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Land Records

landLand and property has always been a subject close to Irish hearts and minds and so it is unsurprising that there is a wealth of information about our Irish ancestors to be found in land records. 

The three most useful land record sources are:

Tithe Applotment Books
are a record of all persons who were levied for the hated Tithe Taxes between 1823 and 1838. Tithes were a tax paid to the Established Church of Ireland by occupiers of land based on the value of their holding, regardless of what religion a person actually was.

The books are based by civil parish and show the names of the occupiers (tenant rather than owner), the townland they lived in, the acreage they occupied and the amount of tax due.

Microfilm of the books can be researched in the National Archives of Ireland and through the genealogy section of their website.


Griffith’s Valuation involved an entire survey of every household in Ireland, published between 1847 and 1864, in an attempt to reform the tax system and impose local taxation or rates.

It is much more comprehensive than tithe valuations, and with certain exceptions, we can expect to find the head of every Irish household listed in its typed pages.

It shows name of occupier; immediate landlord; description of the property (e.g. “house and garden”, “land”); acreage and the rateable valuation of the property.

The Irish Government has made this valuable resource freely available through the Ask About Ireland website

The National Archives of Ireland also hold House and Field notebooks kept by the surveying teams. These can sometimes show additional information to that on the actual published survey.


Valuation Office Records

The information from Griffith’s Valuation was updated every few years by surveyors from the Valuations Office.

They kept hand written books and simply crossed out entries and wrote in new names and information.

At intervals they started “clean” new books.

These books are often known as the cancelled land books and allow us to continuously trace the occupants of land from the 1860s - often as far up to date as the 1960s!


If your ancestor’s holding was rural and might possibly still be farm land, Irish Family Footsteps would strongly urge you to consider tracing your ancestor’s land holding to present times through the books held by The Valuations Office.

You may well find that your ancestor’s house still stands - and that you still have distant cousins in the area! How better to trace in their footsteps?


Please complete our Assessment Form for advice.



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