Day 14 - Valuation Office and EPIC
Updated: Dec 26, 2018
Today, half the group worked at the Valuation Office at the Irish Life Center in the morning, and half in the afternoon. After Griffith's Valuation was completed, updated valuations were done on regular intervals noting any changes that had taken place since the previous valuation. It's important to remember that although we sometimes refer to Griffith's as a "census substitute," it is really a tax list. As such, the records had to be kept up to date so the proper taxes would be paid.
Once you have found your family in Griffith's you are ready to visit the Valuation Office to research in the Revision or Cancelled Books. Although some of these books are available at the Family History Library on microfilm, working with the originals in the Valuation Office provides the visual cue of different color ink to track when changes were made. The Valuation Office holds the original books for the Republic of Ireland and this year, a number of the counties were available to view on a computer in their office. These records, however, are not online and can only be viewed in Ireland. PRONI holds the books for the Northern counties and they are available online at the PRONI website.
Once you have identified your ancestor or their family in Griffiths Valuation, you note the County, Barony, Townland and DED (District Electoral Division). The staff at the Valuation Office will input the information and bring you a set of books that contain the records. The format of the handwritten manuscript books is the same as Griffith’s with the addition of a note field on the far right where the date of a change in noted.
When the name of the occupier is crossed out and another name written in, some type of life event has happened. If the surname of the replacement name is the same, it would usually indicate a death or emigration. Based on the date you might want to check the civil registration index (after 1864) to see if there was a death. Some of these books now go up into the 1980s. You can find more information on the Revision Books in a previous blog or in my Quick Reference Guide #3 on Land, Tax and Estate Records in Ireland (if you order it now, I won’t be able to mail it out until I return to the US on November 5th).
While one group was at the Valuation Office, the other was at a new venue in Dublin called EPIC. It opened in May of 2016 and is a Museum of the Irish Diaspora. Located in the CHQ (Customs House Quay) building this exhibit houses a multimedia experience of the Irish who left the island, and focuses on the stories of both famous and regular people. The Irish Family History Centre is also part of EPIC and upon completing the museum, people can visit the Center to get information on starting their family history. The two groups met at 12:00 in the conference room at EPIC for a very interesting presentation by Declan Brady on “Local History Sources” Sometimes we get so focused on the hatches, matches and dispatches that we ignore the why and where of our ancestors. Declan demonstrated a large number of resources that may not specifically name your ancestor, but will give you more information on what was happening at the time your anestor lived and why, for example, they emigrated. Not all of these are online, but when you’re in Ireland you don’t want to spend your time on records you can view at home. It was a good day!