findmypast logo

Other than a few fragments, the Irish census records from the nineteenth do not survive, either having been pulped for paper in the First World War or lost in the Public Record Office fire of 1922. Irish genealogists must therefore rely on records that act as ‘census substitutes' to find out information about families and households. Griffith's Valuation is one of the most important sources to Irish local and family historians since it is the most comprehensive household survey that survives for the mid-nineteenth century, providing an insight into households in the period between the Famine and the start of civil registration in 1864.

What is Griffith's Valuation?

Between 1847 and 1864, Richard Griffith was responsible for conducting the Primary Valuation of Tenements (generally referred to a Griffith's Valuation because of his role in the project). The aim of the valuation was to produce a uniform guide to the relative value of land throughout the whole country. The project required Griffith and a team of valuers to determine the value of every piece of land and property in Ireland enabling every occupiers' tax due to be assessed. The information they collated covered all of Ireland was compiled into over 300 volumes and published over a period of 17 years.

What information is included in Griffith's Valuation?

The data collected was organised by county; initially each volume related to a Barony (1846 – 1852) while each volume published after 1852 relates to a Poor Law Union. In both cases, volumes are themselves further sub-divided into civil parishes and townlands. Civil parishes correspond to Church of Ireland parishes and townlands are the most basic Irish land unit. Where the volumes were arranged by barony there are three publications: a full valuation, a list of appeals and a revised version. After 1852, amendments and revised acts were not required. So, depending on which county you are researching there may be more than one volume for a particular location.

Each entry includes:

  • Detailed location information for each plot
  • Occupier's name. The person who owned, leased or rented a holding. This was the person responsible for paying taxes and as such he or she was generally the head of household. However, it should be noted that where multiple households lived in one tenement only the head of one household would be included. The occupier's surname is provided first, followed by the first name or initial. Helpfully to the genealogist people with the same name are sometimes distinguished between by the addition of an agnomen (additional name) such as Jr., Sr., or Red, Black (referring to physical characteristics such as hair colour).
  • Immediate Lessor's name. This was the person from whom the occupier leased their land; it could be the landowner or a middleman who sub-let the premises to the occupier.
  • Land or Property Description
  • Acreage , where the property includes land. This is measured in statute acres, rood and perches.
  • Rateable valuation of land (in pounds, shillings and pence)
  • Rateable valuation of buildings (in pounds, shillings and pence)
  • Annual valuation (in pounds, shillings and pence).

About this Version of Griffith's Valuation

While Griffith's Valuation is available on a number of websites, the version you can search on Find My Past Ireland is the one developed by Eneclann Ltd, OMS Services and The National Library of Ireland and is the most complete Griffith's Primary Valuation of Ireland which includes all revisions and ammedments.

No library or archive held the complete set of 301 Griffith's publications (which included new volumes were updates and amendments had been made). The National Library of Ireland and the Valuation Office have the largest collection of original volumes and other collections are held in The National Archives of Ireland, the Genealogical Office and the Gilbert Library and the private collection of George Handran. The team were able to locate 300 of the 301 publications across these and other archives. The information was then digitised and made fully searchable (by person and place name) to give you the most comprehensive version of Griffith's Valuation online. The original page images may also be viewed. This version of the survey was first published in 2003, the first time it had been published in its entirety since the 19th century.