|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
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
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
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