Cork sources on

Readers seeking records in County Cork will be interested in the work of Pat Crowley, who has been extracting local records and publishing them on the website for many years. The Academia site is “a platform for sharing academic research” for scholars and researchers. Since its initiation in 2010 it has uploaded 40 million papers, and is read by 101 million academics, professionals, and students every month. It is free for use, but upgraded versions are also available. It is not restricted to academic staff and amateur researchers may also upload their papers.

Pat Crowley has been using this platform as one means to publish his very useful and extensive collection of records, all of which are directly relevant to family history.  Pat’s interest in local history started early. He grew up in Cork city, but his summers, Christmas and Easter were spent in the family farm in Durrus, West Cork with his bachelor uncle and grandmother.  He developed a fascination for local and family history through listening to his grandmother discuss local tales of long gone characters with her elderly neighbours; and to the banter between local farmers as they queued at the creamery to deliver their milk.

Fig. 1. Civil Parish of Durrus in West Cork

Pat qualified as a solicitor and practiced in Dublin, but continued to develop his knowledge of West Cork local history through visits to Archives and Libraries. He is a member of the Dublin Solicitors Bar Association, the Law Society of Ireland, the Irish Legal History Society and The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland.  In 2009 he became seriously ill and was out of action for some years.  Now retired, his daughter Aoife Crowley, former editor of the Trinity News, introduced him to the digital world and encouraged him to write a blog based on his accumulated information.   The purpose of Pat’s  blog  Durrus History  is to try to capture the spirit of the Irish word Dúchas, an abstract concept of place, community and interconnection.   He also continues to develop his own family history through records and DNA research. He has found significant DNA linkage with members of the Sheepshead, West Cork and Beara DNA group most of whose members are in America.

Fig. 2. The masthead from the ‘DurrusHistory’ Blog founded by Pat Crowley.
Research interests and approach
Fig. 3. Example of gravestone in Bantry Abbey

One line of his research has been on the development of the road, rail and other infrastructure in West Cork, and the major figures in different aspects of local administration. This has led him to compile information on mid-19th century Cork Magistrates and Grand Jury members and to the publications in outlined below.   While these articles may seem unstructured, Pat notes that the nature and diversity of the sources do not always lend themselves to simple classification into columns.  The format allows him to continuously add further information. These records are collected from census data, newspaper accounts of meetings or funerals, graveyard listings, memorials of deeds, directories, donated family histories, and many other sources.

Another application of his research has been as a member of the Bantry Abbey Project team. Among other things, the team is trying to identify those buried in unknown graves in the Bantry Abbey graveyard.  In the process of this Pat stumbles across a lot of information on Medical or Legal personnel which can be added to his databases below.   Additions or comments from readers would be very welcome to his email  – Pat25a (at) gmail (dot) com

The articles available from Pat to date are:

Early Doctors and Apothecaries (Chemists), Cork City and County

This paper (see here)  in Excel sheet format, provides information on over 4,000 doctors and apothecaries (pharmacists, druggists etc) who have practiced in Cork city and county. The sources of this information include directories, newspaper reports, deeds, family histories etc.  The document initially presents information on some relevant institutions,  and on practices of relevance to the sector in Cork.   It then lists the doctors and apothecaries by the town with which they are associated.  An example is below but note that content is very variable.

1832-1863 / Richard Corbett MD Doctor/ Medical Referee General Life local agent J.C. Meade. Innishannon. Subscriber Lewis Topography 1837. Attending protest meeting Cork 1842 re Medical Charities Bill and effect on fever hospital. 1863, rent on Innishannon Petty Session Court £8, 1863 Cork Grand Jury Presentments, Spring Assizes. Cork Archives: GJ/CO/PR/23 (1) Post Office Directory 1842. 1832. Subscriber to a scriptural commentary on the Book of Genesis and the Gospel by Charles Lambert Coghlan. 1829, 1840, 1866 Richard Corbett, M.D. 1840 Medical Officer of Dispensary, Innishannon “Elwood, Frances. [No address given] ‘On Saturday morning last, [19th], at Dunderrow Church, by the Rev. Thomas Meade, Rector of Innishannon, Richard Corbett, Esq. M.D., to Frances, relict of the late Charles Wm. Elwood, Esq.’ CC (24/03/1829)” “(CC 6/8/1846) – INNISHANNON RELIEF FUND RICHARD CORBETT, MD, Hon. Secretary” Member Western Medical Society Bandon 1834. 1832 Letters from Dr Richard Corbett, former churchwarden of Innishanon, [Innishannon, County Cork], to Sir William Gosset, [Under Secretary], noting that the parishioners of his parish managed to resist and block the appointment of officers of health at the Easter Vestry 

Fig. 2. A small extract from the register of Early Doctors and Apothecaries described above.

