Ireland Land and Property

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Land records are a particularly valuable genealogical resource. These records may reveal where and when your ancestor lived and where they previously lived. Often, family relationships and information may be stated or inferred such as the names of spouses, children, heirs, other relatives, and neighbors. Additionally, the occupation and social status of your ancestor may be gleaned from these records. It is not uncommon to trace multi-generations in land records. Estate ownership and tenancy from one generation to another was an integral part of the Irish land system.[1]

Online Databases[edit | edit source]

Online Images

Online Resources

Registry of Deeds[edit | edit source]

After the accession to the throne of William III & Mary II (1689) control of land ownership by Roman Catholics was tightened. It is important historically to see this in the context of the time such measures were set. Ireland had been in turmoil since the beginning of the Cromwellian period in the 1640s. And although the country was generally much unsettled and there was much public anxiety, land ownership, whether by Protestants or Catholics, was an issue to only a tiny fraction of the population.

A system of registration of deeds began in 1708 and although it was not compulsory, it was generally held that the courts would be more favourable when issuing decrees and judgements where title had been registered. However, for those who were not wealthy enough to ever consider court proceedings the need to register was not an issue particularly as a fee was required. In addition to land deeds, marriage settlements, leases, mortgages, and wills involving the transfer of land are also found within the deed registrations. These records can be very helpful, especially for time periods prior to the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths.

The Registry of Deeds is located at:

  • Henrietta Street
  • Dublin 1
  • Ireland

For an excellent overview of records at the Registry of Deeds, see:

  • Begley, Donal F., ed. "The Registry of Deeds for Genealogical Purposes." In Irish Genealogy: A Record Finder. (Family History Library book 941.5 D27i.)
  • Grenham, John. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide. 3rd ed. Dublin, Ireland: Gill and Macmillan, 2006. (Family History Library book Ref 941.5 D27gj 2006.)

The deeds may be obtained by visiting (or mailing to) the Registry of Deeds in Ireland or by using microfilms or online records at the Family History Library or a Family History Center. These deeds and indexes are listed in the Family History Library's catalog under the following title:

Transcripts of memorials of deeds, conveyances and wills, 1708-1929 

Indexes for the Registry of Deeds[edit | edit source]

There are several indexes available to assist in finding the deeds you are interested in.

  • Indexes made by the Registry of Deeds. This set of indexes consists of a Grantor Index as well as a Land Index. The Grantor Index lists the Grantors and one or two of the Grantees. The grantors are those demising the property (selling, mortgaging, leasing etc.) and the grantees are those who are receiving property rights. The Grantor Index does not include all of the names contained in the memorial of the deed. The Land Index is a list memorials by each place (city, town or townland) which are arranged by county or barony. When the Registry of Deeds was established in 1708, memorials of the deeds were numerically assigned a number. Until the year 1832, there is no year in the grantor index to denote which memorials align with which year. Use the table below to determine the year of the event from the memorial number found in the index.
Year Memorial No. Year Memorial No. Year Memorial No. Year Memorial No. Year Memorial No.
1708 1 1733 50409 1758 126844 1783 234490 1808 405512
1709 374 1734 52948 1759 130618 1784 239259 1809 414034
1710 1070 1735 55535 1760 134355 1785 244364 1810 423260
1711 1926 1736 58041 1761 137761 1786 249255 1811 432995
1712 2768 1737 60768 1762 141305 1787 254454 1812 441899
1713 3766 1738 63162 1763 144945 1788 260116 1813 451113
1714 4935 1739 65906 1764 148922 1789 266221 1814 461003
1715 6126 1740 68393 1765 153653 1790 272621 1815 470166
1716 7336 1741 70947 1766 158296 1791 279229 1816 478191
1717 8865 1742 73630 1767 163500 1792 287009 1817 485883
1718 10757 1743 76147 1768 168744 1793 295396 1818 493695
1719 12915 1744 78676 1769 173713 1794 303185 1819 501441
1720 15270 1745 80929 1770 178991 1795 311177 1820 508717
1721 18046 1746 83068 1771 184290 1796 319103 1821 515020
1722 20304 1747 85403 1772 189327 1797 327783 1822 520896
1723 22912 1748 88034 1773 194195 1798 333212 1823 526573
1724 25702 1749 90771 1774 198733 1799 337550 1824 532593
1725 28390 1750 94261 1775 202855 1800 342980 1825 539182
1726 31316 1751 98168 1776 206752 1801 349705 1826 545748
1727 34297 1752 101353 1777 210522 1802 357276 1827 551949
1728 37233 1753 106140 1778 214408 1803 365048 1828 558549
1729 40166 1754 111150 1779 218257 1804 372665 1829 564602
1730 42925 1755 115700 1780 222072 1805 380858 1830 570728
1731 45533 1756 119510 1781 226204 1806 389283 1831 577001
1732 47916 1757 123171 1782 230321 1807 397471 1832 583046
  • Will Indexes for the Registry of Deeds. There are two indexes that provide the memorial index information for each testator whose will is contained in the registry. There are also indexes containing abstracts of each will in the registry. These can be found in the Family History Library Catalog by clicking on Wills in the Registry of Deeds. The three volumes are available in the Irish Manuscripts Commission out-of-print collection:
  • Online Index. Registry of Deeds Index Project Ireland has over 278,000 index entries from nearly 30,800 Memorials of Deeds in the registry and continues to grow. This is the only index where you can search for any person mentioned in a deed; no matter what a person’s role is in a memorial. Each index record gives the names of each person mentioned in the deed as well as any relationships that are stated. It also mentions the type of memorial, i.e. lease, marriage settlement, mortgage, etc. While it is not complete, it is a good place to begin a search of the deeds.

