Using the Poverty Relief Loan records

Last month Findmypast released searchable “Poverty Relief Loans, 1824-1871″, part of the Irish Reproductive Loan Fund records from the National Archives. I was optimistic these records would be a brickwall-breaker. So far, no bricks have fallen from my family history, but I haven’t given up.

There are several excellent explanations online about these records, but the one I’m highlighting today is Joe Buggy’s ‘Townland of Origin’ blog, specifically his 27 January 2015 article.

He gives a great example; he’s looking for Michael Ryan, who was born in Ireland and emigrated to the U.S. during the Famine years. (I can identify with the challenge since I’ve spent many hours researching Ryans.)  Joe reminds us about the FAN club methodology and recommends we look at Family, Associates, Neighbors.

In the 1880 U.S. census, next to “his” Michael Ryan, is the Ebzery family, also from Ireland. The Ebzery surname is extremely unusual in Ireland – exactly what we hope to find when looking at FANs.

Researching the ‘Poverty Relief Loan’ records, Joe found Philip Ebzery taking out a loan in 1846 in County Limerick. Michael Ryan was one of the guarantors. An 1853 record – with the name of the townland and civil parish in County Limerick! – reports on efforts to collect the delinquent loan. Philip Ebzery “resided here in 1846 a farmer, was poor, died about 4 years ago, family all emigrated.” Michael Ryan? “Lived here in 1846, a poor laborer supporting his mother and sisters…emigrated to America in 1847.”

What an exciting lead to follow! Read Joe Buggy’s complete story at

And query your ancestor’s FANs among the Poverty Relief Loan records.

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