Earl Grey’s Irish Famine Orphans (20):British Parliamentary Papers, female orphan emigration returns

British Parliamentary papers:

female orphan emigration returns

These scans of  xerox copies I made in c. 1980 may prove useful to some people. I recently found them among my research notes on Cartesian philosophers!

The first document is from the Select Committee of the House of Lords appointed to inquire into the operation of the Irish Poor Law, and the expediency of making any amendments to its enactments. Sixth Report. Appendix to Minutes of evidence, BPP HC 1849-49, vol 16, No. 507, pp.64-66. It tells us which Irish Poor Law Unions the orphans came from and which ship they traveled on.

You will notice the misinformation regarding the first two vessels. Unfortunately it does not include information about vessels that arrived later, in 1850.

The appendix is online here somewhere but I haven’t been able to find the exact page,



The next document is from BPP HC 1850 (XXVII) Commissioners for administering Laws for the Relief of the Poor in Ireland. Third Annual Report Appendix B pp.132-34 . You will notice this is where the figure 4114  female orphans  comes from but my Barefoot, vols I and II has slightly more, about 4150, from memory. I assume the number in the database will be closer to the second figure. Please excuse my shonky scanning.

Luckily nowadays one can gain access to these things online. Try



Which reminds me…I’ve been hearing people say things like many of the orphans married more than once or the orphans often married more than once. Both ‘many’ and ‘often’ imply a measure. I was wondering has anyone actually counted or is it just a general impression, even an anecdotal one? Is it one in five, or 100 out of 300, or 400 out of 4000? And what percentage of marriages is each of these?

I’m having a little trouble with my post on the ending of the Earl Grey scheme. Soon come.

Glac bog an saol agus glacfaidh an saol bog tú …which reminds me of Yeats’s “tread softly for you tread …”