Legal Personnel in Early Cork  

As with the list of medical doctors, this article in Excel sheet format – See here  lists over 6,000 attorneys, solicitors and barristers with Cork associations.    These include those born in Cork, as well as those working in the county.    The sources are again diverse, including court reports, directories,  newspaper reports,  deeds,  family histories etc.

A small example is below:

1776 Francis Armstead.  / TCD King’s Inn Records, Middle Temple. /  1st son and Heir John, TCD ed Mr Bennett. Freeman of Cork 1772. Informed by John Bagwell and Jonas Marris.  Source:  Aldwell’s Directory 1845

Cork Magistrates

This article – See here – is a goldmine of information on all elements of the practice of law by local magistrates in Ireland (and indeed Ireland in general).  It outlines the legal basis on which magistrates were appointed, and their social and economic backgrounds.  It also includes accounts of their practices, good and bad, and commentaries from various writers on same.   There are also accounts of political and violent actions taken against magistrates at various times.  The major part of the article is an annotated list of magistrates based on information from a range of sources.

Strangely, it is not known how many magistrates there were.  James Chaterton, Clerk of the Crown and Peace in the 1820s, confessed in a return to the UK Parliament that he had no idea how many magistrates were in the county. The Lord Chancellors’ records, which might have provided information, were probably lost in the Public Records Office fire in 1922. One complicating factor was that certain posts entitled the holder to be a magistrate during their period of office. This included the Mayors of Cork and Youghal, and the Provosts of Bandon, Charleville and Clonakilty. Sources of information used for this collection include attendees at political meetings, or funerals who are described as Justices of the Peace, or as magistrates.  The results of Pat’s research are the approximately 3,400 magistrates listed.   An example is below:

Rev. Robert Morritt, Creagh Glebe, Skibbereen, Pre 1821.1823 Castlehaven.   Letter 1821 to Chief Secretary re lawlessness in Creagh, lack of military forces and poor calibre of police.   1822 supporting the new road Skibbereen to Bantry. Notorious tithe extractor whose actions led to an affray at Castlehaven in which four lives  were lost including one policeman.  At the subsequent hearing into affray he accepted that the Skibbereen Magistrate was hostile to him.  Active in famine relief 1822 with Rev. John Jagoe, Ballydehob.  1822 Chaplain to West Cork Yeomanry.  Later Rector Castlehaven where he was almost universally hated for tithe extraction.  He was reported as having neighbouring magistrates hear 600 summons against his parishioners re tithes owing. Lord Carbery in 1823 said Morritt was English,  in that year he had extracted £2,300 out of his tithes of £2,700. He seems to have resigned his living some time after.  Later Paris 1828 Defamation action while in English Protestant Establishment in Paris against three Anglican Clergymen.

An Ancestor Network blog on the Petty Session Court Records provides some insight into the surviving records from the courts presided over by these magistrates.

Cork Grand Jury (Civil Jurisdiction) To 1899

This article – see here  is a collection of diverse material related to the Grand Jury system in Cork and much of it can also be applied to these bodies in other counties.   The Grand Juries were the local authority responsible for development and maintenance of all public infrastructure, which included roads, bridges, and public buildings such as courts, jails etc. They were composed of local gentry and landowners and in some counties were notoriously corrupt. Naming Grand Jury members is difficult because of the destruction of an enormous amount of documentation in an 1891 Courthouse Fire. A summary review of Grand Juries is in an Ancestor Network blog ‘Grand Jury Presentments

In the development of these databases, Pat acknowledges the assistance of the Cork Archives; Kieran Wyse of Cork County Library; The National Library of Ireland; The National Archives of Ireland and the RCB Library. Significant databases include  O’Kief, Coshe Mang, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland ;  and the University of Southampton EPPI Project (an online database of over 14,000 pieces of legislation, reports etc affecting Ireland – 1800 to 1922).  Among the numerous individuals, the late Mary Dukelow nee Fuller (Brahalish, Durrus); Ron Price for his outstanding work in transcribing West Cork memorials from the Registry of Deeds; The historical community of Bantry, Durrus, Kilcrohane and Drimoleague;  Nick Reddin in Canberra who coordinates the worldwide Registry of Deeds Project; Susan Baretta of Utah who had Caheragh Ancestry  (; Brian Limrick UK; Colonel John Townsend for family records;  Dianne Regan from Boston (now residing in Spain), with whom he shares Gosnell ancestry, and who had over 1,000 cards detailing people of West Cork descent of all religions and how they interconnect.





Flyleaf Press publish ‘A guide to Tracing your Cork Ancestors‘ by Tim Cadogan and Tony McCarthy,  two local experts on Cork history and genealogy.

It is available from here  in ebook or paper format.





Other articles in our series on Irish Family Sources: