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Published 23 April 2011

A Substitute for the 1851-1861 Irish Census - Griffith's Valuation
By Rick Roberts, Global Genealogy

Recently we attended a lecture on Irish research that was given by Dr. David Elliott of KinFinders. Dr. Elliott was the keynote speaker for the Region 3, Ontario Genealogical Society Annual regional meeting in Brussels, Ontario.

One of the many pieces of good information that we gleaned from the talk was that researchers can access Griffith's Valuation information online without paying one of the commercial services. provides free name/place search and display of individual summary information, "field book" manuscript entries and survey maps.

About Griffith's Valuation
The near-complete loss of the 1851 census and the complete loss of other pre-1901 Irish census of Ireland is often seen as a roadblock to searching Irish families in the mid-ninteenth century. The primary purpose of census for genealogists is to identify a person or family to a place and date. Griffith's Valuation is a useful substitute.

The Tenement Act of 1842 sought to apply a uniform method of taxation based on the productivity or income of real property. Starting in 1847 and finishing in 1864, Sir Richard Griffith oversaw the completion of a Primary Valuation of taxable properties throughout Ireland that was to be used to determine how much each household was to be taxed to support the local poor.

Though the Valuation does not provide the names and relationships within a household, it does record the name and details of the head of the household, plus the name of the landowner if the head of household was a tennant. Additionally the Valuation records the value of the taxable property, the number of acres, the county, Barony, Poor Law Union, and/or Parish.

You can read an interesting article titled Is There More in Griffith's Valuation Than Just Names? by James R. Reilly, CGR

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