8 Days of Irish Research: Valuation Records

This is the seventh post in the series 8 Days of Irish Research.

Valuation Records
When I broke down the brick wall for my O’Connell line, one of the records I enjoyed looking at was Griffith’s Valuation. The valuation records give you insight into where your ancestors lived, how much they paid to live and what time of home / land they had.

Valuation Office
Outside the Valuation Office. Dublin, Ireland 2015

For the longest time, Griffith’s Valuation 1847 – 1864 was the only valuation records available on-line (at AskAboutIreland). Again, it is important to note that you must know the land information for your ancestors. (Please see Defining the Land). The only way to follow the land and see who lived there next would be to go to Dublin (I’m totally down for that) and visiting the Valuation Office. There you give them the townland, parish and county your ancestor lived in and they will bring out the actual books.

Valuation Book at the Valuation Office. Dublin, Ireland 2015.
Valuation Book at the Valuation Office. Dublin, Ireland 2015.

Last year I was lucky enough to spend about an hour at the valuation office. I was able to look at the next valuation after Griffith’s. What I learned by doing that is the land my ancestor lived on was changing. The following valuation showed that the number of houses had declined on the property they lived on, and that Denis, my ancestor, had already moved on. This was not shocking to me, as I know that another child was born in Ireland and he was not baptized at the same church as the other children.

The valuation records give details about buildings on the land. The headings on the valuation are as follows:

  • No. and Letters of Reference on the Map
  • Names
    • Townlands
    • Occupiers
  • Description of Tenement
  • Area
  • Net Annual Value
    • Land
    • Buildings Total

Important information about the maps connected with AskAboutIreland – they have about three different maps that are used on the website. The one you see is the best digital image. While in the Valuation office, I witnessed them switching between maps and asked about it. So know that the map you see could be a map that was published later than the valuation you are looking at.

Recently, the National Archives of Ireland released more valuation records. These books range from 1820 – 1856 and there are five books to search through; they are General Note, Field Books, House Books, Tenure Books, and Quarto Books or you can use the general search.  As with the Tithe Applotment books, these records do not contain genealogical information. You have to know where your family was within the time frame of the valuation to be able to find them because the family is not listed.

For example, I know in 1857 my family lived in the townland of Garravesoig, I found them in Griffith’s Valuation because I had the townland. Looking at the new valuation records released I am not 100% which Denis Connell would be mine and there are 15 to choose from. I need to go analyze all the family records to see if I can find the correct Denis in the list on the National Archives website.

Even though the online valuation stops at 1864, keep in mind that the Valuation Office in Dublin has more records. If you visit, you will be able to see that each valuation a different colored pen is taken to the book to cross at those who have moved (or passed on) and add in the new tenant or land owner.  You can see the different colors in the Valuation Book picture above.

Good luck looking for your ancestors in the Valuation records. Come back and share if you were able to find your ancestor and what you learned!





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