This paper, presented in two separate parts, defines a select number of demographic markers for the population that comprised members of the Newgarden Meeting, County Carlow, Ireland and their descendants 1600–1900. These in turn were compared with those derived by Vann and Eversley (1992) for the Quaker population of Ireland at large with the objectives of identifying consistencies and/or evidence for regional variation within a genetic context. The data used for the study, most of which derived from the registers of births, deaths, and marriages held in the library of the Religious Society of Friends Historical Library, Dublin, were subjected initially to rigorous scrutiny to determine their limitations for this type of analysis. While several problems were identied, the most serious were a suspected and sometimes documented lack of consistency and ambiguities in respect of many family records. These in turn limited the types of analysis that could be undertaken, and sometimes reduced sample numbers to such an extent that the analysis was constrained to identify trends from statistically poor samples.
Despite the shortcomings of the data, it was possible to explore several demographic aspects of the Newgarden/Carlow Meeting through the agency of family reconstitution, including birthplace analysis, occupation, age at marriage, marriage catchment analysis, evidence for delayed marriage, family size, some aspects of age analysis, and birth spacing. It was found, for example, that over time family sizes became smaller, marriages were delayed, lifespan gradually increased, and families were sometimes planned. While many of the results parallel those of Vann and Eversley, there are sufficient differences in several of the demographic markers to suggest that there may have been some variation in rural Ireland from the national trends. In so far as the Newgarden/Carlow population is concerned, and in contrast with results derived from the analysis of the national population, these include a tendency for females to marry earlier and males later, a greater proportion of females marrying under the age of 20, and after 1800 a trend for males to marry much younger women and a trend consistent over time to reduce the sizes of families. These and the other results, then, invite analysis of data from other regions to test this hypothesis.