County Cavan


"Cavan, a county of Ireland, province of Ulster, 47 miles long and 23 broad; bounded W by Leitrim, M by Fermanagh and Monaghan, E by the latter county and Louth, and S by Longford, W Meath and E Meath. It sends 2 members to parliament, and is divided into 30 parishes. The linen manufacture is carried on here to a great extent. Pop. 194,330."
[From The New London Gazetteer (1826)]


Archives & Libraries

Abbreviations used in these Cavan pages

CCL-County Cavan Library, Farnham Street, Cavan
CRC-Cavan Research Centre
GO-Genealogical Office/Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland, Dublin
IA-Internet Archive
GRO-General Register Office, Dublin
LDS-Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, Salt Lake City
CCL-County Cavan Library, Farnham Street, Cavan
NAI-National Archives of Ireland, Dublin (Used to be known as the Public Records Office)
OSi-Ordnance Survey Ireland, Dublin
PRONI-Public Records Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast
RCBL-Representative Church Body Library, Dublin




  • Cherry, Jonathan and Scott, Brendan (editors). Cavan History and Society. Interdisciplinary essays on the history of an Irish County. Dublin, 2014.
  • Cullen, S. Books and authors of County Cavan : a bibliography and an essay, Cavan County Council, 1965.
  • Gillespie, Raymond (editor). Cavan. Essays on the History of An Irish County. Dublin, 2004.
  • Grenham, J., Tracing your Irish Ancestors, Genealogical Publishing Company, MD, 1999
  • Ryan, J.G., Irish Records, Ancestry, 1997
  • Falley, M. D. Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore MD, 1980, Vols I & II.


User Submitted Transcriptions


  • Journal of the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead in Ireland, Printed at the University Press by Ponsonby and Gibbs, 1909.
    • Vol. 1-6, 1888-1906, LDS Film 127952
    • Vol. 7-8, 1907-1912, LDS Film 127954
    • Vol. 9, 1913-1916, LDS Film 1279285, Item 15
  • Old Irish Graveyards by Eileen Hewson, County Cavan, Kabristan Archives 2006
    • Part I Annagh; Bailieborough; Ballyjamesduff; Blacklion; Drumaloor; Drumlane; Killeshandra; Kilmore; Milltown; Swanlinbar. (14 graveyards; index of approx 675 memorials) ISBN 978-0-9548979-6-3
    • Part II Arvagh; Ballyconnell; Belturbet; Shercock; Kill; Meaghera; Mullagh; Roffony. (10 graveyards; 2 memorials; index of approx 873 memorials) ISBN 978-0-9548979-7-0
    • Part III Ballyconnell; Ballyjamesduff; Derrylane; Dowra; Drumalee; Kildallon; Killeshandra; Virginia. (10 graveyards; index of approx 1000 memorials) ISBN 978-0-9548979-9-4
    • Part IV Bailieborough; Ballyhaise; Cavan; Cloverhill; Cootehill; Killinkere; Killoughter; Kingscourt; Laragh; Lavey; Magherintemple; Urney; Virginia. (17 graveyards; index of approx 890 memorials) ISBN 978-0-9553321-0-4
    • Part V Ballintemple; Ballymachugh; Bawnboy; Belturbet; Dernakesh; Derryheen; Drung; Glangevlin; Kilnaleck; Mullagh; Redhills; Templeport; Virginia. (14 graveyards; index of approx 1040 memorials) ISBN 978-0-9553321-1-1


  • Sullivan, M., The Graveyards of County Cavan - A Survey, Cavan-Monaghan Rural Development Co-op Society Ltd., May 1998.
  • Mass Graves of Ireland, 1845 to 1850 includes Bailieborough, Bawnboy, Cavan, Cootehill
  • Mitchell, B. A Guide to Ireland Graveyards and Cemeteries, Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1990
  • Ballyhaise Cemetery Plots, Randal McCollum, 1880, Local Custody



  • Cavan Townlands - 1821 records survive for 17 of the 36 civil parishes. c.80,000 individual records have been re-indexed and are now searchable by townland.
  • Cavan Townlands - 1841 records survive for the parish of Killashandra. This is a unique collection of c.15,000 individual records providing a rich level of detail from this period.
  • National Archives - Search 1901/1911 and surviving fragments 1821-1851


  • Enumerated Abstracts
  • Alphabetical index to the townlands and towns of Ireland showing the number of the sheet of the ordnance survey maps on which they appear, also, the areas of the townlands, the county, barony, parish, poor law union, and poor law electoral division in which they are situated 


  • 1813 - Cavan excluded.
  • 1821 - Records survive for 17 of the 36 civil parishes. c.80,000 individual records are available to view online.
  • 1813, 1821*, 1831, 1841*, 1851 - destroyed in the Four Courts Fire of 1922.
  • 1841 - c.15,000 individual records survive for the parish of Killashandra.
  • 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 - destroyed 'by order of the government'.
  • 1901, 1911 - complete.
  • 1921 - no census taken due to civil unrest.
  • 1926 - release subject to a one hundred year moratorium.


