Day 7 - RCBL and the Valuation Office


Sherry working at the Representative Church Body Library. Photo by Mirta Ramer.

I can't believe I've already been here a week. The researchers are in their third day of research and are expanding to areas that pertain to their personal needs. Two researchers went to the Representative Church Body Library (Church of Ireland). It's located just outside of Dublin in Churchtown and can be reached by bus from the city. It is not a place that everyone would visit, but if your ancestors were Church of Ireland, they have a collection of original parish registers that date back into the 1600s. Other records, such as Vestry Minutes can even predate that. If you are on my Research Trip and that is something of interest to you, I will make arrangements for the visit. About two-thirds of the parish registers for the Church of Ireland were destroyed in the Public Records Office in 1922. The RCBL has a wonderful resource which lists what records survive, the dates of the records and where they are located. You can download the document here.


Here's what Sherry had to say about her visit:

"The Representative Church Body Library was a great genealogical experience for me. I had never experienced the thrill of looking through such old books as the ones I looked at today. I might have solved one question I had in my research objective. When was John Abbott born? Among the christenings for Ballymodan, I found “August 6, 1709 — James, son of CHARLES Abbott”. There were many more names in both Kilbrogan and Ballymodan that I am sure are ancestors of mine. Many dates to add to my family tree from the 1700s."

Diann spent the morning at the Valuation Office. Last Thursday (Day 2) I wrote about the Valuation Office and their records.

"Today I had my first visit to the Valuation Office in Dublin which houses the Valuation Revision Books of 1850-1970 for residential property in the Republic of Ireland. These books are important in genealogical research because a researcher can trace who lived on or owned a piece of property forward or backward for about 120 years. For example, a new name on a property indicates that the land transferred to another person. If this happened, your ancestor sold the land. The ancestor might have emigrated or died.
What is also valuable in the records is information when your ancestor is first listed as owning the land. The words “In fee” designates that the occupier is also the legal owner of the property. I learned that my Galway ancestor owned the property starting about 1922. I believe he owned the property up until his death in 1981. But to confirm this, I need to do further research. Maybe tomorrow, I will find his death record at the General Register Office and gain some further insight into my research journey."

Some of the other researchers today went back to continue their research at the National Library where they had books or manuscripts waiting for them. And two researchers spent the day organizing and refining their research. Sometimes you need to just take some time out. Trying to accomplish all your research in one trip and collecting information on "all" your families cause a loss of focus. I encourage you to limit your research to one or two connected families with focused questions to keep you on track. Know the who, what, where, when and what else and determine what specific records will answer your research question. Once you have answered the question, review to see if it makes sense with your other research and whether it suggests a new question then repeat. Don't forget that negative results also tell you something so don't forget to note them in your research log. Your research log tells you what you have already searched and the results so you don't repeat the same search.


Julie and I got together last night to review her plan because she wasn't sure if she wanted to go to the Valuation Office. She had done her Griffith's research but was having a problem identifying her ancestor from others of the same name. Based on some church records, we were able to isolate the locality to three adjoining parishes. She spent the day refining the potential individuals in Griffiths and is now is ready for her research at the Valuation Office tomorrow. Great job, Julie!


I hope you enjoy hearing about the successes (and sometimes frustrations) or researching your Irish ancestors. Who said there are no Irish records?


Happy Hunting!

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