The Town of Dungiven

In this case study I have assembled a number of sources for the town of Dungiven, a small market town located in the southern part of the Roe Valley. The sources cover the period from the 1830s to the early 1900s. Some sources relate to the whole town and two [the 1901Census Returns and the Griffith's Revision Books] relate particularly to part of Main Street.

1831 Census Returns



1832 Townland Valuation House details Valuation map
1858 Griffith's [Tenement] Valuation Printed pages Valuation map
1856 Slater's & 1905 Belfast & Ulster Directories 1856 directory    1905 directory
1860 to 1910 Griffith's Revision Books [part of Main St.] Excel PDF
1901 Census Returns [part of Main St.]  Excel PDF

Below are some notes relating to the sources in the table above.

The figures in the table below [compiled from the official census] show how the population of the town changed during the period 1831 to 1901.

1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901
1163 1016 917 845 755 761 752 638

Population % change per decade:

-8% -11% 1% -1% -15%

Population % change 1851 to 1901:


Population change in Dungiven is very different from the other urban examples in the county. In many ways it is similar to the changes that were taking places in rural areas during the nineteenth century. Dungiven, although given the status of a town in the official census returns of the nineteenth century and in street directories, is more akin to a rural village. Assuming that the 1831 figure is correct, the population of the town had fallen by 21% by 1851. With the exception of the decade 1871/81, the figures from 1851 onwards continue to decline. By 1901there were 638 persons living in the town, in contrast to the 1163 who had lived there in 1831 - an overall decline of 30%.

I have brought together a number of key sources that will allow you to see who was living in the town [mainly Main Street] from the 1830s to the early 1900s and two large scale maps of the town, dated 1834 and 1859.

The 1831 Census Returns list the names of all householders in each street at that time. I have databased the names in the census in the order that they appear in the original transcripts. House numbers (unique to the census and not to be confused with local street numbers) are given in the database. The number of families in a house are given and multiple-occupancy houses are flagged up with an *. If a house is uninhabited then this is noted. You will notice that it is obvious that certain people had more than one house in a street and some had a number of properties in different streets. The database makes it easier to identify these persons.

I have copied the manuscript pages from the 1832 Townland Valuation for the Main Street which was really the only street in the town. You might want to see how many names in the valuation can be matched to the 1831 Census Returns. Each property in the 1832 Townland Valuation has a number which corresponds to the numbers on the 1834 large scale map of the town. Unfortunately there is no detailed information on the individual houses in the street.

There are copies of pages from the 1858 Griffith's Printed [Tenement] Valuation with its accompanying 1859 large scale valuation map. Here you can identify and locate householders within the town at that time. Remember that the town was actually surveyed in 1856 and the results printed in 1858.

Note that both the 1834 and 1859 large scale maps of the town are too large to be presented as one map. When you click on the 1834 or 1859 link a page will open with an index to the four individual maps covering the town.

These links will take you to copies of the pages from the 1856 Slater's Directory and the 1905 Belfast and Ulster Directory. It is possible to link many of the names in the 1856 directory with names in the 1858 Griffith's Valuation. You can also try linking the names in the 1905 Directory with those in the 1901 and 1911 Census Returns.

Finally, in order to provide some detailed information on some of the families who lived in the town in the early 1900s I have included details [in database format] from the 1901 Census Returns for part of Main Street. Now that the 1901 and 1911 Census Returns for Co. Londonderry are online you can look at the remainder of Main Street.


I have only had a cursory glance at the families in the 1901 Census Returns. 45 heads of family are listed in the database. 28 of these were Roman Catholic, 10 were Church of Ireland and 7 were Presbyterian. Occupations included draper, farmer, policeman, grocer, baker tailor, shoemaker, carpenter, doctor. In fact the range of occupations you would expect to find in a small town or village. As mentioned above, Dungiven appears to have a much more rural feel to it. Apart from James McNulty, a draper and spirit merchant and Michael McDermott, a grocer, wine and spirit merchant who both came from Donegal; two policemen from Monaghan and Tipperary, a Presbyterian minister who was born in Co. Donegal and a Church of Ireland rector who was born in Co. Louth, the remainder of heads of family were born within the county. When you look at the entire population you will find boarders, etc. born in places ranging from Armagh, Dublin and Wales.

I have chosen one family, that of James Fallows who was the postmaster in the village, for a more detailed study which you can see at the Case Studies page on this website.

The Griffith's Revision Books from 1860 to 1910 will allow you to trace the changes in the occupancy of the properties in the street during that period. Remember, of course that persons who were boarders, and not heads of households, will not appear in the revision books.

Copyright 2018 W. Macafee.