According to the whiskey-maker, the agreements, which comprise 37 digitised volumes – each containing approximately 1,500 individual contracts – are legal agreements between John Jameson & Son and publicans who bought whiskey in bulk in Ireland in the first half of the twentieth century.
Rhona Murray, a senior content acquisition manager from Ancestry, said, “The publican agreements are expected to be extremely beneficial to Irish people or those who have Irish roots and want to find out more about their family history.
“The agreements include the names and addresses of publicans in business with Jameson, shining a light on a niche group of people who were pillars of their communities.
“Being able to link an ancestor to a prominent Irish brand like Jameson could add colour to your family tree – beyond birth, marriage, and death records.”
Two Routes To Market
Traditionally, Jameson had two routes to market, Irish Distillers noted.
One was to bottle in house and sell directly to the consumer, while the second was to sell by the barrel to publicans.
With the latter, labels were supplied to individual publicans by the Bow Street Distillery, and publicans would bottle the whiskey in house and add their name to the label.
To ensure that the whiskey was not tampered with in any way, publicans were required to sign an annual legal agreement, which had to be witnessed – and often signed – by a customer on the premises.
Carol Quinn, head of the archives at Irish Distillers, added, “For centuries, the Irish public house has been an integral part of Irish social culture – a place in the centre of the community in which to meet and socialise.
“Through the digitisation of these records, we have created a unique information source that can be used to document the Irish pub in its heyday.
“We now understand that there has been a serious decline in the number of pubs in Ireland, which is why these records are even more important, as they provide a socio-economic history of a vanished Ireland.”
The agreements are now available to search for free from today (27 March) until 30 April on Ancestry.ie.