Thursday, April 10, 2014

We Are The 3.75% - Wisconsin Death Records

Nineteenth century vital (birth, marriage, death) records are usually not a source that can give the Irish place of origin. Exceptions abound, but their main value is providing the names of parents, if that question is asked on the record and if the answer is known. With that in mind, any state vital record set that has a larger than normal amount of records with an Irish place of origin is to be welcomed and highlighted.

One such set of records is Wisconsin, Death Records, 1867-1907 on[1] (there is also a record set on, Wisconsin Deaths, 1820-1907, but this does not seem to contain the same level of information for Irish entries). In total, there are c.33,700 records that list Ireland as the place of birth (the total number of records in this database is 432,959). About 3.75% of the Irish entries give a county or town of birth. 

Small numbers, but a probably larger percentage than will be found in other state vital record sets of the same era. The county breakdown is as follows (grouped by Irish province):

Tipperary 51                Cork 223                         Kerry 49                       Waterford 65
Clare 79                       Limerick c.75

Galway 70                    Mayo 72                          Sligo 75                        Roscommon 28
Leitrim 4

Donegal 16                   Antrim 42                        Armagh 2                      Derry 12
Down 29                       Fermanagh 1                   Tyrone 20                      Cavan 32
Monaghan 14

Dublin 136                    Wexford 20                    Kilkenny 40                   Carlow 10
Louth 10                        Wicklow 22                   Kildare 1                       Meath 28
Offaly 34                       Laois 24                         Westmeath 9                  Longford 27

Dublin and Cork lead the way, probably reflecting emigration from the county with the largest population in Ireland (Dublin) and the county that has traditionally had one of the largest numbers of emigrants (Cork). Other prominent counties in the database are from the western seaboard: Clare, Galway, Mayo, and Sligo, again counties with traditionally large emigration numbers.

The record set contains some interesting and very valuable examples. In the entry for Ellen Kerin Scanlan[2], she is listed as born in Ennistimen (Ennistymon), Co. Clare, about 1830. Her spouse, religious affiliation, and parents (including their place of birth) are also named. Catholic Church records for Ennistymon parish begin in 1823[3], so if this is your ancestor you would hopefully be able to find a corroborating baptismal entry (assuming that the listing of Ennistymon was not just an approximation of where she was born in Clare, when in fact she was from a neighboring parish!)

[1] Wisconsin, Death Records, 1867-1907. Index. FamilySearch. : accessed 2014. Citing Wisconsin State Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin.
[2] "Wisconsin, Death Records, 1867-1907", index, FamilySearch 
( accessed 12 Mar 2014), Ellen Kerin Scanlan, 1898.
[3] Grenham, John. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors. 3rd ed. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan. 2006. p. 376 (listed as Kilmanaheen)

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