  • 1821 remnants by Debbie Annandale
  • Masterson, William G., County Cavan, Ireland, Killeshandra Parish, 1841 Census. A transcription and index. Indianapolis, IN., 2001.
  • Keogh, Marie. Crosserlough, Co. Cavan 1821 Census. Genealogical Society of Ireland, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, 2000.
  • Gilligan, Patricia. Drumlomman Parish, Cavan, Ireland, Census 1821. Genealogical Society of Ireland, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, 2006. View here.

Church History

  • Catholic Diocese of Kilmore
  • Gallogly, D. The Diocese of Kilmore, 1800-1950 Bréifne Historical Society, 1999.
  • Hall, T. The History of Presbyterianism in East Cavan Belfast, 1912
  • MacNamee, J. J. History of the Diocese of Ardagh. Dublin, Browne & Nolan, 1954.
  • O'Connell P. The Diocese of Kilmore: Its History and Antiquities Browne and Nolan, Dublin, 1937.
  • Davies, O. “The Churches of County Cavan.” The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, vol. 78, no. 2, 1948, pp. 73–118. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/25510652. Accessed 17 Feb. 2021.
  • The Trial of the Rev. Thos. Brady, Parish Priest of Kilmore, at Cavan, W. E. Andrews, London, 1828.

Church Records

  • CRC: Search County Cavan Records
  • Ryan, J.G. (ed), Irish Church Records, Flyleaf Press, Dublin, 2001
  • Church of Ireland
    • Directory of Microfilm and Indexed Records
    • 1697-1844 Index to Marriage License Bonds Dioceses of Kilmore, Ardagh, and Meath, LDS Film 0100869.
    • Charlton Trust Fund Marriage Certificates 1795-1862
      • Indexed in NAI Accessions Vol. 37.
  • Methodist
  • Presbyterian
  • Quaker
    • Archives

      Religious Society of Friends 
      Ulster Quarterly Meeting 
      Friends Meeting House 
      Railway Street Lisburn 
      County Antrim BY28 1EP 
      Northern Ireland
      Dublin Friends Historical Library 
      Religious Society of Friends in Ireland 
      Swanbrook House 
      Morehampton Road 
      Dublin 4 Ireland
    • Directory of Microfilm and Indexed Records
    • Eustace, P. B. and Goodbody, O. C., Quaker Records Dublin Abstracts of Wills, Stationery Office for the Irish Manuscripts Commission, Dublin, 1957.
    • Goodbody, O. C. and Hutton, B. G., Guide to Irish Quaker records, 1654-1860, Genealogical Pub. Co. Baltimore, MD, 1999.
    • Mitchell, B. A Guide to Irish Parish Registers, Genealogical Publishing Co., MD, 1995
      • Quaker Meetings by civil parish: Ballyhaise, Belturbet, Cootehill
  • Roman Catholic

Court Records

  • Commissioners of Affadavits; from Wilson's Dublin Directory, 1820
    • Beatty, Arthur; King's Bench Cootehill Chancery & Special Bail
    • Bell, Andrew; King's Bench Not listed & Exchequer Bermingham Mich. Four Courts King's Court
    • Fanner, Theop.; Four Courts Belturbet
    • Griffith, Edward; Four Courts Not listed
    • Henry, Maurice; Four Courts Cavan & Special Bail
    • Mullen, James; Four Courts Ballybays, Cavan
    • Phillip, Rich.; Four Courts Cootehill & Special Bail
    • Whiteby, E.; Kings Bench & Exchequer Ballyconnell & Common Pleas
  • Newspapers
    • Both the Cavan Herald and the Anglo-Celt published regularly judgement summaries and in some cases detailed testimony for the following courts:
      • Chancery Court - Notices of forthcoming cases
      • Crown Court
      • Record Court
      • Petty Sessions
      • Quarter Sessions
      • Assizes
  • Registry of Deeds

