Last week I discussed Griffith’s Valuation. From the end of Griffith’s Valuation (1864) until the mid to latter part of the 20th century, annual valuations of the land were conducted, and the changes were marked in books referred to as the Revision Books. When a change occurred, it was noted in a different color of ink, and although some of these books have been microfilmed viewing the originals at the Valuation Office in Dublin (or PRONI in Belfast) allows you to see the changes more clearly. When a change occurred it is a clue to look for some type of event...possibly a death or emigration. If the property stayed within the same surname, you will be led to civil registration, the 1901 and 1911 censuses or possibly the Registry of Deeds as many tenants purchased their property at the end of the 19th or early 20th century.
If you’ve found your ancestor in Griffith’s, you have the information you need to search the Revision Books. In the parish of Rossinver in the Barony of Rosclogher in County Leitrim, the townland of Laghta, number 29 is Matthew Mackey. Using that information at the Valuation Office, I received a stack of books to review with all of the changes from the original valuation. (See a picture of the books from my visit last summer to the Valuation Office here.) The books were bound from oldest to newest, so starting at the back of the first book I find the townland of Laghta and look for number 29 which is still Matthew Mackey. Moving to the next section I find that Matthew’s name is crossed out and above it is written James. Following that line across to the last column, I find that change was made in 70. Checking the civil registration records I find the death record for Matthew on 9 Mar 1870.
As I continue through the books I find that James Mackey purchased the land through the Land Acts (L.A.P.), the property moved to George Mackey and was sold out of the family to Miss Marion Horan. In the final book that dates to the 1970s the property was in the possession of Patrick McGowan.
As mentioned above, some of these books have been microfilmed and are available through the Family History Centers. To find out if your ancestors records are on film, follow the directions in the FamilySearch Wiki. If they’re not there, I guess you’ll just have to visit Ireland <g>.