Testimonies of the 1641 Irish Rebellion, Now Online

Independent.ie recently had a story about a new online archive of testimonies to the 1641 Rebellion in Ireland. (If you’re not up on your history of Ireland — I’m not either — you can get an overview of the event here.)”

Anyway, this online collection is 8,000 depositions by onlookers that runs to 31 volumes containing 19,000 pages. You can access it at http://1641.tcd.ie/. (Searching is open but looking at transcripts requires registration. All registration requires is an e-mail and a password.)

You can search the collection by name, full-text keyword, or by county. (An advanced search allows you a LOT more options, including gender, religion, age range, and date range of deposition.) I did a search for John Smith, and got 30 results. Results were not just depositions from people named John Smith, but depositions where people named John Smith are mentioned.

Clicking on the deposition name gives you a transcription of the deposition, with markings and other indications to show notations of the transcription. (Look at the site FAQ to get details on how to read these markings.) The site sticks faithfully to the original spelling and construction to the deposition, as you can see below:

“And that by the hand and meanes of the vnder named persons vyd Oliuer delahoide of [ffonerloe] in the said County Esquire accompanyed with fortie or fiftie men armed with pikes swords & guns aboute the 15th of January as aforesaid came of night vpon this deponents said land & with force & armes caryed away nyne & thirty cowes & one bull of this deponents proper goods”

Each transcript also has a link to view images of the original deposition, which shows in an overlay window. This window has tools to zoom way in, pan around, etc. You’re not going to get any words out of these original images unless you’re Super Archivist, so if you’re just trying to get a sense of the rebellion stick with the transcripts.

For more background on the 1641 rebellion, visit the historical background part of the site.

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