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Best Genealogy Sites for Irish Research: AskAboutIreland

According to their website, " and the Cultural Heritage Project is an initiative of public libraries together with local museums and archives in the digitisation and online publication of the original, the unusual and the unique material from their local studies' collections to create a national Internet resource for culture." The site contains a great deal of information in the Reading Room and Libraries area for learning about the history of Ireland and perhaps information about the specific area where your ancestors lived. I encourage you to explore it, especially the Reading Room>History and Heritage.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that one of my favorite resources for the 19th century is Griffith's Valuation. It is a misunderstood resource to many but my goal is to make sure that everyone uses it. Even if your ancestors left before the Valuation, there are likely members of the family who remained. (You can read previous blogs that discuss Griffith's Valuation by going to the Blog page and on the line that begins "All Posts" hover over "More" and you'll get a drop down menu. Select "Griffith's Valuation.") AskAboutIreland is a free site that contains both the Valuations and the Maps (although some of the maps are of a later timeframe). The fact that it is free allows for no excuse for not using the resource.

Before you begin, I encourage you to read the Search Tips. The search is an "exact match" so when I type in Moughty I get no results. Even if I select the "Include similar names" there are no results. I could check other spellings of the name (Mucty, Mocta, Mughty) but if I know the locality I can search by "Griffith's Places."

This takes me to the same place as when I click on the townland name on IrishAncestors.

Clicking on Occupants will give you a list of all of the individuals in the Townland. Below is just an example for the Mughty ancestors.

Click on the document icon (I usually use the largest one) and you can view the page from Griffith's Valuation.

You can see that John and Michael Mughty are on property 16 have a combined holding of about 30 acres including two houses (a and b) and their landlord is John Bond. I can also see that there are a number of other names on this list that are familiar as witnesses, sponsors or spouses of Moughtys over the years. Griffith's Valuation was done at a different time for each county between 1847 and 1864 (starting in the south and moving north) and it is important to know when your county was done. The printing date can be ascertained by clicking on the Details icon. Here's a link that will also give a list of years for each county. For County Longford, Griffith's was published in 1854. Would the person you are looking for been over the age of 21 (remember this is a tax list and a person had to be of "full age" in order to sign a lease) or are you looking for his father, or grandfather. Also consider that if the individual had died, the lease might be in the name of his wife. If you find multiple individuals with the same surname in the same Townland, it's likely there is a relationship between them, research all of them. Also watch for agnomens to differentiate individuals. An agnomen is an addition to the name listed. In the example above there is a Bernard M'Grath jr and a Bernard M'Grath sr. The jr and sr are agnomens that identify these as two different individuals. There is no standard list of could be jr and sr as noted, or the father's name (which is great) or a descriptive such as Big or Small, Red or Black (color of hair) or even an occupation. Notice there are also three Patrick Geraghtys listed in Gorteenclareen. There is no agnomen after their name so they are all the same person. It was not uncommon for an individual to have leases on more than one piece of property, some of which might be indicated as just land as the description.

The magnifying glass to the right of the document icon is for a map of the area. I love maps! They can tell you so much. Don't be put off by what comes up when you click.

You do have to work through this, but it's worth it. It's good to have some idea of where the locality is so you can move more easily around this map. Using the scroll button on your mouse, or the plus and minus signs in the lower right of the screen, enlarge the map until you can identify the locations. These are maps from the 19th century done by the Ordnance Survey. The locality you're looking for is in the rectangle. Scroll until just that area is visible. Another help is to use the slider in the upper right and move it halfway between Modern Map and Historical Map. This will help you get an identying area.

I recognize Daroge as a townland close to Gorteenclareen, so I can focus in on that area. Just above Darogue you can see the beginning of the parish name, Shrule. As I zoom in closer, in small letters within the red outlines of the townland I can see Gorteenclareen.

The Mughtys are on property 16 and the arrow points to the a and b where the two houses were likely located. Although the maps appears to show these on property 17, that is identified as a bog with no houses.

When I scroll out a bit, I can also see the property in the adjoining parish of Daroge where I find Thomas Mughty on property 11and they are not that far apart, probably less than 2 km walking across fields. Without a map, I wouldn't have recognized this. These are three brothers.

Finally, when you visit the property of your ancestor (you are going to visit Ireland, right?) the unique Modern Map feature (which you won't find at Ancestry or Findmypast) allows you to identify how to get there. Move the slider almost all the way toward the Modern Map side so you can still see the outlines of the original map underneath. You can also see some modern landmarks on the map.

You can see that 16 is at the intersection of two roads. By using Google Maps and dropping a pin at that intersection I can get directions from Ballymahon, one of the closest large towns...about an 8 minute drive.

Even if you can't get there, you can see what it looks like today using Google Street View.

If you're looking for additional information on Griffith's Valuation, I have written a QuickSheet on Land, Tax and Estate Records in Ireland which you can order here. I'm also doing a lecture on Griffith's at the Celtic Connections Conference which begins this Friday and will be going through September 30th (the lectures have been recorded and you can view them at your convenience...even multiple times). I'm also doing a live Chat on Saturday, August 1st at 12:00 EDT and on Thursday, August 13 at 8 pm. If you haven't registered, there's still time.

Below is a short video for those of you who are visual learners.

Happy Hunting and Stay Safe!

Is your Society or organization looking for webinar programs for the upcoming season? You can find a list of my lectures here. In addition to Irish, I also do methodology and other lectures. Just click on the "Email Me" button at the bottom of the Lectures page to check on availability.

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