The pages of the Great Parchment Book are scattered with references to arms such as pikes and muskets which the tenants of the City of London livery companies were required to “have and keep in readiness … for the service of his Majesty … furnished in such manner as the same shall and may be allowed by the Muster Master”. During the Plantation, landed estates were required to muster tenants for defence when areas were under threat from the native Irish and the provision was recorded in muster rolls. Some of the rolls, all now held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, simply stated the number of men on estates bearing arms, but others contain the names of adult males bearing or capable of bearing arms.
Bill Macafee on his website dedicated to the family and local history of County Londonderry and North Antrim has transcribed and made available either as a pdf arranged by surname or as a fully searchable spreadsheet the most useful muster rolls containing names as follows:
1622 Muster Rolls for the City & Liberties of Londonderry, Town & Liberties of Coleraine & Vintners’ Estate, Bellaghy [PRONI: T510/2, T671/1]
1630 Muster Rolls for the County of Londonderry and for the Baronies of Cary, Dunluce, Kilconway and Toome, Co. Antrim [PRONI: D/1759/3C/3]
Bill’s web page on 17th century sources gives lots more information about the 1622 and 1630 Muster Rolls and is well worth a look. The information in the rolls can be cross-checked against that in the Great Parchment Book and some of the other online 17th century sources for Irish history mentioned previously in this blog.