DIPPAM, Documenting Ireland: Parliament, People and Migration, is an Ulster based site. According to the Home Page, “DIPPAM is an online virtual archive of documents and sources relating to the history of Ireland, and its migration experience from the 18th to the late 20th centuries”. It is composed of three different sections:
EPPI – Enhanced British Parliamentary Papers on Ireland – contains over 14,000 documents with over 500,000 pages of text.
IED – Irish Emigration Database – over 33,000 documents from 1780-1950, with 75% from the period 1820-1920. The majority deal with Transatlantic migration.
VMR – Voices of Migration and Return – oral archive and database comprised of life narrative interviews conducted with over 90 migrants and returnees from Ulster (9-counties) gathered since 2004.
DIPPAM is a valuable resource for the researcher if Irish History and Genealogy. Although it has a 9 county Ulster orientation, many of the documents in its databases pertain to all of Ireland, as well as emigration to the United States, Canada, Australia and elsewhere. In addition, many of the historical documents found in the EPPI section containing Parliamentary documents from 1801-1922, the period of The Act of Union 1801, pertain to all of Ireland.
I discovered this website due to an email from fellow genealogist Patrick Crowley in Dublin, IE. He publishes the popular website West Cork History ~ History of Durrus/Muintervara
He had a link to a document which showed the weapons that William Lannin of Bantry, County Cork, was licensed to possess. The items included “2 single barrell guns, 2 cases pistols and 1 sword”. This document is page 21 of 102 of “Return of Persons to whom Licenses have been granted to keep Arms by Magistrates at Quarter Session in Ireland, 1832” It is now very clear that gun control is not a new concept to society.
This is the first page of the document, showing arms licenses throughout Ireland from 1 Aug 1832 to 18 Feb 1836:
- Paper No
- LC Subject Heading
- Public policy (Law) – Ireland
- Breviate Keywords
- Irish papers – legal administration, police, law – civil order, public meetings, riots, The Rising
- Breviate Page
- Sessional papers
- Start Page
- Sub Volume
From EPPI Archive Guide FAQ
“EPPI contains a complete set of British Parliamentary Papers relating to Ireland and Irish affairs published during the period of the Act of Union (1801-1922). The documents were published under the authority of the UK House of Commons and bound together as volumes (‘blue books’) arranged by parliamentary session – usually a part of a calendar year, but occasionally covering parts of two calendar years. The documents include papers originating in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, as well as reports of Royal Commissions of Inquiry and other .Command Papers. produced by the government rather than parliament.
A number of sets of Parliamentary Papers were published for use in parliament, government offices and other repositories, but few complete sets are accessible to the public. In 2002-5 the original EPPI project, funded by AHRC and based at the University of Southampton, digitised the bulk of Irish-related papers and rendered them searchable over the web. The DIPPAM project has taken over the maintenance of the EPPI materials from Southampton, enhanced their usability and filled any gaps in the document run, made them cross-searchable with the IED and VMR records, and restored free global access to users.
The completed EPPI archive contains over 14,000 documents containing over half a million pages of text originally published as UK parliamentary papers. All documents identified as relating to Ireland in the breviates and indexes of official publications have been included, incorporating materials on the Irish in Britain and reports of Emigration Commissioners on Irish migration overseas. EPPI includes all parliamentary bills (although not the final acts of parliament), reports and accounts from parliamentary committees and official bodies, reports and evidence of Royal Commissions of Inquiry, reports of the Census Commissioners, etc. It is an unrivalled source of statistical and qualitative evidence for the history of Irish society in the Union period, as well as for its political, religious and economic history. Although EPPI represents principally the official view of Ireland from Westminster and Dublin Castle, the sources are rich with testimony and correspondence collected or originating in Ireland or with the Irish overseas.
All EPPI documents were published during the period 1801-1922, when Ireland formed part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, although some documents reproduce material dating from before the 1800 Act of Union.
Principally Ireland, but with a number of documents relating to Irish emigration and settlement in Great Britain, British colonies such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the United States and elsewhere.
The EPPI archive contains image facsimiles of all the documents, which have been scanned using optical character recognition technology to make the texts electronically searchable. Where abstracts of documents exist as part of the breviates of parliamentary papers, these have been added to the site.
Users can search by keyword either the titles and abstracts of the documents, or the scanned full text files of the documents, and can restrict the search by setting year limits or specifying categories of documents.
