Historic events in Ireland have made researching Irish ancestry more difficult than many other countries. Occupied and governed by England until 1923, much of our records are either in English archives or have been destroyed either deliberately or accidentally
Ireland’s Policy to Publicise All Genealogy Records
That said; Ireland’s policy of placing all their genealogical records in the public domain is to be commended. There is no subscription to access any of these records belonging to the Irish State. Archived records, not already online – such as the Cancelled / Revision Books can be viewed FREE of charge in the records office.
I paid my first visit to the Valuation Office in the Irish Life Centre, Abbey Street, Dublin last week. It was a nightmare to get there with current road/rail works in the area and car parking is very expensive
Once inside the door all this changed, the staff were courteous and generously helpful, research space was comfortable, warm and spacious, other researchers present on the day were glad to offer research tips – it was a pleasure to spend a half day in the building
Archived Land & Property Records
It was an absolute honour and a privilege to handle documents and books, some of which are nearly 200 years old, hand written and contain the names of my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, back to the early 1800’s
Tips for Researching the Cancelled / Revision Books
- Allow at least 4 hours for a research visit
- Access is much easier if approached on public transport – bus, train, DART, Luas etc.
- Wear your clothing in layers that you can remove – the building can become quite warm
- Bring something to snack on if you get peckish – there’s a water fountain in the room
- Bring a camera and a tripod if you can, it can be setup on the desk above the ‘Book’ and with a remote shutter release, you can turn each page and photograph once you’ve got the setup right. At the very least bring your smart phone with a decent camera and storage space
- As with all genealogy research – begin with what you know, possibly the most recent book and work back to the earliest.
- Books come in Sets and are bound together but ensure you take a note of the legend for each book – this is vital to give dates
- Change of occupancy is often between relatives – note these changes and refer to your research
- Don’t expect to do it all in one sitting – that’s not possible as you need to go through each book meticulously for changes to establish continuity
The Cancelled / Revision Books are tedious to research, they are of little use for anyone just beginning genealogy! You should have much of your family research done before examining them – in these circumstances they are very rewarding
Pinpoint Your Ancestor
You can pinpoint your ancestor down to as little as a couple of perches of land or just a house. You can place them on the map, you can see who lives next door and remember our ancestors clustered both at home as well as if/when they emigrated
Copy the Legend
The Valuation Office Archive policy allows photography or copying the books. They can be scanned & printed (colour) for €1 each or you can photograph / scan them with your own equipment
The following is an example of a Revision Book Legend. When a house or land changed occupancy, the former occupant’s name had a line drawn through it and the new occupant was written above it in whatever colour was assigned to that year
Date Change of Occupancy
This legend is necessary to apply dates to any change of occupancy, this change may indicate – emigration, death, transfer through marriage and is the ‘flesh’ of genealogy research
There is a ‘Legend’ either in the front or the back of each book and several books may be bound together in chronological order
Readers who are unable to visit the archives in person need not despair, staff expect the remainder of these records to be digitised and available online within the next year. A cautionary note here though as this publication date has been somewhat fluid for the past couple of years.
The records will be published and FREE, that is definite – the date is questionable