Missing Surveys


County borders in Britain and Ireland have changed quite significantly over the last 200 years, and in some cases names have also changed. This means that there is not an exact match between the counties as we know them today and the counties as surveyed during Sinclair’s time. Our demonstrator holds records for surveys that cover the geographic areas of the counties of England, Scotland and Wales. However, it includes information gathered from a limited number of libraries and should not be understood as a complete collection of all the surveys published.

The Irish surveys were commissioned not by John Sinclair but by the Dublin Society, who in the early 19th century deliberately emulated his statistical method with “the single and legitimate aim of exhibiting to the public a correct and luminous representation of the state of the country” (review, Farmer’s Magazine, May 1817).  The process seems to have proved difficult and it is not clear that surveys were actually completed for all the Irish counties.  In 1817, one reviewer claimed that 21 had been published and 11 remained incomplete (ibid). In 1826, in an article ‘On the Origin, Progress and Result of Statistical Inquiries in Ireland’ the Rev. John Graham also listed 21 publications and lamented the fact that though some years had elapsed no more surveys had been forthcoming. (Gentlemen’s Magazine) Some seven years later, however, in an 1833 review of the Roscommon survey, the Literary Gazette reported that though “forty years have elapsed since the Dublin Society proposed to  institute a statistical Survey of Ireland by Counties, […] eight yet remain undescribed.”  Our holdings for 24 surveys suggest that those 8 never were completed. If this is the case, then there are no surveys for the contemporary counties following:

  • Kerry
  • Limerick
  • Carlow
  • Fermanagh
  • Longford
  • Louth
  • Tipperary
  • Waterford
  • Westmeath

However, there may be editions, reprints and possibly even whole surveys that we are unaware of.   If you know of additional surveys not listed in our collection, please get in touch..