Sunday, April 17, 2016


If you are of Irish descent and have family members who lived in Ireland during the Irish
War of Independence, this announcement from Findmypast is great news! 

Online publication of significant record set reveals the stories behind the Easter Rising
and Ireland under Martial Law

17 April: Findmypast launches online today the most complete collection of British War Office records relating to the Easter Rising and Irish War of Independence from 1916-1921. The collection, digitised from original records held by The National Archives in Kew, reveals the struggles of life under Martial Law in Ireland, and demonstrates how events under the occupying military served to galvanise support for the rebels.

Totalling more than 75,000 records, the collection will be free to access for ten days at from today, 17 April, in advance of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising on    24 April 2016.

More than 3,000 people were injured or killed in a conflict which saw three civilians killed for every one rebel. The records reveal the impact that the conflict had on men, women and children across Ireland. There are eye-witness accounts, interviews with civilians and reports of the trials of the leaders of the Rising and their sentences of execution.

The once classified records shine new light on the subsequent period of Martial Law in Ireland which was declared by the Lord Lieutenant in 1916, including the War of Independence, when the British military assumed control of the executive, judiciary and legislative arms of the entire country.. The contents of the collection provide a picture of what life was like for ordinary citizens in Ireland during this turbulent time.

The 25,000 search and raid records show the efforts of the military and police to discover arms, ammunition and seditious material through thousands of raids as well as their search for individuals associated with Sinn Féin, Irish Citizen Army, Irish Volunteers and the Irish Republican Army.
Members of the public accessing the records on Findmypast will find the names of the thousands of people who were detained and interned in prisons in Ireland, England and Wales and tried by courts martial, including the names of prominent nationalists and elected officials.

Military correspondence between the barracks in Dublin and the War Office in London grants new perspectives on the motivations and fears of the British Army leadership. The movements and actions of several key nationalist figures are also documented, including those of James Connolly, Eamon De Valera, Thomas Ashe, Joseph MacDonagh, Arthur Griffith, Padraig Pearse and Francis and Hannah Sheehy Skeffington and Countess Markievicz.

Key items from the collection include:

Daily situation reports sent by the British Army from Dublin to London between 24 April and 12 May 1916 documenting events during the uprising

A report from the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief confirming the execution of iconic Irish socialist and rebel James Connolly, who owing to injuries sustained in the conflict had to be strapped to a chair before being shot

Court martial reports sentencing prominent nationalist, politician and suffragette Countess Markievicz to two years in prison for “assisting and promoting crime and murder”

Witness statements from civilians caught up in the Rising

Documents authored by Michael Collins seized from a safehouse used by the nationalist figurehead

Details on raids of pubs such as the Brazen Head, hotels, nationalist club houses such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians and thousands of homes

An urgent and secret warning from Sir C Spring Rice, British Ambassador in America, of gun running in Ireland

A telegram to the Prime Minister to report the expected surrender of the rebels from the Lieutenant General John Marshall

Internment files including the personal letters from prisoners or their relatives testifying to their innocence

Details on the hunger strikes of interned prisoners

Secret documents that reveal the British Military’s own concern with some of the behaviour of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC)

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