Irish Family History: Census Substitutes

Within the previous post of the seriesNicola Morris explored the surviving Irish census returns. On this difficulty, she discusses the fundamental Nineteenth century census substitutes; what the data will inform us, the place to search out them on-line and learn how to finest use them for analysis.

NB: Ancestry and Discover My Previous are free to look, however require subscriptions to view data.


I’ll have already talked about that nearly all the assortment of Nineteenth century census returns for Eire had been destroyed by 1922.  Genealogists have spent the final 100 years discovering so known as census substitutes: sources that doc the inhabitants that can be utilized as an alternative of the destroyed census returns.

There are two essential census substitutes for Irish genealogical analysis, particularly Griffith’s Valuation and the Tithe Applotment Books.

Griffith’s Valuation

Probably the most well-known Irish census substitute is Griffith’s Valuation, also called the Main Valuation of Eire.  Griffith’s Valuation was a nationwide survey of property undertaken between 1847 and 1864 to worth property for the aim of taxation.  The taxation was levied on property for the assist of the native Poor Legislation Union. Almost each single property in Eire was surveyed and valued, from a small cottage valued at 2s. to giant homes and in depth farms, making it essentially the most complete report of households within the nation for the mid-Nineteenth century.

Griffith’s Valuation recorded the top of the family, who was the particular person chargeable for paying the tax on the property, the identify of the fast lessor (landlord) and the sort, dimension and worth of the property.

What this implies is that Griffith’s Valuation is a report of almost each single family within the nation, though solely the identify of the top of the family is recorded.   Why is that this necessary? Effectively, within the absence of the 1851 census, Griffith’s Valuation could be the one technique to set up an deal with in your Irish ancestors.

Let’s say you could have discovered a wedding certificates in your ancestor within the 1870s or Eighties. The wedding certificates ought to report the identify of your ancestor’s father, in addition to his occupation.  In case your ancestor was born within the 1830s, 1840s or early 1850s in Eire, we’d look forward to finding his father in Griffith’s Valuation, if he was nonetheless alive.

A search of Griffith’s Valuation for all households headed by males of that identify will establish potential household addresses.  It is very important keep in mind that you’re trying to find the top of the family within the 1850s. This can be your ancestor’s father, and even his grandfather.  In case your ancestor’s father was deceased, the property could have been headed by his widow or one among his older sons. Don’t seek for somebody who would have been a baby within the 1850s, they won’t be the recorded head of family.

Griffith’s Valuation will establish the lot variety of the property, the townland, the civil parish and the county wherein the identify seems.  It will make it easier to to determine the precise location of the household holding and the corresponding Roman Catholic parish wherein your ancestor may need been baptised.

Sir Richard John Griffith was an Irish geologist, mining engineer and chairman of the Board of Works of Ireland, who completed the first complete geological map of Ireland and authored the valuation of Ireland – known ever since as Griffith's Valuation.

In fact households with widespread names will be harder to search out and you might have to focus your search on a particular county or perhaps a particular parish.  On John Grenham’s web site the identify search makes use of Griffith’s Valuation to plot the looks of surnames across the nation.  This perform offers you an summary of the place specific surnames seem within the Valuation, which will be damaged down by county after which by parish.  There may be additionally a perform to seek for a second surname. It will illustrate the place two surnames seem collectively in a specific parish. This may be useful if you already know the maiden identify of your ancestor’s mom or his spouse, as most individuals married throughout the inhabitants of their house parish.

Griffith’s Valuation may even describe the kind of holding that was valued.  Most holdings include a home, places of work (farm buildings) and land. If the ancestor who was head of family on the time of Griffith’s Valuation was a farmer, you’re trying to find somebody leasing a home and land quite than only a home in an city space.  In case your ancestor was a blacksmith, you’re in search of somebody who leased a forge or smithy. Some people leased multiple holding. They might have leased a home, places of work and land in addition to a number of plots of land. Your ancestor’s residence can be the place a home is recorded.

The one group that could be absent from Griffith’s Valuation are the inhabitants of tenement dwellings in giant city areas.  Within the case of those buildings the occupiers of rooms weren’t recorded, solely the one that paid the tax on the property. Additionally absent in some circumstances are herds who got a home on land the place they had been employed.  Whereas Griffith’s Valuation isn’t solely complete, it’s the finest report that we have now of the inhabitants within the mid-Nineteenth century.  In the event you don’t know the place in Eire your ancestors lived in mid-Nineteenth century Eire, Griffith’s Valuation is the very best supply for establishing their townland and civil parish deal with.

The place to Discover Griffith’s Valuation On-line
Griffith’s Valuation is obtainable on-line at quite a lot of totally different web sites.  It’s freely out there for analysis at… nevertheless, the search engine isn’t very versatile and normally requires a particular spelling of the surname.  Griffith’s Valuation can also be out there at www.findmypast.iewith a lot broader surname variants.  On each websites you too can search Griffith’s Valuation for a specific townland and the listed occupiers of that townland on the time of the valuation.  John Grenham (Tithe Applotment Books) hyperlinks every townland to Griffith’s Valuation on the web site, which is a fast and simple technique to get to the townland you have an interest in.

Griffith’s Valuation additionally identifies the fast lessor (landlord) of every property.  In some circumstances the fast lessor can be a ‘intermediary’ who leased the property from another person after which sublet it to tenants.  In different circumstances the Valuation will establish the land proprietor. This generally is a helpful technique to decide whether or not there are surviving property papers, like hire rolls or leases, which could doc an earlier era of your ancestors in Eire.  In the event you discover your ancestor on the property of the Earl of Powerscourt in Wicklow or the Earls of Bantry in Cork and Kerry, there could also be an amazing deal extra data for these estates within the Nationwide Library of Eire or the Boole Library in College Faculty Cork.  

