The Old Age Pension was introduced to Ireland in 1908. To qualify, people had to prove they were over 70 years of age. Civil Registration had only started in 1864 so birth certificates were not available for those born before then. The government allowed the census returns of 1841 and 1851 to be searched to help people prove their eligibility for the pension. Sadly, the original forms were subsequently destroyed in 1922, during the Civil War.