Griffith’s Valuation 1848-1864, indexed with images in this database, is one of Ireland’s premier genealogical resources, referencing approximately one million individuals who occupied property in Ireland between 1848 and 1864. Also known as Primary Valuation of Ireland, it was executed under the direction of Sir Richard Griffith to provide a basis for determining taxes. This involved establishing the value of all privately held lands and buildings in both rural and urban areas in order to figure a rental rate for each unit of property. The resulting survey was arranged by barony and civil parish, with an index to townlands appearing in each volume. The original volumes of the survey are held in the National Archives, Dublin, and Public Record Office, Belfast.
Griffith’s Valuation 1848-1864 is an invaluable reference for family historians with ancestors in Ireland in part because no census material from the nineteenth century has survived. In effect, because it is the only detailed guide to where in Ireland people lived in the mid-nineteenth century and what property they owned or leased, this collection serves as a census substitute for the years before, during, and after the Great Famine. It is also a valuable record of social and economic data and includes map reference numbers that can help researchers identify and perhaps locate property on Ordinance Survey maps created before the valuations took place.
Few other records can be used to identify an Irish ancestor’s exact place of origin, and only Griffith’s Valuation links an individual to a specific townland and civil parish. This is extremely important, since the first step in Irish genealogical research is to identify an ancestor’s townland and civil parish, which can lead you to ecclesiastical parish records of births and marriages.
Records in this database are indexed by:
- Name of occupier
- Name of leaser
- County of residence
- Barony of residence
- Parish of residence
- Townland of residence
In addition, pages from the Valuation may include street, subdivision, and ordinance survey page numbers, as well as a description of property, acreage, and valuation.
Search Tips for Names
Surnames are the most obvious keys for any researcher and you should note that many variants exist for practically every Irish surname. For instance, “O’Neill” may be listed as “ONeill” or “O Neill.” Because a surname could be transcribed a number of different ways, you should search for your ancestors under more than one spelling. Names with the prefix “Mc” or “Mac” should also be searched in the same manner. An Irish surname may also change over time and from generation to generation. For this reason, if you were searching for the surname “Donald,” you would want to search under “O’Donald,” “McDonald,” “MacDonald,” “M’Donald,” etc. This is particularly important if your Irish ancestors later emigrated to other countries because, in some cases, surname prefixes were dropped at the time of immigration.
You may have difficulty locating some names for the following reasons:
- Some given names have been abbreviated. For example, “Robert” may appear as “Robt,” and “Elizabeth” as “Eliz.”
- Some given names are misspelled, contain typos, or may be spelled unusually.
- Some given and middle names are truncated. Specifically, this happens when the name, including the spaces between the given name, middle name, and last name, is longer than twenty-three characters. For example, “McCormack, Annabelle Margaret” would be listed as “McCormack, Annabelle Mar.”
If you are unable to locate a particular given name and surname, try switching the given name to an initial, abbreviation, or possible misspelling. If the surname is not common, you may want to search only the surname.
Also, if your ancestor is listed as “Rep.” (for example, “Kennedy, Rep. Markus,”) it typically means that the individual owned land but was represented by someone else in the survey.