The ‘Morpeth Roll’ is a unique testimonial document signed by over 160,000 people across Ireland in 1841, on the departure of George Howard, Lord Morpeth, from the office of Chief Secretary for Ireland.
The Morpeth Roll campaign is a collaborative effort between NUI Maynooth, Castle Howard in Yorkshire, Ancestry and the Office of Public Works, to trace the stories of the Roll’s signatories – Who signed it? Did they remain in Ireland through the Famine? Did they emigrate to the US or the UK? What did they achieve in their lifetime? The campaign is recruiting historians, librarians, heritage officers, genealogists, and all with an interest in studying and researching Irish history and emigration.
The Roll, essentially a pre-Famine census, is currently being digitised to facilitate online searches for ancestors or family names. Some well-known figures who signed the Roll included Daniel O’ Connell, Thomas Davis and Charles Gavan Duffy. Visitors to Ireland as part of The Gathering can view the Roll next year at NUI Maynooth to trace the signature of their ancestors and we should be able to offer them an insight into the life stories of their relatives. The Morpeth Roll will be launched at NUI Maynooth in March 2013 and will tour the country visiting locations such as Farmleigh, Derrynane, Kilkenny, Clonmel and Belfast, before returning to NUI Maynooth where it will remain on public view.