When and where was my Ir­ish fore­bear born?

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS -


Ed­ward Shad­well Hick­man was Crown solic­i­tor for the Province of Con­naught in the West of Ire­land from 1814 un­til his death in 1848.

I am hop­ing to find out when and where he was born. His father Richard lived in both En­nis, Co. Clare, and in Gal­way City, but nei­ther has the par­ish records for this pe­riod.

Would Ed­ward’s per­sonal de­tails have been en­tered into some sort of reg­is­ter upon his ap­point­ment as Crown solic­i­tor? Would he have needed to be from Con­naught to be el­i­gi­ble for the role? De­clan Bar­ron


The Crown solic­i­tor was the gov­ern­ment’s law agent. There would be a main of­fice in Dublin, and var­i­ous sub-agents spread around the coun­try. And yes, in the­ory there would have been a record kept by the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties of all ap­point­ments. How­ever, if it was a record kept by Dublin Cas­tle, the seat of Bri­tish power in Ire­land, then it’s un­likely to have sur­vived given the great con­fla­gra­tion of 1922, which saw the Ir­ish Pub­lic Record Of­fice con­sumed by fire.

Un­for­tu­nately Hick­man’s ap­point­ment was four years be­fore the com­mence­ment of the Chief Sec­re­tary’s Of­fice Reg­is­tered Pa­pers (CSORP), which are the main sur­viv­ing se­ries of Dublin Cas­tle ad­min­is­tra­tion pa­pers, but which only be­gan in 1818.

Be­fore then, many ad­min­is­tra­tion pa­pers were re­tained by each out­go­ing lord lieu­tenant. The in­cum­bent for 1814 was the Earl of Whit­worth, whose pe­riod of of­fice was June 1813 to Oc­to­ber 1817. It may be worth your while to do some key­word searches on­line for ref­er­ences to any sur­viv­ing pa­pers for Whit­worth. Some are listed in The Na­tional Archives’ Dis­cov­ery cat­a­logue at bit.ly/Whit­worthTNA. The pa­pers from CSORP, which are now held at the Na­tional Archives of Ire­land (NAI), are cur­rently ac­ces­si­ble through con­tem­po­rary hard­copy an­nual in­dexes. How­ever, there is a project to cat­a­logue them on­line in much greater de­tail for the years 1818–1852. The pa­pers up to 1830 have al­ready been com­pleted and the data­base can be found at csorp.na­tion­alarchives.

ie. Search for Hick­man’s name and you will find that there are very many ref­er­ences to his work as a Crown solic­i­tor.

It may also be worth check­ing the pa­pers of the chief Crown solic­i­tor held at NAI. While these pa­pers date from 1815, one year af­ter Hick­man’s ap­point­ment, they gen­er­ally re­late to Crown pros­e­cu­tions rather than es­tab­lish­ment (per­son­nel) mat­ters.

Ad­di­tion­ally the pa­pers are not on­line, and you will need to visit NAI to check the find­ing aid and any rel­e­vant pa­pers that you might iden­tify. Steven Smyrl

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