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Irish Family Archive Review
International Records: Index to Griffith's Valuation of Ireland, 1848-1864
(CD 188)
Reviewed by Marthe Arends

Genealogists recognize the value of census records when researching a family: a census entry can indicate members of the household, a location, and sometimes even give an idea of property holdings. But genealogists who research in Ireland face a daunting problem — the the censuses for the nineteenth century were destroyed in 1922!

Fortunately, a source exists to help researchers overcome the loss of the census, thanks to Richard Griffith, a geologist from Dublin. We have taxation to thank for the existance of Griffith's Valuation; between the years of 1848 and 1864, Griffith conducted a survey of landowners and tenants in order to calculate how much each each person should pay in tax for the local poor. The amount of tax depended on the value of land and buildings each person owned or occupied (leased). The survey resulted in a list of approximately one million individuals, arranged by barony and civil parish.

Unlike the census, Griffith's Valuation does not list every inhabitant, instead they list only landowners and occupiers, as well as a brief description and value of the property. However, the list is an excellent reference in locating surnames (and sometimes specific families). Given the difficulty of nineteenth century research, it is vital that you know an ancestor's townland and civil parish in order to locate birth and marriage records — thus the importance of Griffith's Valuation List.

March 11, 1998

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Once you've found your ancestor within the CD, you may be able to obtain additional information from the original copy of Griffith's Valuation (available on microfilm and microfiche at Irish Archives, many genealogy libraries, and the Family History Library).

The Griffith's Valuation CD is comprised of an index which can be searched by name or location. Clicking on the More About button will display specific information about the selected individual (the county, parish, and location where the individual lived); some entries may also contain information in the Comments field such as occupation, religion, and name of the family residence.

The Introduction contains a very helpful article by William O'Kane, an Irish research specialist. O'Kane's article gives background on the dearth of information available to nineteenth century researchers, the importance of Griffith's Valuation, and information about territorial designations. Detailed instructions for searching and printing items are included. While it isn't easy locating an ancestor unless you know which townland and parish the individual lived, Griffith's Valuation List offers a much needed silver lining to Irish researchers.

 
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International Records: Index to Griffith's Valuation of Ireland, 1848-1864
(CD 188)

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About the Author

Marthe Arends has been involved in genealogy for 18 years. She has lectured on computers and genealogy to many groups, has been the SysOp of a Fidonet genealogy BBS, has written articles for a variety of genealogy publications, and currently writes fiction. Marthe has also written Genealogy Software Guide and Genealogy on CD-ROM, both published by the Genealogical Publishing Company.
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