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Using Irish Census Substitutes: Griffith’s Valuation and Tithe Applotment Books – A Guide for Genealogists

As a genealogist researching your Irish heritage, you may have encountered challenges due to the lack of comprehensive census records. The unfortunate destruction of many Irish census records during the 1922 fire at the Public Record Office has created significant gaps in the available information. However, hope is not lost, as there are valuable Irish census substitutes that can help you uncover your family’s history. In this article, we will explore two essential resources: Griffith’s Valuation and Tithe Applotment Books. These records provide unique insights into 19th-century Irish society and are indispensable for anyone researching Irish ancestry.

Griffith’s Valuation: The Ultimate Resource for 19th Century Irish Ancestry

What is Griffith’s Valuation?

Griffith’s Valuation, officially known as the Primary Valuation of Ireland, is a comprehensive survey of property ownership and occupancy in Ireland during the mid-19th century. Conducted between 1847 and 1864, it provides information about landlords, tenants, and the size and value of landholdings. Given the scarcity of Irish census records, Griffith’s Valuation has become a vital resource for genealogists seeking information on their Irish ancestors during this period.

How to Access Griffith’s Valuation

Griffith’s Valuation records are widely available and easily accessible online. Some of the most popular websites to access these records include:

  • Ask About Ireland: Provides a free, searchable database of Griffith’s Valuation records, including maps and additional resources.
  • Ancestry.com: Offers access to Griffith’s Valuation records through a paid subscription. The website also includes a wide range of other Irish genealogy resources.
  • Findmypast: Another paid subscription website, Findmypast offers access to Griffith’s Valuation records, along with an extensive collection of other Irish records.

Tips for Using Griffith’s Valuation in Your Research

  • Start with the basics: Begin your search by entering your ancestor’s name, county, and parish. If you are unsure of the exact location, you can search by name only and narrow down the results based on other available information.
  • Be mindful of spelling variations: Irish names were often spelled phonetically, so be prepared to try multiple spelling variations of your ancestor’s name.
  • Examine maps: Griffith’s Valuation includes maps that can help you identify the location of your ancestor’s property. These maps can also provide context and insight into the local community.

Tithe Applotment Books: Shedding Light on Pre-Famine Ireland

What are Tithe Applotment Books?

Tithe Applotment Books are another valuable census substitute for genealogists researching Irish ancestry. Created between 1823 and 1837, these books recorded the payment of tithes (a tax) to the Church of Ireland. The records contain valuable information about landholders, including the occupiers and the size of their holdings. Although they do not cover the entire Irish population, Tithe Applotment Books provide a snapshot of pre-Famine Ireland, making them an essential resource for genealogists.

Accessing Tithe Applotment Books

Several resources provide access to Tithe Applotment Books, including:

  • National Archives of Ireland: The National Archives of Ireland has digitized the Tithe Applotment Books and made them freely available on their website. You can search the records by name, townland, parish, or county.
  • FamilySearch: FamilySearch, a free genealogy website, provides access to the Tithe Applotment Books. You can search their collection by name or browse by location.
  • Ancestry.com and Findmypast: Both of these paid subscription websites also offer access to Tithe Applotment Books, along with other Irish genealogy resources.

Making the Most of Tithe Applotment Books in Your Genealogy Search

  • Combine with other records: When using Tithe Applotment Books, it is essential to cross-reference with other records, such as Griffith’s Valuation, to verify your findings and gain a more comprehensive understanding of your ancestor’s life.
  • Use local history resources: Local history societies and publications can provide context and background information to help you interpret the Tithe Applotment Books and better understand your ancestor’s circumstances.
  • Look for patterns: Pay attention to the names of neighbors, as families often lived near each other. Identifying patterns can help you uncover connections between family members and further your research.

Combining Griffith’s Valuation and Tithe Applotment Books for a Comprehensive Ancestral Picture

Using both Griffith’s Valuation and Tithe Applotment Books in tandem can provide a wealth of information about your Irish ancestors. By comparing the data from these two resources, you can:

  • Trace family migrations: Identifying changes in property ownership or occupation over time can help you track your ancestors’ movements within Ireland.
  • Understand social and economic status: Comparing the size and value of landholdings in both records can provide insights into your ancestors’ social and economic standing in their community.
  • Identify potential family connections: Similar names or geographic proximity in both resources may point to potential family connections that warrant further investigation.

Additional Resources for Irish Genealogy Research

In addition to Griffith’s Valuation and Tithe Applotment Books, there are several other resources that can help you uncover your Irish ancestry, including:

  • Civil registration records: Birth, marriage, and death records from 1864 onwards (non-Catholic marriages from 1845) are available through the General Register Office of Ireland and various online databases.
  • Church records: Parish registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials can provide valuable information on your ancestors’ lives. Many of these records have been digitized and are accessible through websites such as the National Library of Ireland, Ancestry.com, and Findmypast.
  • Census records: Although many Irish census records were destroyed, surviving fragments from the 1821-1851 censuses are available online through the National Archives of Ireland.
  • Newspapers: Historic newspapers can provide a wealth of information about your ancestors, including obituaries, marriage announcements, and local news. Websites such as the Irish Newspaper Archives and the British Newspaper Archive offer access to a wide range of Irish newspapers.
  • Estate records: Landlords’ estate records can provide valuable information on tenants, including rent rolls and leases. Many of these records are held in local archives or the National Archives of Ireland.
  • Military records: If your ancestor served in the British Army or other military forces, you might find useful information in military records. Websites like The National Archives (UK), Ancestry.com, and Findmypast offer access to various military records.
  • Wills and probate records: Wills and probate records can provide insights into your ancestor’s property and family relationships. The National Archives of Ireland and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland hold many of these records, with some available online.
  • Emigration records: Passenger lists, naturalization records, and other documents related to emigration can help you trace your ancestors’ journey from Ireland to their new homes abroad. Websites such as Ancestry.com, Findmypast, and the Ellis Island Foundation offer access to various emigration records.

By utilizing these resources alongside Griffith’s Valuation and Tithe Applotment Books, you can gain a more comprehensive understanding of your Irish ancestors’ lives and piece together your family’s unique story. Remember to be patient, persistent, and open to exploring multiple sources as you navigate the challenging but rewarding world of Irish genealogy research.

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