If you have dabbled at all in Irish Genealogy, you will have most certainly come across the "Griffith's Valuation" or "Primary Valuation". A bit of a mouthful - but it is a great resource for anyone trying to place an ancestor in a parish and/or townland. To carry on from there and move to the Cancelled or Revision Books you will have to appreciate the reasoning behind all of the multi-coloured edits you will find there!
In this IrelandXO Genealogy Insight, we will show you how to unravel the threads of information contained within the Books and demystify the 'colorful' annotations. Hopefully, this will tempt you to dive in and start making connections between your family and their parish of origin.
Between 1847 and 1864 a detailed, county-by-county record of tax liable was kept in Ireland. Today the "Griffith Valuation" is an invaluable resource for anyone researching their Irish family history and if properly used, it can be a fantastic key to uncovering family history information before the mid-19th century.
Griffith's Valuation and The Cancelled Books
Griffith's Valuation or the 'Primary Valuation' is a much-used and valuable source in genealogical research. Published between 1847 and 1864 it provides a detailed county-by-county record of tax liable on land and buildings for the period. The Valuation can 'ground' an ancestor in a place at a given time as well as provide information about the plot leased - the area, the lessor's name, and annual valuation. Additional information like the presence of a national school in a parish, for example, can point you to other potential research sources. Perhaps there is a school roll still extant or a school register entry about an ancestor who was a teacher. Whatever information you manage to take from it, the Valuation is available here to view for free: Griffith's Valuation
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One of the ways to try to find out if an ancestor stayed in a given parish after his or her inclusion in Griffith's Valuation is through the Cancelled or Revision Books. These are so-called because of the colorful revisions or handwritten edits. Each time a change in a landholding took place an edit in a particular color was recorded on the Books, thus allowing us to track what family name is associated with a particular plot from the 1850s up to the 1970s in some cases. It might be the case for example, that all of the revisions for 1916 were allocated the color red, while revisions for the following year were blue. A change in family name may mean that a marriage occurred and a new son-in-law has taken over a plot or perhaps the family has emigrated and no longer leave any further trace. It is really important to see the Books in their original color (the LDS Library provides a copy on microfilm in black and white) as these colors and corresponding years provide important context.
So how does this work in practice?
Glynn Family, Kilbannon, Tuam, Co. Galway.
The Glynns leased land in the townland of Ballygaddy, just outside Tuam town in 1855. This plot included a house, land, and garden and was valued at £1. The Cancelled Books allow us to see the changes in the tenure of the plot from the time of Mary Glynn through to her son-in-law Michael Lowry and later to her grandson Joe Lowry and later his brother John right up to the 1950s. The same family owns the land today. Incidentally, a headstone from the local graveyard at Kilbannon confirmed the familial relationship.
Above: An example of the colored edits from a Co. Galway Valuation record
The Revision Books are not yet available online for the Republic of Ireland but can be accessed via the Valuation Office, Abbey Street, Dublin. The following Counties (Antrim, Armagh, Down, Londonderry [Derry], Fermanagh, and Tyrone) are available for Northern Ireland and can be seen at the PRONI website here: PRONI Valuation Records
The National Archives of Ireland has uploaded several Valuation books associated with Griffith's Valuation. They can be accessed here: National Archives of Ireland
Rewatch our webinar on Griffiths Valuation below
Links mentioned in the webinar are available below.
A summary of websites you will find useful
- Griffith's Valuation (Original Pages & Maps)
- Counties listed by publication date
- Northern Ireland Counties that are in PRONI archives
- Valuation Office Books online at the National Archives of Ireland
- Helpful article about Griffith's Valuation
Have you gained valuable family history insight through your study of Griffith's Valuation? We would love to hear your story and you can email it to us at email@example.com.
We've lots more IrelandXO Insights to help you with your Irish family history research:
- Historical Church Records
- 1901 & 1911 Census
- Irish Civil Records Online
- The Irish Famine - Find out how your County was affected
Jane Halloran Ryan is a professional genealogist who founded Dalassian Origins Family Research and Genealogy Services in County Clare. She received her M.A. in Local History with Honors from the University of Limerick in 2017. Her dissertation was entitled "Agrarian Outrages in the Parish of Tulla, County Clare 1852-1894”. Jane is currently a fourth-year Ph.D. researcher at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. Her thesis focus is on networks between Irish and Irish American communities and their assimilation into Irish American culture in the late 19th century. She is focusing her thesis on one family from a specific area in County Clare and their migration to Norwalk, CT over several generations.
Jane was recently awarded a grant from the Cushwa Center at the University of Notre Dame for her research proposal entitled “Bridging the Emigrant Gap: The Norwalk Catholic Club 1897-1940”. Jane has published articles in Slieve Aughty (2014), Reflections from Home and Abroad (2016-2020), The Other Clare (Vols. 42 (2018) & 43 (2019) ), and she has most recently published “Clooney Graveyard”, a survey of the Clooney graveyard in Clooney/Quin parish, County Clare. Jane has recently contributed articles for the Quin Heritage website about the Singleton family of Quinville and Hazelwood Houses. Her published articles have included the life of Fr Patrick Sheehy, Tenant Right priest of Tulla Parish; James Molony, Kiltannon Landlord, and Entrepreneur; William Mills and Marcus Molony of Kiltannon; Forges in the parish of Tulla, Clare; and the Church of Ireland window from Tulla, County Clare.
You can contact Jane directly here