Find your ancestors in Irish Census Search Forms 1841 & 1851

Discover details of your ancestor’s family from the 1841 and 1851 Irish census in their 1909 pension application. These detailed records include details of parents and siblings.

What can these records tell me? While the amount of information recorded varies the Irish Census Search forms 1841 & 1851 will usually contain the following information about your ancestor:

  • Name of applicant
  • Current address of applicant (often care of a local official or business)
  • Name and age of applicant in the 1841 or 1851 census
  • Name of applicant’s father
  • Name of applicant’s mother (often including maiden name)
  • Names and ages of other family members recorded in the 1841 or 1851 census
  • Address of the family in 1841/1851: townland, parish and barony

Discover more about the search forms

The old age pension was introduced in Ireland in 1909 for people over the age of 70. However, because civil (government) registration of births did not begin until 1864 those eligible for a pension often had no way to prove their age. Officials searched the 1841 and 1851 census to determine if an applicant was eligible for a pension although not all applications using the census as proof were accepted.

The pension was 5 shillings for a single person and 7 shillings for a married couple.

The records for those living in the following counties at the time of their application are available on microfilm at the Public Records Office on Northern Ireland (PRONI): Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Derry, Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, Monaghan and Tyrone.

Some certified copies of census returns used in the pension application process are available on microfilm at the National Archives of Ireland.