Estate Records[edit | edit source]

Estate records are a valuable set of property records to identify commoners in Ireland. Most Irish lived on large landed estates owned by a minority of the population. Landowners usually hired overseers to keep records of transactions involving their leases for families who were their tenants. Estate records vary in content and duration and may include deeds, leases, rent rolls, maps, correspondence, and account books, among other records. A brief explanation of estate records is found in "Land Records" in John Grenham, Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide.

There is the Landed Estates Database  It has family names, associated Family Names, Names of estate records, Archival sources.  The CONNACHT LANDED ESTATES PROJECT.  This has Maps of where the estates are located (Townland, Civil Parish, Barony, County, etc.) This is a valuable website for Estate records in Connacht Province.

To locate estate records you need to know the name of the estate owner. If you can locate your ancestor in Griffith's Primary Valuation, you may also find the name of the owner of the estate on which your ancestor lived.[1] A helpful Web site that explains what information is in Griffith's, searchable by place or surname, is found at Ask About Ireland

Estate Records of the Irish Famine is an important book detailing a significant period of intense emigration as a result of the devastating potato famine of the 1840's. The book is arranged by county and then alphabetically by surname of the proprietor of the estate. Each entry includes the time period of the records, what the records include (rentals, tenancy returns, lists of evicted tenants, maps, etc.), the repository where the records are held, and the archival reference numbers. FHL book 941.5 J73ea

Books[edit | edit source]

Estate owners often lived away from their estates. Some lived in England. Many of the records of owners living in England have been deposited in English archives. The following sources identify some estate records and where they are deposited:

  • Irish Manuscripts Commission. Analecta Hibernica. Dublin: Stationery Office, 1930-. (Family History Library book 941.5 B2ah.)

Grenham, John. "County Source Lists." InTracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide. Dublin, Ireland: Gill and Macmillan, 1992. (Family History Library book Ref 941.5 D27gj.)

The Family History Library's copies of estate records are listed in the Place Search of the catalog under the following headings:



Valuation Office Revision Books[edit | edit source]

For information on the records of the Valuation Office pertaining to land records, see Valuation Office Revision Books.

The FamilySearch catalog lists these records by electoral division. The District Electoral Divisions are the same as those used for the Ireland censuses. To find out the name of the electoral division for a townland, type the townland into the census search on the National Archives of Ireland website. The place under the column labeled DED is the electoral division used in the FamilySearch catalog.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Research outline: Ireland. Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2000.