In the second Internet Resources post, we look at the only source of detailed information on where people lived in mid-nineteenth century Ireland, Griffith’s Valuation, which was compiled between 1847 and 1864.

A series of unfortunate events has led to the destruction of virtually all of our census information for Ireland in the 1800s; the National Archives note that the returns for 1861 and 1871 were destroyed soon after being taken, the 1881 and 1891 census information was pulped during World War One, and the vast majority of the 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851 data was lost in the Four Courts fire of 1922, a result of the first action of the Irish Civil War. This has left the 1901 and 1911 census returns, now published online, as our earliest source of comprehensive census information.

Thus it is to Griffith’s Valuation that we must turn if we are to find a resource that can be used as a tool for studying the Irish who would later serve in the American Civil War. Otherwise known as the Primary Valuation of Ireland, the work was carried out to ascertain the value of property in Ireland and was overseen by Richard Griffith, the Commissioner of Valuation. It contains a range of information that can be used for genealogical purposes. It is arranged by county, Poor Law Union, electoral parish, civil parish and townland. Each property listed also has a map reference number to correspond with the first-edition six-inch ordnance survey mapping, the name of the occupier, name of the person from whom the property was leased, a description of the property, its size and its value.

The Valuation has been placed online at the Ask About Ireland website and can be accessed here, where it is possible to search by family name or place name with options to select the barony, union or parish. It allows researchers to check for specific names to determine where families lived and what type of property they held or rented. Of course, many of the Irish who would eventually become involved in the American Civil War had left Ireland prior to the commencement of the Valuation, but it can nonetheless be of use in indicating if any family members remained in a locality subsequent to their relatives departure. The Valuation can also function as a tool to locate places that may be associated with well known individuals who served in the Civil War. If you have family who lived in Ireland during this period but subsequently emigrated to the United States, be sure to check out this resource as a first step to discover if there is any information on your ancestors.

References & Further Reading

National Archives of Ireland

National Library of Ireland

Ask About Ireland