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Research at the Registry of Deeds


Nora Galvin at the Valuation Office

   Today's the day…I've been on the road since about 9:30 this morning with a flight from Sarasota to JFK and then on to Dublin.  Unfortunately, my layover at JFK is about 8 hours!  The nice thing is that Aer Lingus now leaves from the JetBlue terminal, and if you have to be at JFK, that's the terminal to be in.  Free wireless access and good restaurants.   Watch for my daily blogs while I'm in Ireland.

   Today I have a guest blogger.  Nora Galvin, a professional genealogist in Connecticut, is President of the Connecticut Professional Genealogists Council.  Nora was part of  the 2012 Research Trip to Dublin and this year traveled to England and back to Ireland to continue her research.  She will be writing an article on her experiences at the Registry of Deeds for The Septs, but here is a preview.  Thanks, Nora.



   I went to Dublin last October with the group led by Donna Moughty. It was a valuable experience, and I learned to do research at the four main repositories—the National Library, the National Archives, the Valuation Office, and even the Registry of Deeds which most other group members skipped. It turned out that the Registry of Deeds gave me some good leads.

   As with most Irish families, the one I was researching had a handful of common given names—Matthew, James, John and Maurice, with a couple of Thomases thrown into the mix. Griffith’s Valuation and the Tithe Applotment offer only hints of relationships. Church records help to recreate nuclear families, but are not especially helpful in generational relationships. Though Roman Catholics could not own property, they did lease property, and the particular ancestors I was researching had their lease agreements entered into the land records.

   I spent three days combing through Registry indexes and “memorials,” the documents copied into record books that gave the details of leases. I found a fantastic lease agreement from 1859 that explained the transfer of certain rights starting in 1791—nearly 70 years previously. This document cited five previous agreements that began with the original lessee, who was the 1859 lessor and at least 90 years old, and named two sons, and one grandson, plus the wife of the grandson and their year of marriage. This couple happened to be my great-great-grandparents, identified by online-Irish baptismal records and the US death record of their son, my great-grandfather. So, in one document I found the marriage year of my great-greats (5 years earlier than I thought) AND went back two generations in the male line. I will now be able to look at other records and do some more reconstruction of the families living in this small townland. 

   The moral of the story is even if you think your ancestors were dirt-poor and did not own anything, it is possible they leased land. You just might discover your family in the Irish land records. [The full story of this research discovery will be published in The Septs in 2014.]

Nora Galvin, Bridgeport CT  (descendant of 9 immigrants from Ireland)

© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2018