Description & Travel



  • Cavan in Lewis' Topographical Dictionary 1837
  • Holden's triennial directory for 1805, 1806, 1807 - LDS Film 0100179, Item 2
  • Lewis, S. A topographical dictionary of Ireland: comprising the several counties, cities boroughs, corporate, market and post towns, parishes and villages with historical and statistical descriptions LDS Film 599557
  • Pigot, J. The Commercial directory, of Ireland, Scotland, and the four most northern counties of England, for 1820-21 and 1822. 1820/21 & 22 - LDS Film 0962702, Item 1
  • The Parliamentary gazetteer of Ireland: adapted to the new poor-law, franchise, municipal and ecclesiastical arrangements...and presenting the results, in detail of the census of 1841, compared with that of 1831 (10 vols.) LDS Fiche 6020358 - 6060382
  • Provincial Directory Counties of Antrim, Armagh and Cavan
  • The Official Guide to Cavan

Emigration & Immigration



The transcription for this county from the National Gazetteer (1868), provided by Colin Hinson.



Online resources

Genetic Genealogy

Family Studies

  • Adams, W.A. and Adams, R.W.P. Rev A Genealogical History of the Family of Adams of Cavan, etc, London, Mitchell and Hughes, 1903. [Search NY Lib]
  • Byers Families
  • Carney, J. (Ed) A Genealogical History of the O'Reillys Written in the Eighteenth Century by Eóghan O Raghallaigh and Incorporating Portion of the Earlier Work of Dr. Thomas Fitzsimons, Cumann Sheanchais Bhreifne, Cavan, 1959.
  • Fergusons of Cavan
  • Goetz, M. M. John Brady and His Descendants : (1813 - County Cavan, Ireland - Fort Dodge, Iowa, U.S.A. 1900), c1978. [Search NY Lib]
  • Leahy, David, The Cavan Leahys, self published [Search Amazon.com]
    • 1800-1950 Volume 2, 2019. ISBN-13: 978-0995663008
    • Origins: Volume 1, 2016. ISBN-13: 978-0995663046
  • MacBradaigh, Sean, "The Bradys of Cavan in History and Genealogy", Irish Genealogical Sources, No. 29, Genealogical Society of Ireland, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin, 2002.
  • Nesbitt - History Of The Family Of Nisbet Or Nesbitt In Scotland And Ireland From Memoranda Written By Alexander Nesbitt Of Lismore, Co. Cavan, Ireland, And Of Oldlands, Sussex, And Completed By His Widow, Cecilia Nesbitt June, 1898 Printed For Private Circulation By Andrew Iredale, 13, The Strand, Torquay.
  • O'Hara of County Cavan, Ireland and New South Wales, Australia
  • Notes on families and individuals of the name of "Parsons" : collected from time to time between 1890 and 1902, in an endeavour to trace the pedigree of Richard Parsons of Carrigogunnell, County Limerick, who, with his brothers William and Joseph, were resident in the Counties Cavan, Leitrim and Fermanagh in A.D. 1700, and thereabouts. London : Army and Navy Co-operative Society, 1903. NLI GO 553
  • O'Reilly, Reilly, Riley


  • 1641 Depositions
  • Conlon, L. "The Influence of Freemasonry in East Cavan During the Rebellion of 1798", Breifne v. 8, No. 33, 1997, p. 782-807.
  • Coote, C. Sir Statistical survey of the County of Cavan, with observations on the means of improvement drawn up in the year 1801, for the consideration, and under the direction of The Dublin Society, Dublin, Graisberry and Campbell, 1802.
  • Cullen, S. "Sources of Cavan Local History", Breifne, Vol. 5, No. 18 (1977) p. 185-205
  • Dunne, P.J. (ed), County Cavan in old picture postcards with historical commentary [by Ciaran Parker], P.J. Dunne, Butlersbridge, 1999.
  • Ferris, T. The Irish Narrow Gauge : A Pictorial History, Belfast, Northern Ireland : Blackstaff Press, c1993.
  • Flanagan, P.J. The Cavan and Leitrim Railway, Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1966.
  • Gillespie, R. (Editor) Cavan: Essays on the History of an Irish County, Irish Academic Press, 1995
  • Hayes, R. (ed), Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilization, 11 vols. Boston, 1965.
  • Mag Uidhir, T.C. "The Cavan Inquisitions of 1588, 1590 and 1609", Breifne, v. 8, No. 2, 1991, p. 272-291.
  • McCullam, R., Sketches of the Highlands of Cavan, and of Shirley Castle, in Farney, taken during the Irish famine/by a Looker-On, J. Reed, Belfast, 1856
  • O'Donovan, P. Archaeological Inventory of County Cavan., Dublin : Stationery Office, 1995.
  • "The Ancient Irish Chiefs And Clans - Brefney" from O'Hart, J. , Irish Pedigrees, two vols., Fifth edition, published in 1892 in Dublin, re-printed by the Genealogical Publishing Co. in Baltimore in 1976.
  • The Modern Antiquarian.com

