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Griffith's Valuation - Important information for Genealogists
It is possible to be mislead by incorrect use of Griffith's Valuation of Ireland 

Griffith's Valuation of Ireland is one of the most important resources available in Ireland for those of us who like to trace our ancestors.  Given the absence of census returns from the 19th century, it is the only document we can use to place our families in a particular house at a  particular time.  However, it is important to be aware of the following points when using this resource.

The original listing that we use was published from the late 1840s to the early 1860s.

Property numbers were placed on the original c.1840 Ordinance Survey maps.

Each property had a map reference number.  For each property there is a name. This is the OCCUPIER.  There may well be ten other people in the house but you will only get the OCCUPIER'S name.

The Immediate Lessor is given.  This is very often the landlord, but can also be someone who is subletting part of their property!

Above we mentioned map reference number.  The theory is that by using the Griffith's Valuation listing of townlands and names of occupiers and map reference numbers, one can pinpoint the home of someone listed in the original listing.   Please be aware, this only works if you are using the original maps.  The original map and the original listings work perfectly together.  If you are using a later map, you can get incorrect information.


In the Valuation Office in Dublin, you can see maps that are part of a later valuation (approx 1880)  On the internet this map is used in conjunction with the original listing for the rural areas that I have checked, and can be misleading.   The availability of this resource on the internet is a magnificent endeavour and I have no wish to criticise. I am just pointing out that, to the best of my knowledge, some of the maps are later than the original map.  (The town maps on the site I checked are wonderful and actually older than the ones I had seen when researching at the Valuation Office.  They contain an amazing amount of information.)

In the twenty to thirty or so years between the original Griffith's Valuation and the later valuation, there was a huge change in land ownership, farm size, number of houses still standing etc.  So, I will repeat, if you use the original map and map reference numbers with the later valuation map there is a good chance you will get incorrect information.  Some numbers have moved about the maps, and some numbers cover larger or smaller properties than what they originally covered.

All is not lost, however.  At the Valuation Office there is a collection of books known as the Cancellation Books.   In these hand-compiled books, all changes of occupation and ownership of properties, from the original valuation to recent times, was documented.  A clever colour code was used whereby the changes for different years was in different coloured ink.

In Short
The Original Griffith's Valuation of Ireland was done between late 1840s and early 1860s.
Original listing works with original map.
Original listing may or may not work with later maps.
To be certain, you must consult the Cancellation books at the Valuation Office at the
Irish Life Centre, Abbey Street Lower, Dublin 1.

Griffith's Valuation of Ireland



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