Thanks to Noel from the Toowoomba & Darling Downs Family History message boards (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TDD_Family_History_Group/messages) for posting about the new online Griffith Valuation search engine at: http://www.askaboutireland.ie/griffith-valuation/index.xml
Not only does this let you search the GV across Ireland, it gives you a great deal of original information to build up the story of your family. A search by name, preferably combined with county, returns all the entries for that name. From the list provided you can choose one or all the options.
Clicking on the magnifying glass (details) gives you a typed summary: year of GV, lot number, map reference, townland, occupier and landlord.
Click on the “page” tab and you will see the typed list of names per townland, together with lot number, acreage, type of holding (house, land, outbuildings etc) and the value of buildings and land. You can see your ancestor’s neighbours, perhaps seeing how marriages were made across the townland, and you can ascertain the quality of the land to some extent (large plots with small values tend to suggest poorer land). You might also want to compare the residents of the townland at the time of the GV compared to those still resident at the 1901 census.
Now it gets interesting: click on map and you will see a pop-up window of the general region. This is the only weakness in the system….it will help if you have some idea where the townland is that you’re looking for, so doing a preliminary Google Maps search might help you with that. Because I was familiar with the area where my ancestors lived from prior research I had no difficulty finding what I was looking for. Other entries with which I was less familiar posed more of a challenge. Firstly click on the rectangles outlined in red…this will take you closer to the area you need. The little “house” icons are churches though I found that some weren’t showing on the map. It helps if you can pick out the general area you need before magnifiying the map more. From there you should be able to find the townland you’re looking for.
The maps you’re seeing here are the ones that were previously only available through the Lands Registry at Chancery St n Dublin at rather a lot of money -both for searching and reprints.
The next exciting step is to click on the “views” tab and repeat much of the process above. Why do this? Well this gives you the opportunity to see some truly great techo advantages and place your ancestral place into a modern environment.
Once you’ve located the right townland, identify the allotment number you need from the original info found at “Details” or “Page”. If you’re quick when you enlarge the page to see the area you’re interested in you’ll get a brief glimpse of a Google maps image for the area before “reverting” to the GV map. (Down in the bottom right corner you’ll see a small map icon with a standard Google maps image).
Go to the top right of the page to the bar which says “Map, Satellite, Hybrid”. If you click on either Satellite or Hybrid and then slide the bar beneath them along to the left, you will start to see the GV map underlaid with a current satellite image of the area, or the street map. Pretty cool I reckon! Not everywhere will give you fantastic detail if the satellite imagery isn’t fantastic own to a low altitude but for my Clare ones I can see how the hedge lines fit exactly over the allotment layout on the GV map!! Further enlarging the map will show you natural and historic features such as ring forts and dolmens. You will also see railway lines, canals and woods and on the modern satellite map, where current houses are situated.
I think this is an absolutely fabulous tool for family historians and I’m super excited by it!!
If you go back to the original search page you can choose to search by “place name search” rather than “family name search”. This lets you find out who is residing in neighbouring townlands to your ancestor’s, just in case there are more rellies hiding there.
For those with Clare ancestry there are a range of maps available for each parish at different historical times. Go to www.clarelibrary.ie click the genealogy tab, look at the bottom right for the parish index and click on the one you’re interested in. You will find which maps are available to bring up online. God Bless the Clare library.
Okay you’ve got the GV information and the maps, now you need to decipher what all those codes mean. The following article is available to help you expand your knowledge of the valuations. It really does make understandable and I strongly recommend it. Equally a book by the same author is absolutely fantastic for a more comprehensive understanding.
James Reilly’s book “Richard Griffith and his Valuations of Ireland : with, An inventory of the books of the General valuation of rateable property in Ireland, conducted under 9 & 10 Vict. c. 110 of 1846 and 15 & 16 Vict. C. 63 of 1852″ is available to borrow on inter-library loan through the National Library of Australia but is also now able to be read on Google books online. Check it out -you’ll find it’s worth the effort.
In a day or two I’ll post about how you can use LDS microfilms to follow your family between the GV and the 1901 census.