Alternatively, users can browse documents by year of publication, or by the thematic categories in the Ford Breviates of parliamentary papers, or by Library of Congress Subject Headings.
All EPPI documents are official publications, published by parliamentary authority in either London or Dublin (it is not necessary to give the place of publication in citation).
EPPI documents should be cited using the form listed on each bibliographic record, that is:
HC [for House of Commons] session year [as in 1809 or 1831-32], paper number [sessional papers should be placed in round brackets, as in (345), command papers in square brackets, with a prefix if required, as in  or [Cd.233]], volume number in roman numerals [as in xli]. starting page number in volume [as in .124].”
From the IED FAQ 1. What is the background to this resource?
“The concept behind IED took shape at the Ulster American Folk Park during the 1980s. In 1988 the generous sponsorship of the computer company Digital and the support of DENI allowed the project to get underway. A team of Enterprise Ulster trainees under the direction of staff in Omagh and Belfast began collecting, transcribing and digitising archive material from a variety of repositories in Belfast and material in private hands which was donated. Those who would like a more comprehensive history of the project may consult the following article by the former Project Officer – Lorraine Tennant, ‘The Development of the Centre for Migration Studies’ Irish Emigration Database’ in Journal of the Association for History and Computing, vol.VII, no.3, (Dec. 2004), 1-17.”
There are currently over 33,000 documents in the Irish Emigration Database with new items being added as they become available. Documents are divided by type among thirteen classifications. According to the IED FAQ, they all can be divided into one of three types:
“Documents created by private individuals including letters, diaries and journals written by migrants as well as other letters throwing light on emigration.
Newspaper material includes advertisements for emigrant shipping, reports concerning the progress of emigrant shipping and extracted reports relating to emigration in general. Births, deaths and marriages of those overseas are also to be found in newspapers.
Official and government papers include material extracted from reports and enquiries, the record of parliamentary debates contained in Hansard and official statistics.”
From the VMR FAQ:
“The VMR oral archive and database is comprised of life narrative interviews conducted with over 90 migrants and returnees from Ulster (9-counties) gathered during the course of two recent studies on contemporary migration (since 2004): Narratives of Migration and Return (NMR) (2004-2006), was an all-Ireland study about return migration funded by the HEA North South Programme for Collaborative Research, Strand 1, with research partners at Queen.s University Belfast (QUB), the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies (MCMS), Omagh, University College Cork, and the University of Limerick. Following on from NMR-Ulster, a second study, Northern Ireland Emigrant Narratives (NIEN) (2006-2008), funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and based at QUB and MCMS, aimed at collecting interviews with Northern Ireland (NI) emigrants living abroad, focusing on Britain and Canada, the major destinations of NI emigrants in the 20th century. All interviews were conducted by Dr Johanne Devlin Trew (University of Ulster and an associate of MCMS, formerly of QUB).
Interviews averaging 2 hours in length have been conducted with 93 migrants. It is envisaged that further interviews will be added to the collection.
While migration events that occurred from the 1930s through the 2000s are represented in VMR, the emphasis in the collection is on the 1970s decade due to its high emigration rate and the outbreak of the Northern Ireland conflict.
The interviewees, aged between 32 and 85 years at the time of interview, represent a range of geographic origins within Ulster, class backgrounds and religious denominations. Participants were largely self-selected responding to advertisements placed in a variety of media. To protect confidentiality, interviewees may have chosen to be identified by pseudonyms and surnames are not included.
The interviews are fully keyword searchable via the VMR database which provides topical access to individual audio tracks (2-3 minute range) and allows for streaming of the associated audio.”
DIPPAM Project Development Team
- Prof. Peter Gray (Queen’s University Belfast)
- Dr Ricky Rankin (Queen’s University Belfast)
- Gavin Mitchell (Queen’s University Belfast)
- Conail Stewart (Queen’s University Belfast)
- Cormac O.Donnell (Queen’s University Belfast)
- Mark McCalmont (Queen’s University Belfast)
- Dr Johanne Devlin Trew (University of Ulster)
- Dr Brian Lambkin (Mellon Centre for Migration Studies)
- Dr Paddy Fitzgerald (Mellon Centre for Migration Studies)
- Joe Mullan (Libraries Northern Ireland)
- Deirdre Nugent (Libraries Northern Ireland)