Land & Property


Law & Legislation




Migration, Internal

  • 1796 - "Catholics to Mayo", Seanchas Ardmhacha (Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society) v. 3, No. 1, 1958, p.17-50

Military Records

  • Arms registered with the Clerk of the Peace, April 1833. NLI ILB 04 p 12
  • Cavan Born Soldiers British Census
  • Cavan Militia
  • Circular No. 6, Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association. Irish Branch, Co. Cavan Division. NLI Collection G, Call Number 355 s 3.
  • Kitzmiller, J.M. In Search of The Forlorn Hope, 1988, Manuscript Publishing.
  • Maxwell, M.P. and Hunter, R.J. "The Muster Roll of c. 1630: Co. Cavan", Breifne, V. 5 No. 18, 1977-8, pp.206-222
  • Markey, E.P., 1798 The Cavan Connection, 1998.
  • Paterson, T.G.F. "The Volunteer Companies of Ulster 1778-1793 III Cavan", Irish Sword, The Journal of the Military History Society of Ireland, v. 7
  • National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey
  • Regimental Records
  • Soldiers Died In Great War 1914 - 19 published by J. B. Hayward & Son in association with The Imperial War Museum, 1921
  • Snodaigh, P.O. The Irish Volunteers, A List of the Units, Cambridge University Press, 1995
    • Cavan County Volunteers - 1779, 1782, 1783
    • Cavan, County Cavan Volunteers Regiment, Cavan Volunteer Corps.
  • Snoddy, O. "Notes on the Volunteers, Militia, Yeomanry and Orangemen of County Cavan", Breifne v.3 No. 11, p.320-339
  • The Jacobite War In Cavan

Names, Geographical


Orphans & Orphanages

  • Arnold, M. & Laskey, H., Children of the Poor Clares: The Story of an Irish Orphanage, Appletree, Belfast, 1985.


  • Ardagh & Clonmacnoise Historical Society Journal (1926-51)
    • NLI Call No: Ir 794105
  • Breiffne Antiquarian and Historical Society Journal
  • Breifne
    • Covers the area of the ancient kingdom of Breifne, centered on County Cavan. Published since 1958 by the local historical society, Cumann Seanchas Bhreifne.
    • NLI Call No: Ir 94119 b2
    • PERSI Code: IRBR
    • LDS
      • Salt Lake Holdings: Vol. 3 (no. 9, 1966) -
      • Call Number: 941.69 H25b
    • Indexes
  • Breissne (Annual)
    • Aine Bean Ui Sheasnain, Grouse Hall P.O., Ballieborough, Co. Cavan
  • Cavan Newsletter (Quarterly)
    • Published by Kathy Dyer, 99 West Harrison Street, Chandler, AZ 85224
    • PERSI Code: IRVN
  • Journal of the Royal Society of the Antiquaries of Ireland. See a list of County Cavan related articles here
  • The Heart of Breifne: traditions, ballads, legends and folklore from mid-Cavan
  • The Irish Ancestor
    • Published between 1969-1986 (18 vols.), edited by Rosemary ffolliott of Fethard, Co. Tipperary, Ireland.
    • PERSI Code: IRAN
    • The LA FHC has a set.
  • The Irish Sword
    • Journal of the Military History Society of Ireland. Published since 1949 by the Military History Society of Ireland, Newman House, University College, 86 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2.
    • NLI Call No: Ir 355 i6
    • PERSI Code: IRSW
  • PERSI Order Form
  • PERSI index

Politics & Government

  • Smyth, T.S. "Cavan Members in the Irish Parliament", Breifny Antiquarian Society Journal
    • "Seventeenth Century", V. 1 No. 1, p. 37-47, 1920
    • "Eighteenth Century", V. 1 No. 2, p. 95-112, 1921
  • The Ulster Covenant
    • Signators on petition opposed to Home Rule 1912

