The Revision Books at PRONI
Updated: Oct 20, 2019
Last week I explained what happened after Griffith’s with the Revision Books. The original Revision Books for the six counties of Northern Ireland were sent to the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) and they have been digitized and are online for free. The books cover Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone and for the years 1864 to about 1930. The quality of the digitization is excellent.
Using the PRONI images is straight forward. Begin by searching for the placename (the townland) from Griffith's. I searched for Ballycrune in Down in the parish of Annahilt.
The results listed five Valuation Books giving me the dates covered by each from 1866-1929.
Opening the first file, I selected “Index Image" and found that the townland of Ballycrune began on page 37. If you click “ View” on the left of the screen it will lock the image for viewing. Note: Because of the way the website works, I can’t link these images directly to the page, but you can follow the steps and access them for further details.
There is no search by page number, but the page buttons allow you to move forward and back by single page or by 10 pages. Note that the image numbers and the page numbers aren’t the same, so watch for the page number in the upper right corner. In this case, page 37 is image 41. Page 37 begins the townland of Ballycrune, but according to Griffith’s, my ancestor, William Moag is Occupier 14. By clicking next twice, I come to the entry for Occupier 14. William Moag is still the occupier and living in house “a.” His Immediate Lessor is the Marquis of Downshire. William has three other houses on his property noted by the lower case letters b, c, and d, that he sublets and he is indicated as the Immediate Lessor.
I move to the next book and using the same procedure note that Ballycrune begins on page 44. In the second book, William Moag is crossed out and Mary is written in above and at the far right in the column marked “Observations” is written the date…1881. (If there are multiple changes, match up the color of the ink to see which change occurred on which date.) This shows that some event has taken place, in this case, a search of the death indexes shows that William has died, and his wife, Mary has become the occupier. The next page shows the changes with the tenants, and Mary becomes the Immediate Lessor.
In book 3, covering 1886-1897, the occupier changes from Mary Moag to James Rush in 1892. This corresponds to the year Mary and her children emigrated to the United States. The fact that the property moved to James Rush points to another area of research for me, as Mary's maiden name was Rush. Is James a brother?
As you work through the books, you may find that the property is renumbered. Watch for this and note it, as you may have to look for a different number in subsequent books. It’s a good idea to look through the entire townland to see if your ancestor moved to another piece of property, or acquired a new lease of additional property.
In Book 4 we have James Rush still occupying at number 14. Under Immediate Occupier, the Marquis of Downshire is crossed out and there is a stamp L.A.P. (Land Acts Purchase) and the words “In Fee.” This occurred in 1913 and James Rush has purchased the property.
Last week I said that some of the Revision Books go up to the 1970s in the Republic. In Northern Ireland, the Books only go to 1930. However the Registry of Deeds in Northern Ireland began in 1923 after partition, and those records can be accessed in Ireland. Here’s a blog from 2014 about using the records at the Registry of Deeds in Belfast. The paper records have now been moved to PRONI.
One can only hope that the digitization of the books at the Valuation Office in Dublin will be completed soon and work as well as in Belfast!
Only a few weeks left to sign up for one of the Ireland Research Trips. Just one slot left for Dublin but I still have six slots for researchers for Belfast. You're welcome to bring non-researching companions. Go to the website and complete the Registration Form and mail it.