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Muster/Militia Rolls & Military Records (Ireland)

Nature of Source

Records from the county militias organised in Ireland between 1793 and 1876 which in theory every able-bodied man was liable to serve. The militia muster rolls list the principal landowners and the men available for military service, arranged by county and district. The surviving records are housed in the records offices in Northern Ireland and in the Republic and can often be found amongst the landed estate records. The National Archives in England also holds these records which provide names, ranks, dates of service, and possibly enrolling and discharge information. Given the scarcity of genealogical records covering Ireland in the late 18th and early 19th century, these sources could provide much missing information and possibly provide leads to other sources such as land and property records.

After the British gained full control of Ireland during the reign of Henry VIII, the country was effectively ruled and administered from London until independence was re-established in 1922. Even before the official union between Ireland and England in 1801, many Irish served in the British Army or the militia. The vast majority of service records are held at The National Archives at Kew. The records themselves are difficult to search and consist mainly of service and pension records and medal rolls. The National Archives has developed a number of name indexes. Without an index, the unit in which the person served should be known.

The entries from the records could assist in tracing Irish ancestry as they might contain a note of the serviceman's place of origin. This information is particularly useful for Irish research as so few indexes of surviving church registers exist. Of particular interest for Irish research will be the records of Irish regiments held at The National Archives. The records from those who received a pension can be useful for establishing an address in Ireland and might provide a date of death.

The National Archives also holds the records of The Irish Sailors' and Soldiers' Land Trust, a trust fund set up in 1922 that provided land and property for those that served in WWI. The records should provide a place of origin and other useful information but there are no indexes and the location of the property must be known. The Trust records can be found in TNA series AP 7.

See Also
Surname Origins and Distribution

Where Found

National Archives of Ireland
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)
Local Heritage Centres
The National Archives (Series WO 13/2574-3370, Militia and Volunteers Muster Books and Pay Lists)
Military Archives
(The Military Archives acquire, preserve and make available to the public the documentary heritage of the Defence Forces, the Department of Defence and the Army Pensions Board. Staff can assist in tracking down information on former members of the Defence Forces with advice offered on sources of information connected to men and women who participated in the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence)

Period Covered

1630 - 1876

Genealogical Value

Names of landowners and tenants. Occasionally the names of the tenant's children and their ages.

Further References

Family History Guides  

Adolph, Anthony. Collins Tracing Your Irish Family History: HarperCollins, 2007

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Begley, Donal. Handbook on Irish Genealogy: How to Trace Your Ancestors and Relatives: Heraldic Artists, 1984

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Connell, Gretta. Tracing Your Westmeath Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2012 Buy Now on Amazon
Corrigan, Mario &  Durney, James & Kiely, Karel. Tracing your Kildare Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2014 Buy Now on Amazon

Davis, Bill. Irish Ancestry - A Beginner's Guide: FFHS, 2001

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Falley, Margaret Dickson. Irish and Scottish-Irish Ancestral Research: GPC, 1981 (1962)

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Franklin, Margaret. Tracing your Limerick Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2011 Buy Now on Amazon

Grenham, John. Irish Ancestors, A Pocket Guide to Your Family History: Gill & Macmillan, 2004

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Grenham, John. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: Gill & Macmillan, 2011

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Hamrock, John. Tracing your Roscommon Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2007 Buy Now on Amazon

Kinealy, Christine. Tracing Your Irish Roots: Appletree Press, 2009

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McCarthy, Tony. The Irish Roots Guide. Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 1991

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McCarthy, Tony & Cadogan, Tim. Tracing Your Cork Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2011 Buy Now on Amazon

Maxwell, Ian. Tracing Your Ancestors in Northern Ireland: A Guide to Ancestry Research in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland: Stationery Office, 1997

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Maxwell, Ian. Researching Armagh Ancestors: A Practical Guide for the Family and Local Historian: Ulster Historical Foundation, 2000 Buy Now on Amazon
Maxwell, Ian. Researching Down Ancestors: A Practical Guide for the Family and Local Historian: Ulster Historical Foundation, 2000 Buy Now on Amazon

Maxwell, Ian. How To Trace Your Irish Ancestors: How To Books, 2009

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Maxwell, Ian. Your Irish Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen and Sword, 2008

Maxwell, Ian. Tracing Your Northern Irish Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen and Sword, 2010

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Meehan, Helen & Duffy, Godfrey. Tracing Your Donegal Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2008 Buy Now on Amazon
Mitchell, Brian. A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2009 Buy Now on Amazon
Mitchell, Brian. Basic Guide to Irish Records for Family History: Clearfield Company, 2009 Buy Now on Amazon
Mitchell, Brian. Tracing Derry-Londonderry Roots: Clearfield Company, 2014 Buy Now on Amazon
O'Connor, Michael H. Tracing your Kerry Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 1994 Buy Now on Amazon
O'Dowd, Peadar. Tracing your Galway Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2010 Buy Now on Amazon

Ouimette, David. Finding Your Irish Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide: Ancestry.com, 2005

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Paton, Chris. Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet: A Guide For Family Historians: Pen & Sword Books, 2013

Prochaska, Alice, Irish History from 1700: A Guide to Sources in the Public Record Office: British Records Association, 1986

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Raymond, Stuart. Irish Family History on the Web: The Family History Partnership, 2007

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Roulston, William. Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors: The Essential Genealogical Guide to Early Modern Ulster, 1600-1800: Ulster Historical Foundation, 2005