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Poor Law Union and The Workhouse
    • Bailieborough, Bawnboy
    • Cavan, Cootehill
    • Enniskillen
    • Granard
    • Kells
    • Oldcastle
  • Grant, J. "Local relief committees in Co. Cavan, 1845-47", Breifne, v. 8, No.3, 1994, p. 553-565.
  • LDS Film
    • Board of Guardians minute books, 1839-1917
    • Kells Poor Law Union Board of Guardians minute books, 1870-1920
    • Oldcastle Poor Law Union Granard Union minute book, 1863-1872
    • Granard Poor Law Union Workhouse registers, 1845-1913
    • Enniskillen Poor Law Union

Probate Records


Public Records

  • 1839 List of Persons who obtained Game Certificates in Ulster, PRONI T688
  • Outrage Reports 1835-1852
  • Dogs Regulation Act, 1890 (list of licencees), Cavan County Library


  • Duffy, F. "The Second Report of the Commissioners for Education Inquiry for County Cavan 1824-1827", Breifne, v. 9, No. 35, p. 884-910
  • Duffy, F. "Education in Cavan, 1825-32", Breifne, v. 8, No. 31, 1995, 587-606
  • National School records held at the National Archives
  • De Brún, P. "Some Cavan Schools and Teachers 1814-31, Breifne, V. 5, No. 20, 1981, pp. 407-431
  • Lurgananure Reunion Committee. The Hill of the Yew Tree: Lurgananure, its school, scholars and history. Killinkere, Co. Cavan, 2007
  • Ardlow School Reunion Committee. The Road to Ardlow School, 1897-1997. Virginia, Co. Cavan, 1997.
  • Drumcor Old School Committee. Drumcor, It's School and Surrounding District. Cavan, 2002.
  • Killyconnan National School Centenary Committee. Killyconnan National School 1899-1999. The first 100 Years. Cavan, 1999.
  • Michael McShane and Billy Saunderson. Mr. Kenny's School, Drumcoghill Lower, Killashandra. A Brief History. Cavan, 2020. Read it here.
  • Cunningham, T.P. "Students of Kilmore Academy 1838-1874", Breifne

    • V. 4, No. 16, 1973-5, pp. 501-530
    • V. 5, No. 17, 1976, pp. 37-73
    • V. 5, No. 18, 1977-8, pp. 278-293
    • V. 5, No. 19, 1979, pp. 369-381
    • V. 5, No. 20, 1981, pp. 451-458
    • V. 6, No. 21, 1982, pp. 76-88
    • V. 6, No. 22, 1984, pp. 189-199
    • V. 6, No. 23, 1985, pp.277-285
  • O'Connell, P., The Schools and Scholars of Breiffne, Dublin: Browne and Nolan Limited, 1942, 8vo. pp669.
    • LDS Film 992996 Item 2
  • Viscount Weymouth's Grammar School (Carrickmacross)
    • A list of Cavan born pupils from Moffett, B. (ed), A list of pupils who entered Trinity College, Dublin, from 1706 to 1909, Dundalk : W. Tempest, 1911

Social Life & Customs

  • Ballard, L.M. "Matchmaking and Marriage Revisited", Heart of Breifne, 1985, pp. 75-81.
  • O'Keefe, J. G. ND O'Brien, A A Handbook of Irish Dances, With an Essay on their Origin and History, 6th ed., Dublin, M. H. Gill & Son, ltd., Dublin, 1944.
    • Four-hand reel (Cavan)
  • Sexton, A. "Matchmaking and Marriage in Co. Cavan in the Late Nineteenth Century", Heart of Breifne, 1978, pp. 24-30.
  • Sexton, A. "Death and Burial in Co. Cavan in the Late Nineteenth Century", Heart of Breifne, 1979, pp. 68-82.




  • Tithe Applotment Books Church tax records from c.1832 listing tenant farmer leaseholders as presented on The National Archives of Ireland website. All parishes except for Drung have been transcribed ie 35 out of 36.
  • Tithe Applotment Books Re-classified, re-indexed and now searchable by townland. This important census substitute lists c.30,000 tenant farmer names. Read the guide here before searching the NAI website.
  • Griffith's Valuation
  • Revised Valuations
    • Perpetual updates of Griffith's Valuations
      • Microfilm of original records at the Ireland Valuation Office, Dublin.
  • Early Valuations and Revisions
    • Valuation Office books 1824-1856
    • "While Griffith's published Valuation contains the surveys made of the various Poor Law Unions for the years 1848-1864 only, some earlier surveys were made" Falley p. 529. The earlier surveys referred to above by Falley, include the majority of County Cavan. The early County Cavan books are held by the National Library of Ireland in Dublin and begin circa 1837.

Voting Registers