The ‘Act to prevent the further growth of popery’ was passed in 1703 and it made it obligatory on converts from Catholicism to Protestantism to provide proof of conformity. According to the Act a Protestant was a member of the Church of Ireland and not any other non Catholic religion.
If a Catholic ‘converted or conformed’ to Protestantism and provided this proof then being ‘enrolled’ as a Protestant all rights were restored to him. This took effect from the date of the enrolment and not the date of conversion. The Act said that:
“The said Court of Chancery is hereby required to take care that distinct rolls be kept for the enrolment of such certificates which shall publicly hang up or lie in some public office of place belonging to the said Court to be appointed, where all persons may at all reasonable times resort to and peruse the same without fee or reward, and for the enrolment of each and every such certificate the sum of six pence and no more shall be paid”.
These rolls were known as the Convert Rolls.
In order to convert the person read his renunciation of Catholicism in front of a clergyman and congregation at a public service. He then got a certificate saying he was a convert from the Bishop of the Diocese and enrolled it in the court of Chancery. The Bishops certificate was necessary until 1782 and from there on it was enough that the convert would receive the Sacrament from a Minister of the Church of Ireland, take the oath before him and file a certificate to that effect in the Court fo Chancery.
The Convert Rolls were destroyed in the fire in the Four Courts (Irish Public Records Office) in 1922. But they had been calendared and recorded (as were so many other documents). The Calendar is in two volumes, Volume 1 covers the years 1703-1789 and has about 5,500 names and Vol. 2 covers 1789-1838 with 380 names and of these there were only 73 between 1800 & 1838.
Names are entered in alphabetical order, date of enrolment and date of certification, for some the address is also lists. Most people enrolled in Dublin:
1703-1731 : 700 people enrolled, mainly people who were well off.
1732-1741: 600 people
1789: 1838: 385
Most of the converts were men, but there are about 1,500 women mentioned. Almost 600 of these are described as married with approximately 40 widows, the remainder being unspecified or spinsters, daughters of gentlemen.
The list of convert rolls was published by the Irish Manuscripts Office in 1981 and could at that time be purchased from the Government Publications Office.
The following is a selection of extracts from the calandars relating to people from Galway, giving examples of the type of information contained therein. This is not the full list for any of the surnames from Galway or with Galway connections. The word Galway, may refer to the county of Galway or the Church of Ireland Diocese of Galway. The calandars contain information on people from all Irish counties.
Adams, Isabella, spinster, Galway, cert. 15 June 1756, enrolled 5 July 1756 (A). Conformity 12 June 1756 (B)
Arcedeckne, Mathias, and Mary his wife, Carrowmore, Co Galway, cert. 9 February 1721, enrolled 23 February 1721 (A). Arcedeckne, Mathias, Co Galway, and Mary Arcedeckne, alias Hannin, his wife, conformity 21 January 1721 (B). Arcedecne, Mathew, and Mary his wife (C).
Arcedeckne, Nicholas, Clonluskeen, cert. 10 April 1733, enrolled 9 August 1733 (A). Of Clonlusket, d. Clonfert, confonnity 8 April 1733 (B).
Archdeacon, Mathew, and Mary, his wife, Co Galway, cert. and enrolled 23 September 1719 (A). Archdeacon, Mathias, gent., and Archdeacon, Mary, alias Hannin, of the Co of Galway, conformity 23 August 1719 (B). Arcedecne, Mat., and his wife, enrolled 24 September 1719 (C).(D).
Arthur, Bridget, spinster, Tuam, cert. 20 February 1745, enrolled 28 February 1745 (A). D. Tuam, conformity 26 January 1745 (B).
Arthur, Cath., cert. 11 July 1737, enrolled 13 July 1737 (A). Arthur, Mrs Aylward, John, Esq., Ballynegare, Co Galway, cert. 20 May 1725, enrolled 21 May 1725 (A). Conformity 19 May 1725 (B). (C). (0).
Barrett, Maurice, Eyrecourt, Co Galway, cert. 30 April 1741, enrolled 23 December 1741 (A). Conformity 6 December 1741, cert. 22 December 1741 (B).
Bermingham, John, Tuam, cert. 12 November 1772, enrolled 9 February 1773 (A). Gent (D).
Bermingham, Myles, Cornomanane, cert. 6 March 1731, enrolled 29 March 1732 (A). Of Cornomenane, Co Galway, conformity 6 February 1731 (B). Enrolled 19 March 1731 (C).
Bermingham, Peter, gent., cert. 28 April 1735, enrolled 6 May 1735 (A). P. Ross, d. Tuam, conformity 27 April 1735 (B). Of Keilbegg, Co Galway (D).
