Are you a dedicated history buff, or simply searching for more information on a family member involved in Ireland’s tumultuous revolutionary period between 1916 and 1921?
Published in collaboration with The National Archives in London, 75,000 British military records are available to search via Findmypast.ie, under the banner of ‘Easter Rising & Ireland under Martial Law, 1916-1921’.
Findmypast is an online archive which provides access to more than two billion family history records, covering everything from parish records and censuses to migration records, military collections, historical newspapers and much more. This new collection, created from digitised War Office files (War Office: Army of Ireland: Administration and Easter Rising Records) includes:
The week of the Easter Rising
Records from the Easter Rising include intelligence reports on rebel actions, and those killed or wounded by the rebels. Also included in the database are daily British Army situation reports, telegrams discussing the trials and executions of the signatories and prominent leaders, and what was to be done with the prisoners’ possessions.
Reports from raids that took place in homes and businesses across the country, including the address to be searched and what the searchers were expected to find. Reports detailed anything that was found on the premises, including arms and ammunition, and the names of any individuals arrested or questioned. The records show that more than 70 of these raids were conducted in the hunt for the IRA Director of Intelligence, Michael Collins.
Court martial registers (military and civilian)
With much of Ireland under martial law (both during the Easter Rising and the War of Independence in 1920 and 1921), civilians could face court martial under the Defence of the Realm Act – names, offences, charges, case details, verdicts, sentencing and other information were all recorded. Also available are files relating to military court martial proceedings, for offences ranging from theft to desertion.
Among the interesting items featured are records which mention that the mother of rebel leader Padraig Pearse had requested his watch and money be given to her; a report noting the capture of intelligence documents from the offices of Michael Collins – which included descriptions of military and police personnel – and a newspaper clipping from February 1921 containing an “Exclusive” photo of Sinn Féin members, including Arthur Griffith (described as the “founder odf the Sinn Fein” [sic]), Eamon de Valera (“President of the Irish Republic”) and Michael Collins, referred to as the “Leader of the Irish Republican Army”.
According to the Irish Examiner, access to these records is free until Tuesday April 26th.