1803 Agricultural Census for Co. Antrim
During the Napoleonic Wars Lord Lieutenants for each of the maritime counties in Great Britain and Ireland were required to carry out an agricultural census within their county. Superintendents were appointed to make the returns for each parish. In some parishes the rector or the curate acted as superintendents. The census was intended to enumerate livestock, crops, etc. as well as the names of farmers and where they lived. The farmers listed usually included father and sons old enough to be classified as farmers. However, it is not possible to accurately determine the number of households in each townland.
Because the reason for the census was the fear of invasion, maritime parishes were given priority. The parishes that survive for Co. Antrim are to be found within the baronies of Cary and Dunluce Lower and Upper and include Armoy [303 names], Ballintoy [574 names], Ballymoney [1575 names], Ballyrashane [187 names], Ballywillin [81 names], Billy [909 names], Culfeightrin [564 names], Derrykeighan [496 names], Grange of Drumtullagh [233 names], Dunluce [479 names], Kilraghts [232 names], Loughguile [1134 names], Ramoan [427 names] and Rathlin [144 names] - a total of 7338 names.
The original source can be viewed in the National Archives, Dublin - ref. nos. - OP/153/103/1-16. There is a microfilm copy of this source in PRONI - ref. no. MIC678/1. PRONI also has a copy of a dissertation by P. Walsh, Agricultural Census, Co. Antrim 1803 - a project submitted in respect of a College Certificate in Genealogy, Adult Education Office, University College, Dublin, May 1999. This thesis contains printed lists.
I have databased the names and places in these parishes using the printed lists in PRONI and the microfilm copy of the original source. One of the problems is the spelling of the names of townlands and recognising some townlands where the names changed later in the nineteenth century. To help overcome this problem I have used two columns in the database - one that gives the spelling used in the census and one that gives the modern day spelling. There are some townlands where I was not sure of the modern day townland. These are identified in the Townland [Modern Spelling] column with a [?]. I am still trying to find out their modern day equivalent. If you can help, please get in touch.
Surnames are listed in two separate columns - one contains the actual spelling of each surname in the "original" document - and one contains a standardised spelling which groups together the various spellings of each surname throughout the source. With forenames I have tried to transcribe the names as listed in the document. However where there is an obvious mispelling I have corrected it in the database. However, unlike the surnames, I have not standardised the spelling of first names. Thgus you will find Duncan spelt as Duncan and Dunkan, Henry as Henery, Hendry, Hendrey, etc. and so on. Have a look through the list of first names in the database and see the variations of spellings for yourself. It is more than likely that I have got some of the standardised surnames and first names wrong.
The present database which dates from 7th November 2011 is a corrected version [containing 184 pages] of the earlier database of 180 pages. The extra pages result from the addition of some 200 names that I missed in the first database. My thanks to Ron Price, whose ancestors hail from the parish of Ballintoy. He alerted me to the fact that I had missed some Prices in Ballintoy. I then found that there were other names missing. I have gone through the entire database and carried out a number of corrections. I hope the database is now more accurate but, as I have often said, there are probably still some mistakes. Again, if you come across mistakes I'd be grateful if you would let me know.
Copyright 2011 W. Macafee.