A fantastically rich collection of Irish records entitled the Ireland, Famine Relief Commission Papers, 1845 – 1847 is now available on Ancestry. These 7,000 original letters were written by Irish citizens who were requesting help during the Great Famine in the mid 19th century. Some are quite harrowing accounts of life during the Famine, which were a stark reminder of just how brutal conditions were at that time.
Between 1845 and 1852, people in Ireland were literally starving to death as result of a disease that killed their potato crops – the staple food for Ireland’s poorest who constituted a third of the population! Overall it’s estimated that a staggering million Irish citizens died as a result of the Famine.
Many of the letters were written by members of local relief committees, the clergy and concerned citizens who didn’t know where else to turn. They were, in fact, pleas of help sent to a Relief Commission that was set up by the English Prime Minister Robert Peel in an attempt to help those worst affected. The majority of the letters refer to the counties of Cork, Galway, Clare, Mayo and Limerick, although these regions weren’t necessarily the worst affected.
This is the first time the Ireland, Famine Relief Commission Papers have gone online so please take a look and uncover the unique stories found in this record collection.