Valuation Workplace Revision Books

Additionally it is doable to hint the occupancy of a property present in Griffith’s Valuation ahead utilizing the Valuation Workplace Revision Books.  The Valuation Workplace Revision Books are up to date variations of Griffith’s Valuation that report any modifications to the occupancy, possession, dimension and worth of a property.  

The Valuation Workplace Revision Books are manuscript notice books wherein the unique valuation has been transcribed.  When the property was revisited and modifications had been notified, the modifications had been recorded in colored ink, with the date recorded within the margin in the identical color ink.  When the pocket book was crammed, a brand new pocket book was began. Every pocket book can cowl a interval of something from 5 to twenty years. Utilizing these books it’s doable to hint the occupancy of a home ahead from 1850 to the Nineteen Seventies, when the valuation of residential properties ceased in Eire.  The Revision Books will exhibit when a property handed from the unique occupier to his widow or sons following his loss of life. They may even exhibit when a property was divided between two or three sons or if a property was transferred from the unique occupier to his son-in-law. In some circumstances the emigration of a household is written within the margin, indicating the date by which that they had left their property.

Sadly, the Valuation Workplace Revision Books for the Republic of Eire haven’t been revealed on-line and might solely be accessed by visiting the Valuation Workplace within the Irish Life Centre in Dublin Metropolis.  Timeline Analysis supply a copying service for the Valuation Workplace Revision Books and orders will be positioned right here:….

The Valuation Workplace Revision Books for Northern Eire are freely out there for analysis on the web site of the Public Information Workplace of Northern Eire (…).

Accompanying the Valuation Workplace Revision Books are the Union or Revision Maps, these are maps that present the boundaries of every land holding and had been created within the Eighties and Eighteen Nineties.  These maps have been revealed on the web site with Griffith’s Valuation and are labelled as Griffith’s Maps.  Nonetheless, it ought to be famous that these color maps truly date from the Eighties and don’t all the time correspond with the lot numbers set out in Griffith’s Valuation.  These maps ought to be used with the Valuation Workplace Revision Books from the Eighties and Eighties for an correct report of who occupied every numbered lot of land.

Tithe Applotment Books

One other comparable census substitute are the Tithe Applotment Books.  The Tithe Applotment Books had been compiled between 1823 and 1838 for the aim of assessing the speed of the Tithe.  The Tithe was a spiritual tax which was levied for the maintenance of the established Church, the Church of Eire. For sure the Tithe was an unpopular tax and was abolished in 1838 after a lot civil unrest.

The Tithe was solely levied on sure varieties of agricultural land, which implies that this was not a complete survey, however it’s the finest nationwide report of land holdings in Eire from the early Nineteenth century.

In the event you find your ancestor’s household in Griffith’s Valuation and have established their townland and civil parish deal with, now you can seek for an earlier era of the identical household leasing agricultural land in the identical townland within the 1820s and 1830s.  This will establish the daddy of the particular person you present in Griffith’s Valuation.

Tithe Applotment Books On-line
The Tithe Applotment Books have been digitised and freely revealed on-line at… however earlier than you go dashing off to examine this assortment there are some critical issues with this publication that ought to be considered.

Quite a few errors within the spelling of surname, first names and placenames had been made when this assortment was transcribed.  Trying to find your ancestors underneath their surname could also be fruitless, if their identify has been incorrectly transcribed. Equally, townlands and parishes have been listed within the incorrect counties.  This makes the search perform of this website unreliable. Nonetheless, it’s doable to make use of the positioning to browse copies of the Tithe Applotment Books. If you already know the parish and townland wherein your ancestors had been dwelling you may click on by to the related, county, parish after which townland and examine the unique pages for that space and decide for your self whether or not there are any related entries.  In the event you do want to make use of the search engine, attempt utilizing wild playing cards. Relatively than trying to find Loughlin, seek for L*l*n to see what turns up, you may all the time slim your search, relying on the amount of outcomes.

The Tithe Applotment Books for many of Northern Eire have been listed on-line at which is a subscription web site.  The index solely data the identify of the top of the home and the townland deal with and yr of the guide.  The small print of the land holding will not be included.

The Tithe Applotment Books had been compiled previous to the primary Ordnance Survey of Eire.  The Ordnance Survey of Eire standardised the spelling of Irish placenames. Previous to the survey sources just like the Tithe Applotment Books would have used variant spellings of townland names.  The books additionally included sub divisions of townlands, which had been disbursed with by the Ordnance Survey. Which means that the Tithe Applotment Books can usually be the one report of a domestically used placename.  In the event you discover a placename on a civil certificates or in a parish register, that you just can not discover within the Index of Townlands or in Griffith’s Valuation, it’s price checking the checklist of townland names for a particular parish within the Tithe Applotment Books, the place it’s possible you’ll discover a reference to the native identify.

Though Griffith’s Valuation and the Tithe Applotment Books solely report the names of the top of the family, they’re the one surviving nationwide census substitutes and are a vital useful resource for establishing a household deal with within the first half of the Nineteenth century. A household deal with can result in parish registers, property data and different native census substitutes which may doc your loved ones additional.


Nicola Morris M.A.G.I is knowledgeable genealogist and member of Accredited Genealogists Eire. She is the director of Timeline Research Ltd, one among Eire’s main genealogical analysis corporations. Nicola has undertaken the Irish analysis for WDYTYA? in the UK and US and has appeared in quite a few episodes. She was additionally the presenter of the first sequence of the Family tree Roadshow broadcast in Eire in 2011.