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Helen Kelly

   The research trip to Ireland next October will be supported by a number of local Irish genealogists to assist you with your research.  Over the next few weeks, I'll add the biographies of those with whom you'll be working.  I've also asked them to provide some information on one of the repositories. 

Helen Kelly

    Helen Kelly is a well-known Irish genealogist, and has been involved in research and consultation since the late 1980s. She has been a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI)since 1995,and is currently their President. 

   She carries out Irish family history research on behalf of clients, lectures on the subject frequently, and is also one of a team of consultant genealogists at the National Archives in Dublin. For the past four years she has been genealogist-in-residence at Dublin’s historical Shelbourne Hotel. 

    Helen travels widely in the course of her work and lectures frequently on Irish genealogy in Ireland, England, North and South America. She has also broadcast on the subject on radio and television in Ireland, England and North America. In her work as a genealogy advisory consultant she has been to the fore-front in encouraging the descendants of Irish emigrants to re-connect with their Irish heritage


   One of the most wonderful records available in Ireland is the land/property record known as Griffith Primary Valuation. It is the result of a major survey published for the entire island of Ireland between 1847 and 1864 – but at a different date for each location. It records tenants as well as owners or lessors of property.  Apart from city dwellers – who are poorly represented – Griffith’s records most heads of household in Ireland in the relevant period.  

   Griffith’s Primary Valuation is not an end in itself, as surveyors returned to every property every few years, in order to update names of tenants, lessors etc.  The subsequent surveys continued in 26  counties until the 1970s and are available at Dublin’s Valuation Office in sources known as Revision Books.

   The Revision Books for the 26 counties are of immense value to family historians, as, in conjunction with Griffith’s Primary Valuation, they extend almost from the period of the great famine to relatively modern times. 

   The ultimate experience for those who have already established the precise birth place of their Irish born ancestor is to visit the ancestral homestead. Griffith’s and the Revision Books are the essential bridges that connect individuals to the landscape that cradled and nurtured their ancestors, thus bringing them to a much deeper understanding of their personal culture and heritage. 

   So, in advance of a planned visit to the Valuation Office in Dublin, it is essential that family historians have identified the precise Irish birth place of their immigrant ancestor.

© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2017