We recently completed a report where a client’s ancestors were employed in the Coast guard service on the eastern seaboard of Ireland.
The Coast guard service was established in Ireland in 1822. A large proportion of their records are held in the Public Records Office in Kew, London. Some of the records have been digitised and can be downloaded and viewed for free.
Naturally, it helps to know where your ancestor was stationed – but if you don’t know, you can read the various lists for each station following them around the coast of Ireland. The early records that I looked at dated from the 1820s. Each individual had a specific record number, a date of appointment, a ‘from whence nominated’ column (which also coincided in my case with the place of birth), and in what capacity they worked as, e.g., boatman. This information was recorded in the ‘Establishment Books’ and it enabled me to trace the family in parish registers that I would not have previously considered.
The website coastguardsofyesteryear.org is another useful source for information relating to Irish coastguards.
…Funnily enough, I once sat happily in a boat in a force 7 gale looking for dolphins off the coast of Cork. The skipper remarked that I must have some seafaring ancestors, to which I said no. I have since learned that my one of my great-great-great grandfathers served as a Coast guard in Donegal!
By Helen Moss