My c.1860 Griffith's [Tenement] Valuation Databases
Manual searching of the printed Griffith's books can be very time-consuming and it is very easy to miss a name. A number of online databases are available for searching. There is a "free" site www.failteromhat.com which you can use to look for names outside the region covered by this website. Note, however, that there are some names and parishes missing from this particular database. Nevertheless it can be useful. There is also the askaboutireland.ie site which is more accurate. However, neither of these two databases use a standardised spelling of surnames, so a name can easily be missed. Askaboutireland, in particular, are "exact match" searches so, for example, if you want to search for Archibalds in Co. Londonderry you will have search for the following spellings - Archibald and Archbold. Also, because of the way in which these online databases are created, it is often difficult to get a clear idea of the distribution of a particular name within a county. I decided a number of years ago to create my own databases of the Griffith' Valuation c.1860. Originally I created two databases:
I have now added a third database. This database covers parts of Co. Tyrone, mainly in the northern and middle part of the county covering the Baronies of Strabane and Dungannon Upper plus parts of Omagh and Dungannon Baronies. [33,927 entries]. This material was produced for a course relating to the Sperrins - for more details on this course and the material produced, click on the Sperrins link in the right-hand menu.
Note that only the Excel versions of these databases are available on the Valuation Records wepage. If you want the PDF versions you will find them on the Databases compiled from 19th Century Census Substitutes webpage.
Remember that these databases are simply indexes to names and places within the printed valuation books. If the exact same name appears a number of times in a townland it is only included once in the database. You will have to look at the actual books for more detail on each person named in a townland or street, or indeed if there is more than one John Houston listed in the townland or street. The actual pages relating to a street or townland will tell you whether the person was a landholder or a cottier, how much land he or she held and where the property was located within the townland or street. Note also that the same person could be holding land in more than one townland or street. All of this information will usually help you decide if the two or three John Houstons listed in a townland or street are three different people or in fact the same person. The printed volumes can be accessed at PRONI, Belfast, or at public libraries, or, free on the Internet at askaboutireland.ie [Griffith's Valuation]. The latter is probably the best option.
Note also that the entries within both the Excel and PDF versions of each database are sorted by standardised surname, barony, parish and townland or street. There are also columns in each database indicating the Poor Law Union and DED in which each townland was located. The DEDs given in the databases are those which were listed in the c.1860 printed books. In most cases these are the same DEDs that are used in the 1901 and 1911 Censuses, thus making it easier to compare the census and the valuation. However, there is one exception. In Co. Londonderry the DEDs given for the City of Londonderry and the Waterside are changed after the County Council Act of 1898. In the City the Wards were changed and on the Waterside the DEDs of Waterside and Glendermot were renamed Waterside Urban and Waterside Rural. For more information on this go to the Administrative Divisions webpage.
The key feature of this style of database is that it will be easier, particularly in the Excel version, to identify where particular surnames are concentrated within the general area covered by the two databases. Also the Excel version will allow you filter out particular baronies, parishes, etc. Once you have this information you can then go to askaboutireland.ie [Griffith's Valuation] for detailed information on a person or a townland.
Despite my best efforts it is unlikely that my databases will be 100% accurate.
Note that I also databased the landlord or landlords of each townland in North & Mid Antrim and Co. Londonderry. This means that if you are researching a particular townland within the area covered by this website you will be able to search for the other townlands in the wider area that belong to that landlord. It is not uncommon for tenants to move to another townland within an estate. Note that these two databases do not include farmers who let houses to cottiers.
Copyright 2015 W. Macafee.