We're halfway through the week and today's focus was the Valuation Office. The office is at the Irish Life Center where, until the end of September, the GRO was also located. The good (make that not rainy) weather ended today with heavy rain falling all morning so we were all a bit wet and windblown when we arrived. Helen Kelly, a professional genealogist here in Dublin and the Genealogy Butler for the Shelbourne Hotel, was waiting for us and after a short overview of the records got everyone going. This is one of my favorite research locations in Ireland. The Valuation Office holds the Revision Books for the Republic of Ireland. The books for Northern Ireland are located at PRONI and have recently been digitized.
After the last of the valuations were completed under Richard Griffith the process of updating began. Remember that although we sometimes refer to Griffith's Valuation as a census substitute, it's really a tax list, and therefore must be kept up to date. So the valuators would take the original manuscript books and every few years check them against the population to see if any changes had occurred. When a change occurred, they would cross out the old information and write in the new information. Since this process went on for a few years, each time they made revisions, they used a different color ink and dated the change in the far right column. By the time the book was full, you might have five or six different dates written in, but with the color coding, it was easy to see which change was effected on which date. When the book was full, the most recent information would be copied into a new book, the old book would be cancelled and the process would begin again.
Once you have located your family in Griffith's you can follow these books known as the revision or cancelled books into the 1970s. Even if your ancestors left Ireland before Griffith's was completed, you are likely to find family members still in the area.
When you see a change in the book, some type of event has occurred…a person died or possibly emigrated. This will give you a timeframe to look for a death certificate. If the surname remains the same someone else in the family took over the lease and the responsibility. If the name changed, it could have passed out of the family, but before you make that assumption you should check to see if it might have passed through a female line. Did one of the daughter marry a person whose name matches the new name in the book?
Some of these books have been microfilmed by the LDS, but the originals are much easier to use. Had the census records survived in Ireland, Griffith's would not be such an important part of our research. The field, house and tenure books I talked about yesterday will take you back in time prior to Griffith's…the Revision books take you forward in time allowing you to see who remained in Ireland and possibly find your Irish cousins.
If you missed the earlier blogs: