historian John Powell is seeking support for a book he is researching on Portarlington 1800 - 1850 incorporating the combined registers of Portarlington, Lea & Ballykean, also the English Church and the Lea & Coolbanagher Relief Subscriptions of 1847. This is the eleventh publication in a series of documents on the area.
“Portarlington 1800-1850 consists of manuscript church registers never published before, and is indexed by name, place and occupations. It is an excellent source of local and family history for the area, and also covers the remaining aspects of the Huguenot settlement,” explains the author.
“I am aiming for a publication of 400/500 copies but am seeking nominal support/interest and especially subscribers to make a subscribers list in the book and provide me with confidence to go ahead with publication, given the costs of such ventures!”
John Powell, the recently retired librarian at York Minister (the largest cathedral in Ireland and the UK has had a life long interest in Portarlington and its Huguenot population and has been highly commended for his work.
“Beginning in 1694 the records of Portarlington union of parishes not only provide a wealth of information for htose trying to trace their family roots but also are the raw materials on which a social history of the town and its environs can be built.
The French Church (St Paul’s) famously has records of the Huguenot settlers who came to Portarlington in the 17th century but equally important are the parishes of St Michael, Portarlington, Lea, Ballykeane and Cloneyhurke.
“In a unique way John Powell has collated and correlated the records from all these parishes making the task of the researcher and historian a much easier endeavour,” Rev Leslie Stevenson, Archdeacon of Meath and Kildare and Rector of Portarlington Union of Parishes.
This book will combine in chronological order three sets of church registers, each distinguished by different colours. It serves as a continuation of the 1908 Huguenot Society publication of the French Church registers 1694-1816. Later entries, plus those of Lea and Ballykean have never been published before.
This is a notable contribution to family and local history, involving not just Laois but also parts of Kildare and Offaly. Church of Ireland records, these may well include Catholic names in the use of graveyards.
This period lies between the Act of Union, and includes the great famine of the 1840s. As well as names the records are detailed with occupations; places of residence; army & militia regiments; examples of old age, child mortality; Portarlington’s schools and teachers.
The entries are footnoted where of interest: indexed by name, place, occupation: also graphs of baptisms, burials: with histories of Lea church, Portarlington’s English Church: also the relief subscriptions raised by Thomas Des Voeux in 1847 for a soup kitchen in Portarlington.
You may wish to become part of this publication, and you can do so in a practical way by indicating and reserving your own copy of the book in advance.
By doing so you become a part of this history and your name will be printed in a subscribers list in the book, following a tradition set in the eighteenth century.