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An Index to Griffith’s Valuation, 1848-1864 information compiled by Heritage World Family History Services and provided to Broderbund Software by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. $59.99 plus $3.50 p&h.

Griffith’s Valuation, or the Primary Valuation of Ireland, was carried out between 1848 and 1864 to determine the amount of tax each person should pay towards the support of the poor within the poor law union. The Valuation is arranged by county, barony, poor law union, civil parish and townland. It lists the majority of landholders and householders in Ireland at the time, not all householders as the promotional literature states. These records have become a major substitute for the non-surviving census records.

This index has taken over three years to compile by Heritage World Family History Services in Northern Ireland. The index itself provides the full name of the householder and his county, parish, and townland of residence. The promotional literature states that the items omitted from the index - names of baronies and poor law unions, acreage, valuation and description of the property, are interesting but do little to advance the research. This is not true for in Irish research it is important to know the barony and poor law union in which the ancestor lived because of the way Irish records are organized. The CD does include any marginal notes in the original records such as occupation, name of dwelling, skills associated with the individual or religious affiliation. Also missing from the index is the name of the person from whom the householders leased their property.

The index itself is easy to use. The software provides the standard Broderbund interface. A search can be made on any surname followed by Christian name. For example, a search for William Canny produces seven options. These options can all be tagged for printing. The printout provides county, parish and location which can all be utilized for further research.

A test was made using a printed copy of Griffith’s Valuation for Aghadoe parish in County Kerry. All the descriptors (occupations, father’s name, etc.) in the printout were included in the comments field of the index, as were specific addresses such as the names of the property of the Earl of Kenmare.

The introduction on the disc needs to be read for the background material on Griffith’s Valuation. Unfortunately there is some repetitive material in the introduction, especially with the promotion of the Heritage World Family History Services in Northern Ireland. The search instructions do provide some important search guidelines, especially for names with Mac, M’, Mc, O’, etc.

The instructions say that a search can be made on the name, county, parish, location or comment fields. Unfortunately, the software itself only allows a search on the name field. E-mail correspondence with Broderbund technical support has not resolved this discrepancy.

For those doing nineteenth century Irish research this is a very valuable index.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.3, 1998

UPDATE: The review above stated that the instructions say that a search can be made on the name, county, parish, location or comment fields. This is partially true, but there are no instructions on how to do this. With Family Tree Viewer, version 3.02, searching can only be done on the surname. With version 4.0 and higher you select the “search expert” dialogue box, and choose “search this archive for someone not from your family file.” This provides a dialog box with five blank fields allowing you to search by name, county, parish, location and comments. This process allows you to get beyond surnames to more complex searches, which is especially useful when searching for common surnames.

The test comparison that I performed was good. However, reports are starting to appear in the genealogical press, and be mentioned by other researchers that errors are occurring. Some have found complete townlands missing, or entered under an incorrect spelling making them unfindable to other researchers. Typing errors have been found.

The net effect is that this is still a great tool to speed up one’s search. However as with all indexes the results should be treated with caution and the originals should be examined.

Update by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v. 5 no.4, 1998