from the description "Unions are further subdivided into Registrars' Districts, Electoral Divisions, Baronies, Parishes" that Unions respected the pre-existing barony and parish boundaries, which was not always the case.)

\pw


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