The manuscript Census of Ireland (1659) was discovered by W. H. Hardinge in 1864 from among the papers of the Marquess of Lansdowne, but was not published until 1938, when Seamus Pender transcribed this massive edition. Though not well known by Irish-American genealogists and very scarce in the United States, it is a work of great historical and genealogical importance.
A Census of Ireland, Circa 1659 represents the only known actual numbering of the people of Ireland prior to 1821. It is arranged geographically by counties, and thereunder by baronies, parishes, and townlands; and by cities, and thereunder by parishes and streets. For each townland or street, the census states the total number of inhabitants and the proportions of English, Irish, and Scottish residing there. In addition, and of great interest to genealogists, the returns supply the names of the most distinguished resident of each townland or street, under the designation "Titulado." Such an individual would ordinarily have been a landowner and could have been of either sex, a nobleman, baronet, gentleman, esquire, military officer, or adventurer. Since many of the Titulados were Irish Catholics, this unique volume demonstrates that there were many exceptions to the enforced transplantation of the Irish Catholic nobility following the Cromwellian subjugation of Ireland--and it divulges their identities. The returns also list, barony by barony, the main Irish surnames in 1659 and the numbers of families of each. Thus, we learn that in the Barony of Owhny in the County of Limerick, the families McDonough (7), McLoghlen (5), O'Ryan (5), O'Rea (5), and Rayne/O'Raynn (61) predominated.
Appended to the Census itself are the Irish Poll-Money Ordinances of 1660 and 1661, which list the names, county by county, of the several thousand individuals responsible for collecting these taxes. Mr. Pender's marvelous transcription of A Census of Ireland, Circa 1659 concludes with a complete name index to the nearly 20,000 titulados found in the volume and a comprehensive placename index for pinpointing Ireland's population in 1659.