Town of Portstewart [1901 to 1911]

I would normally use the 1901/1911 Census as my starting point for moving back into the nineteenth century or forward to the present day. These two censuses provide details on the members of each household in a townland or street at that time as well as details of the houses in which they lived. Even more importantly, they provide a window into the nature of the society and economy within a locality in the early decades of the twentieth century. The census records, when used in conjunction with valuation records, allow us to see exactly where people lived in the early years of the twentieth century. This is demonstrated below, using the town of Portstewart [1901 to 1911] as an example.

Population of Portstewart and Portrush 1891-1911 - click here. Note the substantial increase in the population of Portstewart during this period.

Two Excel databases 1901 and 1911 for Portstewart that summarise some of the detailed census information, give us an idea of the socio-economic structure of the town and relate the census records to the valuation records, highlighting the differences in the numbering system between the two sets of sources.

The maps below will allow you to locate some of the people listed in the 1901 and 1911 Census.

1904 OS map of the town - Map 1 & Map 2 show the basic layout of Portstewart Town c.1904 plus the names of the streets and the important buildings. You might want to compare this map to the present-day satellite image of the town - go to to see this map.

Large scale town valuation map [PRONI: VAL/12/E/153/1 1905-1907] - southern end of the town - northern end of the town. The numbers on these maps relate to the Griffith's Valuation Revision Books which cover the period c.1860 to 1929 and are available online at PRONI.

Street Directories - the 1905 Belfast & Ulster Directory for Portstewart - pp. 1706-1707; 1708-1709 and the 1911 Belfast & Ulster Directory for Portstewart - pp. 1914-1915; 1916-1917; 1918-1919. I have also created an Excel database of names and streets from these two directories.

Online Digital Photographs at the National Library of Ireland provide a visual dimension to the study. Memories in Focus and other books by Robert Anderson and Tommy McDonald provide a rich source of local photographs covering the latter years of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century.

Copyright 2014 W. Macafee.