Records of the Irish Reproductive Loan Fund are now available online.
Brian Donovan, Head of Irish Data and Business Development for Findmypast says: “The Irish Reproductive Loan Fund was a privately funded micro credit scheme set up in 1824 to provide small loans to the ‘industrious poor’ – those most affected by poverty and famine.
“This collection of almost 700,000 records, which span the period of the Irish Potato Famine, provides unique insight into the lives of those living in Ireland during one of the darkest periods in its history. The handwritten ledgers and account books reveal the changing fortunes of Irish ancestors and their subsequent movements in Ireland and across the world. Now anyone can go online and research individuals and families to find out more about where they lived, their financial situation, their social status and more besides.”
“These incredibly important records provide an exceptional insight into the lives of the poor across the west of Ireland from Sligo down to Cork. The people recorded are precisely those who were most likely to suffer the worst of the Famine or be forced to emigrate.
“These remarkable records allow us to chart what happened to 690,000 people like this from the 1820s to the 1850s, giving a glimpse of their often heart-breaking accounts of survival and destitution, misery and starvation. We are very lucky to be able to tell their stories.”
Caroline Kimbell, Head of Licensing at The National Archives in London says: “This collection is one of very few about individual Irish families from the 19th century held at Kew. We are grateful to Findmypast for bringing these remarkable testaments to light.”