Beytagh, Gerald; gent., Drum, Co Galway, cert. 18 August 1753, enrolled 21 August 1753 (A). D. Tuam, conformity 17 August 1753 (B).
Blake, Andrew, Tuam, cert. and enrolled 13 December 1727 (A). Blake, Mr Andrew, of Fartaghar, d. Tuam, conformity 9 December 1727 (B). Enrolled 12 December 1727 (C).
Blake, Anthony, Esq ., Creggmore, Co Galway, cert. and enrolled 11 May 1743 (A). Conformity 14 November 1742 (B).
Blake, Anthony, Esq., Drum. Co Galway, cert. 1 October 1753, enrolled 20 October 1753 (A). Conformity 22 ApriI1753 (B). (D).
Blake, Bridget, cert. 26 August 1723, enrolled 28 August 1723 (A). D. Clonfert, conformity 17 August 1723 (B). (C).
Blake, Christian, spinster, Moorefield, Co Galway, cert. 1 June 1741, enrolled 26 October 1741 (A). Daughter to Stephen Blake of
Blake, Elizabeth, Dublin, cert. 10 June 1709, enrolled 14 December 1709 (A). Conformity 10 June 1706 (B). (C): Wife to Richard Blake, of Ardfry , Co Galway, Esq. (D).
Blake, Francis, Co Galway, cert. and enrolled 19 February 1734 (A).
Blake, Mr Francis, late of Furbough, Co Galway, conformity 17 February 1734 (B). (D).
Blakeney, Catherine, Moylough, Co Galway, cert. 18 November 1767, enrolled 20 February 1768 (A). Conformity 17 November 1767 (B).
Bodkin, Alexander, Anavally, Co Galway, cert. 31 December 1720, enrolled 2 January 1720 (A). Son to Marcus Bodkin, of Anavally , conformity 4 December 1720 (B). (C). Of Anbally (D).
Bodkin, alias Daly, Anastasia, cert. 11 December 1769, enrolled 12 February 1770 (A). Now of Dublin, conformity 11 December 1769 (B).
Bodkin, Ann-Anastasia, Galway (D).
Bodkin, Dominick, gent., Moylagh, Co Galway, cert. and enrolled 18 January 1747 (A). Conformity 13 January 1747 (B).
Bodkin, Dominick, Moylagh, Co Galway, cert. 30 October 1757, enrolled 9 November 1757 (A). P. Moylough, conformity 30 October
Bourke, James, Galway, cert. 29 April 1738, enrolled 20 May 1738 (A). Conformity 4 April 1738 (B).
Bourke, Patrick, of Derryhoyle, Co Galway, cert. 9 February 1776, enrolled 13 February 1776 (A). (D).
Brady, Michael, Dublin, cert. 2 December 1746, enrolled. 4 December 1746 (A). Confonnity 30 November 1746 (B). Late of Dublin but now of Coorheen, Co Galway (D).
Brand, Mary, spinster, Coorleen, Co Galway, cert. 4 September 1750, enrolled 4 September 1750 (A). Of Coorheen, conformity 2 September 1750 (B).
Browne, Edward, gent., Ardskea, Co Galway, cert. and enrolled 9 August 1766 (A). Now of Dublin, conformity 8 August 1766 (B). (D).
Bryan, Joseph, Eyrecourt, Co Galway, cert. 14 December 1767, enrolled 15 December 1767 (A). Conformity 13 October 1767 [bracketed with Thomas Bryan] (B). (D).
Bryan, Thomas, Eyrecourt, Co Galway, cert. 14 December 1767, enrolled 15 December 1767 (A). Conformity 13 October 1767 [bracketed with Joseph Bryan] (B). (D).
Clayton, Mary , of Gort, Co Galway, cert. 14 March 1766, enrolled 17 March 1766 (A). Conformity 9 February 1766 (B).
Coffey, Daniel, Aghrim, Co Galway, cert. 11 January 1752, enrolled 20 January 1752 (A). Conformity 15 December 1751 [bracketed. with Margaret Coffey] (B).
Coffey, Margaret, Aghrim, Co GaIway, cert. 11 January 1752, enrolled 20 January 1752 (A). Conformity 15 December 1751 [bracketed with Daniel Coffey] (B).
Colehan, John, Eyrecourt, Co Galway, cert. 14 December 1767, enrolled 17 December 1767 (A). Conformity 13 October 1767 (B). Coulahan, John (D).
Comber, James, Corbally, Co Galway, cert. 13 February 1768, enrolled 9 February 1768 (A). Comber, Joseph, now of Corbally, conformity 1 November 1767 (B).
Conolly, James, Tuam, Co Galway, cert. 21 April 1763, enrolled 10 May 1763 (A). Conformity 15 April 1763 (A).