Those involved in the Battle of the Boyne and the Jacobite-Williamite War in Ireland played a defining role in Irish history. This section is intended as a guide to assist members of the public who are beginning a search of their ancestor’s participation during this period.
Because of the significance of the War and the Battle of the Boyne in particular, many records and accounts were recorded on both sides. From 1688 to 1691, soldiers from many nationalities were present here in Ireland. Over 60,000 troops were at the Battle of the Boyne with over twelve nationalities represented. Many Irish soldiers left Ireland to fight on the Continent after the War and some records of these ‘Wild Geese’ are also available.
This guide refers specifically to sources related to the Jacobite-Williamite War. However there are many organisations and professional researchers, books and websites that provide general genealogy services and information. These can be used to help trace your ancestors back to the seventeenth century. Some of the websites in the sources section will assist you in this direction.
Where will your research lead?
Information may be found on the military aspects of your ancestor(s) and the conditions they had to endure, for example:
- Confirmation that they were involved in the Battle of the Boyne and the Jacobite-Williamite War
- The regiment they were in
- Rank they held
- Pay and conditions
- The uniform they wore
- The weapons they carried
- Whether they survived the War
- What happened to them after the War
Before beginning a genealogical search, it is essential to collect as much information as possible about the family member being investigated. Your research should start with you and your immediate family. Ask questions of family members whom you think might know about the family history. Frequently, family stories handed down through generations will motivate a family member to begin the research. Consult family gravestones and any documentation in which family information is recorded e.g. letters, wills, deeds and leases.
Try to establish:
- Names (forenames and related family names)
- The country, county, town-land or seat of the family member
- Whether they were Jacobite or Williamite supporters
- The regiment they were attached to
It should be noted that many of the original records have been lost or destroyed over the intervening 320 years, however there are still many relevant sources still available referring to:
- Members of the Irish parliament of the period (Peers and Commons)
- Wild Geese (Jacobites who left Ireland))
Tips when referring to sources
- Note that most military records will only refer to officer ranks from General down to Cornet/Ensign
- The way you spell your name may be different to the way it was recorded during the period because names were often spelt phonetically.
- To help speed up you search, use the index of a book to check for names.
- For electronic books use the ‘find’ or ‘search inside’ feature to search for a name
The following is a list of sources including, books, online books, websites and other media.
Genealogy Books (PDF)
Diary of Thomas Bellingham, An Officer under William III – Contemporary diary with names listed in the index
Boulger Demetrius Charles, The Battle of the Boyne – Contains references to the flight of Irish Jacobites to France
Clifford, Walton, History of the British Standing Army 1660-1700 – Description of the conditions, tactics and weapons of the army
D’Alton, Charles, English Army Lists and Commission Register Vol. III, 1689-1694 – Lists of regiments, commissions, payment to officers and officers killed in action
D’Alton, John, King James Irish Army List, 1689 – List of Jacobite Officers and their genealogy
O’Callaghan, John Cornelius, History of the Irish Brigades in the Service of France – References to the Irish Jacobites who went to France after the Treaty of Limerick
O’Hart, John, Irish Landed Gentry when Cromwell came to Ireland – Lists of landowners, Jacobite officers and members of the Jacobite Parliament in 1689 and descendants of the ‘Wild Geese’
Story, George, An Impartial History – Contemporary Williamite account of the War, regiments and statistics
Murray, Robert, H, The Rev. The Journal of John Stevens Containing a Brief Account of the War in Ireland, 1689-1691 – Contemporary Jacobite account of the campaign including an index containing names of those involved
National Library of Ireland – Church, land and property records and genealogy information
National Archives (Ireland) – Online census, land records, wills and estates, parish and marriage records and genealogy information
Northern Ireland archives – For family and local history
GENUKI – A virtual reference library of genealogical information of particular relevance to the UK and Ireland
Huguenots in Ireland – Four Huguenot regiments fought in Ireland during the War.
National Archives (UK) – Includes some British Army Lists
Contact The Huguenot Society at firstname.lastname@example.org for a CD-ROM that lists Huguenot military pensioners in Ireland or check http://www.huguenotsociety.org.uk/publications/cd-rom.html