The principal land record is Richard Griffith's 'General Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland' of the mid-nineteenth century together with its preparatory notebooks and its follow up revision books.
Griffith's Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland 1848-64.
This is the only detailed guide showing where in Ireland people lived in the mid-nineteenth century and what property they possessed. A map is also available which, in many instances for rural areas, shows the exact location of the property. The survey was undertaken to assess property for local taxation purposes. It is arranged by county and poor law union and sub-divided for rural areas into barony, civil parish and townland and other areas into "county of the town of" (i.e. county boroughs or cities), municipal boroughs or towns and streets.
Part of a page from this valuation can be viewed by clicking
Valuation Lists or Revision Books from 1860.
These lists are an up-date of the information contained in the original Griffith's Valuation of Rateable Property.
Field, House and Tenure Books.
These are the original notebooks used by the surveyors to compile Griffith's Valuation. However they do not exist for all areas. Those available are held in the National Archives of Ireland and available to search online HERE.
Field Books give details on the amount and the value of the land.
House Books record the occupier's name and the measurement and use of any building on the holdings.
Tenure Books again record the occupier's name, the annual rent paid and the legal basis on which the holding was held i.e. at will or by lease. This information can be useful as it relates to the year or years prior to the publication of the actual Griffith's Valuation and thus can show changes immediately after the Great Famine.
Tithe Applotment Books (1823-38).
This survey was undertaken to determine the liability of landholders for tithes payable to the Established Church i.e. the Church of Ireland. It varies in its usefulness as in some instances only the main landlords are listed but in most cases tenants and the size of their holdings are given. They can be searched online HERE. Tithe Defaulters List also exists.
Hearth Money Rolls 1663-1669.
These are arranged by county and parish and list only the name of the householder and the number of hearths on which he was taxed. It survived for over half of all counties.
Books of Survey and Distribution (1662-1702).
The Books of Survey and Distribution were an official record of the landed proprietors and their respective estates. They are arranged by barony, parish and townland and list the land, the owner prior to 1641, the new owner and the amount of land received in the Cromwellian Settlement and the land forfeited in 1688 which was sold in 1701-2. Books for all counties are extant.
The Down Survey Maps 1654-5.
In 1654 trained surveyors applotted all the land recently forfeited and also stated whether the land was wood, bog, mountain, arable, meadow or pasture. The divisions used were barony, parish and townland. The landowner was also listed and his religion. While much of this material was lost in the Civil War 1922 various maps for nearly all counties survive.
The Civil Survey 1654-56.
This lists the landlords, his/her religion and property in 1649. It is arranged by county, barony, parish and townland and gives interesting local topographical details.
The survey survives for less than half the country.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the vast majority of the population lived as small tenant farmers on large estates. These estates were let to middlemen who in turn sub-let either at will or by short term leases to the small landholders. Many of the records, maps, tenants' lists, rentals, accounts etc. exist in public repositories but they vary greatly as to their content and usefulness but in some cases can be very rewarding.
Registry of Deeds (from 1708).
Memorials of Deeds exist from 1708 but as a general rule relate to property of merchants and large farmers. There are two types of indexes available to the records a surname or 'The Grantors' Index' and a placename or 'The Lands Index'.
The Land Registry is responsible for the compulsory registration of Title from 1892.
Various Other Land Records.
for example, records of the Devon Commission, the Incumbered Estates Court, the Land Commission, the Congested Districts Boards etc.
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