The Primary or Griffith’s Valuation,
1848-64...

In contrast to the First Valuation, the 1848–64 valuation gives a complete list of occupiers of land, tenements and houses.

This Primary Valuation of Ireland, better known as Griffith’s Valuation after the Commissioner of Valuation, Sir Richard Griffith, is arranged by county, within counties by Poor Law Union division, and within Unions by parish.

It includes the following information:

  • the name of the townland;
  • the name of the householder or leaseholder;
  • the name of the person from whom the property was leased;
  • a description of the property;
  • its acreage; and finally
  • the valuation of the land and buildings.

In some townlands where two or more individuals of the same name appear some attempt will have been made to distinguish between them. Sometimes this will be done by adding the first name of the father in brackets after the name of the lessee. On other occasions it will be some obvious attribute of the lessee.

Griffith’s Valuation is of particular interest to anyone wishing to trace their family tree, due to the fact that so little of the nineteenth century census returns has survived. It is available in manuscript form at PRONI (VAL/2B). A bound and printed summary version is available on the shelves of the Public Search Room, PRONI, and at major libraries.

These volumes are arranged by Poor Law Union within counties, and then into parishes and townlands. There is an index at the front of each volume which enables searchers to identify the page or pages in which a specific townland may be found.

The Householders’ Index can be used as a guide to the surnames listed in the Griffith’s Valuation. The valuer’s annotated set of Ordnance Survey maps showing the location of every property is available at PRONI (VAL/2A). These enable a researcher to identify the exact location of the house in which an ancestor may have lived. An index to Griffith’s Valuation for all of Ireland is available on CD-ROM from Irish World in Coalisland, County Tyrone.

Valuation revision books, from c.1864

The manuscript valuation books were updated on a regular basis and these books up to c.1930 are available under PRONI reference VAL/12B.

The so-called ‘cancelled books’ consist of manuscript notebooks kept by the valuation office and updated to take account of changes in tenure. When a change of occupancy occurred, the name of the lessee or householder was crossed off and the new owner’s name written above it, while the year was noted on the right-hand side of the page.

Different-coloured ink was often used to differentiate between years with a key at the start of each book to indicate which colour went with each year.

The years in which changes in occupancy took place help to establish significant dates in family history, such as dates of death, sale or emigration. On rare occasions there can even be a comment to the effect that a family had emigrated or that an individual had died. Changes in the valuation of buildings can indicate when a new house was built or when the existing one was abandoned.

By the early years of the twentieth century most of the occupiers of land had become landowners, thanks to a series of land purchase acts. This explains the initials L.A.P. (Land Act Purchase) that may be found stamped on an entry in the revision lists. The corresponding maps are also available under reference VAL/12D. Later valuation revision books are now available in PRONI up to the 1990s.

The PRONI references for the different valuations for Newry parish are as follows:

County Down

First Valuation, 1830s

VAL/1B/365, /389

Tenement Valuation, c.1861-2

VAL/2B/3/69A-K

Valuation Revisions, c.1864-1929

VAL/12B/16/3A-E, /22/7A-F, /
14A-L, /16A-C, /17A-C, /19A-F

County Armagh

First Valuation, 1830s

VAL 1B/232, /234, /246A-E, /248

Tenement Valuation, c.1864

VAL 2B/2/39A-C

Valuation Revisions, c.1864-1929

VAL 12B/10/33A-D, /15/1A-H, /
17A-C, /18A-D, /22/16A-C