This weekend I received an offer from FindMyPast for a really cheap yearly subscription. I wasn’t sure what databases they had on their site that would be of interest to me, but what the heck. So, I went ahead and bit the bullet.
Come to find out they have databases that I can not get from other sites. Specifically, Irish records that have been newly digitized and indexed. The British databases are not as much of an interest to me, at this time, because the vast majority of my British ancestors emigrated in the 1600s.
The most interesting record that I found was for Dennis Connelly my 4x great grandparent. It was a record related to the Irish Reproductive Loan Fund. The fund was set up in 1824 as a micro credit project, that would provide tiny loans to the poor. The loans could be for as little as one pound, and repayment could not exceed 12 months. When one applied for a loan two sureties signed who agreed to pay if the borrower defaulted. Lending ceased in 1848 because the famine was so great that the number of defaulters out-weighed those able to pay back their debt, and a large majority just left the country instead to trying to pay off their loan.
The caption is a transcription of the entry:
Dennis signed as surety for several local resident’s loans. Friends, family, I don’t know. The loans were for only 2-3 pounds. It is telling that while his own family was going through difficulties, they put themselves out to help others in the same circumstances. The Connellys left Ireland in 1849 and went to Rhode Island, although most of the family eventually went on to Wisconsin and Nebraska.
The following .pdf file contains all the records that I found for Dennis in the collection. He is confirmed as a tailor in several indexes and entries. But apparently being possessed of a skill was of no use when it came to feeding his family.