Ireland Ancestry Records – Other Vital Ireland Ancestry Records

The Ireland ancestry records most frequently used by beginning genealogists are the Census Reports and BDM (Birth, Death and Marriage) Certificates. More experienced researchers though, know that one must dig deeper into other sources to find information on Irish ancestors. Many valuable Ireland ancestry records were destroyed during the Civil War, and so it’s necessary to go further afield in your research to find Irish family. Some of these records are very particular to Ireland and have their own idiosyncrasies, but once understood they make extremely valuable tools for locating Irish ancestors. Let’s take a closer look at these other vital Ireland ancestry records.

Ireland Ancestry Records - Tithe Applotment and Griffith's Valuation

Although no complete set of census reports survives for the period prior to 1901, there are two other types of Ireland ancestry records that can be helpful to an Irish family ancestry search. These are the Tithe Applotment Books and Griffith’s (Primary) valuation.

  1. The Tithe Applotment Books – These were completed between 1823 and 1837 and were commissioned to assist in determining the amount of tax to be paid by occupiers agricultural holdings to the Church of Ireland. A manuscript book for almost every parish in Ireland exists, and these Ireland ancestry records contain data such as:
    • The names of the occupiers
    • Size of the land held
    • Amount to be paid in taxes (tithes)

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These records have all been transferred to microfilm and certain copies are held in the National Archives of Ireland in Dublin, while those for the six counties in the North are to be found at the Public Record Office in Belfast.

As well as a list of those who must pay tithes, there is also a Tithe Defaulters List. These Ireland ancestry records contain details of those involved in what was known as the Tithe War of 1831 – 1838. Many of the Irish refused to pay tithes, and consequently a war erupted between the Church and the defaulters. The clergy of the Church of Ireland recorded the names of those who refused to pay their tithes, and established the Clergy Relief Fund for priests who were affected by their parishioner’s refusal to pay. Many names of the debtors and the sum of money they owed are also recorded in these Ireland ancestry records.

  1. Griffith’s Valuation – Also known as the Primary Valuation, this report was published between 1847 and 1864, and is one of the most important of Ireland ancestry records for 19th century research. There is a printed valuation book for each barony or poor law union in Ireland, and shows:
    • Names of Occupiers of Land and Buildings
    • Names of the Landlords
    • Amount of Property Held
    • Value of the Property

You can search Griffith’s Valuation free of charge at Ask About Ireland.

Occupiers are listed geographically, and it is important to understand that rather than being a list of heads of households like the Census Returns, these are simply commercial residents of the associated properties. These Ireland ancestry records do sometimes contain family information, and for this reason they are important to genealogists. In some areas where a particular surname was popular, it was common to have two occupants of the same first and surnames.

The valuator in such a case was ordered to add a distinguishing note to identify individuals such as their occupation, or whether they were a John senior, or John junior, or who their father was. This bit of information could actually help you to trace your ancestors an extra generation back.

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These Ireland ancestry records can help fill in the gaps where the genealogical trail goes cold due to all of the destroyed census returns. Scrutinize them carefully when looking for your Irish relatives, as they could reveal crucial information that could extend your family history. Though not primary sources of genealogical data, they can be very valuable Ireland ancestry records.

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