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Ryan, James. Irish Records: Sources for Family & Local History: Flyleaf Press, 1997

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Ryan, James & Smith, Brian. Tracing Your Dublin Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2009 Buy Now on Amazon
Ryan, James. Tracing your Sligo Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2012 Buy Now on Amazon
Smith, Brian. Tracing your Mayo Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2010 Buy Now on Amazon
Smith, Brian & Kennedy, Gerry. Tracing Your Clare Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, 2013 Buy Now on Amazon

Stewart, Alan. My Ancestor Was Irish: A Guide to Sources for Family Historians: Society of Genealogists, 2012

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Other  
Bradshaw's Railway Map Great Britain and Ireland 1852: Mapseeker Publishing, 2013 Buy Now on Amazon
Connolly, S.J. The Oxford Companion to Irish History: Oxford University Press, 2007 Buy Now on Amazon
Coogan, Tim, Pat. The Famine Plot: England's Role in Ireland's Greatest Tragedy: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013 Buy Now on Amazon
Dickson, R.J. Ulster Emigration to Colonial America, 1718-1775: Ulster Historical Foundation, 1976 Buy Now on Amazon
Grenham, John. The Little Book of Irish Clans and Tartans: Book Sales, 1995 Buy Now on Amazon
Robinson, Philip. Plantation of Ulster: Ulster Historical Foundation, 2000 Buy Now on Amazon
Smith, Paul & Turner, Keith. Railway Atlas of Ireland Then & Now: Ian Allan Publishing, 2014 Buy Now on Amazon

Websites

www.limerick.ie/discover/explore/historical-resources/limerick-archives/archive-collections/collection-lists (Limerick Archives: The collection held by Limerick City Archives consists of two volumes of accounts and volunteer lists [P10/1-2] as well as receipts and bills, and a small correspondence file of the Limerick County Militia. See here for a full collection description)
www.movinghere.org.uk/galleries/roots/irish/irishrecordsuk/militia.htm (Irish Records In the UK: The Militia)
https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Ireland_Military_Records (Research Wiki: Ireland Military Records)
www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie (Bureau of Military History 1913-1921: The project is a joint imitative of Military Archives and the National Archives and allows you to search throughout the BMH free of charge including witness statements; contemporary documents; press cuttings; photographs and voice recordings that were collected by the State between 1947 and 1957, in order to gather primary source material for the revolutionary period in Ireland from 1913 to 1921)
www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/index.html (Irish Genealogy Toolkit will guide you to your Irish ancestors)
www.irishtimestraining.com (Online Tracing your Irish Ancestors Course designed and presented by the genealogist John Grenham. The 11 modules will give you the tools and techniques to comprehensively trace your Irish family history. The online tutorials will provide you with a wide-ranging guide to all the records, resources and research techniques you will need)
www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/browse (A county-by-county listing of relevant records)
www.rootsweb.com/~nirwgw (Information on Northern Irish counties and available resources)
www.iar.ie (Irish Archives Resource: The site contains information about archival collections open for public research in Ireland from many organisations, societies, political organisations and businesses)
https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/lesson/getting-started-in-irish-genealogy/594
(FamilySearch.org: Learning Center Online Genealogy Course: Getting Started in Irish Genealogy. Lecture designed to acquaint beginning genealogist with strategies and sources for getting started in Irish genealogy)
www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/irish-records-what-is-available/church-records (Irish Genealogy: Research in Ireland: Irish Records: What Is Available?)
www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/irish-genealogical-research-getting-started/how-to-start-your-family-history (Irish Genealogy: How To Start Your Family History)
www.cyndislist.com/ireland.htm (Ireland genealogy links)
www.irelandgenweb.com (Information on Irish counties and available resources)
www.rootsweb.com/~fianna (Fianna Guide to Irish Genealogy)
www.thecore.com/seanruad (IreAtlas Townland database)
www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/placenames (1851 General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns, parishes and Baronies of Ireland)

Online Databases

www.ulsterancestry.com/ua-free-pages.php (Ulster Ancestry Free Genealogy Pages: transcribed muster rolls covering a number of counties)
http://militaryarchives.ie (Military Archives: Online access to the personnel records of those who served in the military of the Irish Free State from 1922 to the late 1970's, as well as material pertaining to the Irish Volunteers and the Independence movement, 1913-1921. Datasets include : Military Service Pensions Collection, 1916-1923; Bureau of Military History Timeline for the years 1912, 1913 and 1914; Maps, Plans & Drawings Collection of military installations throughout the island of Ireland; Irish Army Census Collection 1922; Easter 1916; An tÓglác Accounts An tÓglách Magazine)
www.findmypast.ie (Ireland's Memorial Record: World War 1: 1914-1918: Online access to transcribed volumes of Ireland's Memorial Records, created to preserve and commemorate the memory of the thousands of Irishmen who died during the war)
www.inflandersfields.be/en/namelist (Flanders Fields Museum: The Name List: The project aims to assemble all fatalities of the Great War who died or were mortally wounded in Belgium, both civilian and military, and whatever their nationality. The Name List will be launched on 4 August 2014 and includes the digitised Ireland’s Memorial Records which commemorates the memory of the thousands of Irishmen who died during the war)
www.inflandersfields.be/en/knowledge-center/casualty-database/introduction (Flanders Fields Museum: Casualty Database: The databases from the official war grave committees can be searched individually or across all databases. The individual databases include Belgian, French, Commonwealth, German and American soldiers, Belgian civilians and Ireland’s Memorial Records)