If it’s Wednesday in Dublin, it’s Valuation Office day. Since Covid, there are restrictions in many of the repositories and only four people can get reservations to work in the Valuation Office at a time. That's four in the morning and four in the afternoon. Since I typically bring 15 researchers, that's two days to get everyone through.
So what’s the big deal with the Valuation Office? These are the follow-on records to Griffith's Valuation so if you have found your family in Griffith's you can follow the property through to the 1980s. You can see every time the lease passes from one person to another, and can also see when the family purchased the land. Here's a blog that explains the records. One of my families stayed on the same land until 1973 (moving from tenants to owners in the early 1900s). I have another family that still owns the land from Griffith's.
The Valuation Office has begun to digitize their records, however you can only view the digitized records onsite in Dublin. For those records not yet digitized, you will be using the original books. If you are planning a visit you currently need to make an appointment at least a few weeks in advance. Right now, there are no appointments available until November. When you make your reservation you will be advised if any of the books are out for digitization...currently that is County Laois.
As you may know from previous blogs I’ve been trying to straighten out the Johnston family of Rossinver parish in County Leitrim. I’ve identified fourteen names in Griffith's Valuation in nine townlands but are there actually fourteen families? Griffith's was a tax list, not a census, so an individual might have multiple leases. That's easy to see within a single townland as different individuals of the same name have an additional identifier added to their name, such as William (Robert) or William (Arthur). Typically the second name would be the father's name although I also have William (Jane)...the mother. Another identifier might be Sen or Jr; it could be an occupation or even the color of their hair (Red) or (Black). There is no standard list, it would usually be however they are known locally. However if the leases are in multiple townlands, it's not as easy to tell since the rule only applies in the same townland. I began working with three Andrews. Andrew of Agharoosky is crossed out of the records in 1895; Andrew of Cloonawillin is removed in 1888; and Andrew of Cornageeha is replaced in 1894. The next step is to look for death records for these individuals. The Revisions were not done every year, so you'd likely be looking for a death record 1 - 5 years prior to the change. There were death records for only two Andrews between 1883 and 1900 so it is possible that Andrew of Agharoosky and Andrew of Cornageeha were the same person. This would require follow up in additional civil records of marriages and births, as well as the Calendar of Wills at the National Archives. The Revision Books can be very helpful in separating individuals of the same name living in the same area.
When I got lost in the weeds of Baronies, Registration Districts and townlands at the Valuation Office today, Donna put me back on track, hooray!! And thank you! And then I was able to photograph the screen images of all the pages for my townland, which recorded who lived where for over 100 years.
Now the fun part: can I prove any of them are my people?
This is an ad from a newspaper (The Belfast Newsletter) found at National Library for a ship that would be about the right time frame for my ancestor coming to Canada. Probably too high price for him, but ...
Bill said he was in the National Library reading room during the thunderstorm. Great acoustics.