General Description and Instructions

The original pupil records for Westland Row CBS date from 1 October 1864 (when the school opened) to 1928. Unfortunately, there’s a gap from then until the mid-1940s, when no records are available. The records up to 1928 are held by the Christian Brothers Centre in Marino. We are grateful to them for making them available to us, enabling us to digitise them and make them searchable. The records from the mid-1940s are held in the school, and are not subject to this Archive Project.

The pupil archive has been built in two phases. The first phase covered the period from the mid to late 1880s to 1928. The second phase covered the earlier period from 1864 to the mid to late 1880’s. The records are quite voluminous, particularly the earlier ones, where pupils appear multiple times as they progressed through their school years. For this reason, we have split the search facility into two separate searches – both accessed on the Archive home page.

Over the period covered by the Archive, the records varied in both quality and the range of material covered. In a minority of the records, only the pupil’s name is given, but in most cases the records include number on the register, name, address, date of admission, date of birth, and father’s occupation. In some cases, the previous school is recorded as is progression through exams or grades.

The records are drawn from a number of registers which appear on the home page. Searches conducted will cover all the registers, and will reveal all pupils with the name you submit, and the relevant register. By clicking on particular names, you will be transported to the hand written page in the original register containing that name. The system is set up to recognise John Byrne or simply Byrne. It is not case-­‐sensitive, however Byrne John will NOT work.

The archive can also be used by browsing through each of the registers. This is particularly useful where information carries on to a second page, such as progression through exams or grades, and in a small minority of cases, notes on where the pupil went (i.e., Accountant etc.) after school. These second pages are usually denoted as “a”. So, if your search brings you to page 98 on a particular register, you can find page 98a by browsing the register.

The initial phase of the project (ie, the later period) concentrated on a period where records were generally in better condition, but which also coincided with pupils who would take part in the Great War or the 1916 Rising and subsequent events. So, you will find the Pearses and other participants in the freedom movement, as well as participants in the Great War. Consulting Cuimhneachán – the PPU’s publication to mark the 150th anniversary of the school – will give you many prompts on names you may wish to search. Of course, you can also search for family members. As an aside, Patrick Pearse was incorrectly registered as “Pierse”, but you will find him under “Pierse” or “Pearse”. Willie Pearse was correctly registered.

The later phase, going back to 1864, broadly misses out on the Great War and 1916 connections, but may be of interest to those whose families have a long history in the area.

Handy Hints

1. Sometimes, if your search by first and surname fails, try simply the surname, but be prepared to wade through more names, especially if your search is for “Byrne”!

2. In general, the O prefix is not accompanied by the apostrophe. Thus, “O Connell” will find the target, rather than “O’Connell”

3. Allow for misspellings in the original registers, or simply different ways of spelling names current at the time, or problems of interpretation by those transferring material from hand-­‐ written records. Thus, “Leary” could be “Leavy”, “Rathcliffe” or “Radcliffe”, “Staines” or “Stains” “Flannagan” or “Flanagan”, “Coleman”or “Colman”, Killbride” or “Kilbride”etc. The above are actual examples from the records, but there are many more which may require some ingenuity on the part of those using the system.

4. Abbreviations of first names in the original registers can cause a number of problems. For example, “Jos” (Joseph) might appear to be “Jas” (James). So, a search of both could be tried. Also, the system will not recognise “Joseph” if the original entry is recorded as “Jos”. So, a search for “John Joseph Adams” will not locate “John Jos Adams”. Similarly, if the original entry is “Chris”, “Christy” or “Christie”, a search using “Christopher” will not find it. Hence the advice above to use just surnames as a fall back.

5. In some cases, the original entries have a number after the name – perhaps a reference to the class or school room. In some cases, these were carried through by those extracting the records for the Archive project. Thus, a search for “Walter Kingham” will not yield fruit if his original entry was “Walter Kingham 2”. Again, try simply “Kingham”

6. For history buffs, De Valera sent his 4 sons to Westland Row (and he was described in the “Father’s Occupation” column as “President IR” even after he had ceased to be President of the Irish Republic). The spelling above is the one to use.

John Cullen. April 4, 2020