A few weeks ago I started collecting census data for all the variant names of O’CONNELL. The following spreadsheet shows how often the name shows up in each census in Ireland. The first full census was taken in 1821.
It is important to note that the following census years do not have complete data: 1821, 1831, 1841, and 1851. According to the National Archives of Ireland, the returns for 1821 – 1851 were destroyed in a fire at the PRO (public Records Office) in Dublin during the Irish Civil War (there are some returns that remain, but it is minimal). The returns for 1861 and 1871 were destroyed and the 1881 and 1891 Census returns were pulped during WWI.1
The numbers notated in the graph below are not completely correct as there are duplications in the transcriptions. Once I have transcribed each of these censuses I will share what the exact number I come up with.
Even with the errors you can see the effect that the famine had on Ireland. It is said that between 1845 and 1855 roughly 1.5 million left Ireland. In 1901 only 127 were enumerated with the name of O’CONNELL or one of its variants; in 1911, only 173. Such a small number.
*All the data discussed above comes from the indexes on FamilySearch. The search was completed by each variant of the name, with exact spelling. According to searches completed on the National Archives of Ireland website there are over 7,000 O’Connell’s. Once I get to transcribing all the information we will get a more exact figure.
Ireland Census Data
National Archives Ireland ↩