The incredible Easter Rising & Ireland Under Martial Law 1916-1921 collection contains over 75,000 records, ranging from riot reports to first-hand accounts. This once-classified set exposes the effect the Rising had on people across Ireland, including witness statements and urgent government communications, as well as 25,000 search and raid reports.

Search the Easter Rising collection

Make sure to get the most out of your search in this unique collection with our quick guide...

Start broad

When you start your search in the Easter Rising collection make sure to keep the search terms broad.

  • Start with just a name with both name variants boxes ticked.

Here we start with a search for Sean Mac Diarmuid, one of the lead rebels of the Rising:

  • Adding too much information can hinder your search

It's important to bear in mind that while having a lot of information on your relative can be extremely useful for narrowing down results, overloading the search terms can hinder your search. For instance, simply adding in Sean's birth year + or - 2 years returns 0 results.

By removing Sean's birth date from the search terms, we turned up 1 result.

The Easter Rising collection differs from many other sets because the original documents are often lengthy reports of events rather than a document recording individual people. Because of this, details such as dates of birth are very often not recorded. If you enter a birth date but the transcript has it listed as "-", it will not return a result.

  • Remove additional information such as birth dates, gender, locations and any other keywords to make sure you don't miss a potential match

Wildcards

As many of the people you will find in the records will have Irish names, they may appear in the collection under multiple different spellings.

  • Keep both name variants boxes ticked

Making sure the name variants box is ticked will help in this case. Here, searching for Sean Mac Diarmuid has turned up a search result for Sean MacDermott.

However some names can appear so removed from the spelling you know that they can't be found even with name variants. This is where searching with wildcards comes in handy.

  • Use wildcards to ensure you find any alternative spellings

When you want to use a wildcard, select a character in the word you're searching and replace it with either an asterisk (*) or a question mark (?). Replacing the full name with Sean Mac* turns up results for any Seans whose surname begins with the letters Mac. In this way, we were able to recover one more entry for Sean, under the spelling of "Shean MacDiarmada".


Searching the last name Folkes with a wildcard character in place of the letter L (Fo*kes) will return results that include last names Foakes, Fokes, Folks, Fookes, Forkes, Foukes, Foulkes and Fowkes.

By using an asterisk, you're telling the computer that the * can represent more than one letter. Going back to our previous example, we can see that entering Fo*kes sometimes returns results where there is more than one character in place of the *, such as Foulkes.

On the other hand, using a question mark instead limits the wildcard to just one character. It's best to use the * in most cases, but if you're sure that only one letter may be mistaken, you can narrow your results down a little bit by using the ? instead. For instance, if we think one of our Smith family members may have been recorded as a Smyth, we can use Sm?th instead of Sm*th.

Discover more about maximising your search results with wildcards