Richard Griffith and His Valuations of Irelandby James R. Reilly. Published by Clearfield Company, 200 East Eager Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. 2000. viii, 108 pp. Illustrations, maps. $21.95 plus $3.50 p&h.
This is a fabulous tool for Irish researchers. Mr. Reilly puts a commonly used but underutilized research tool into its correct historical context. In this process he shows that there is much more to Griffith's Valuation than first meets the eye. There are in fact three valuations: The Townland Valuation Act of 1826; The Tenement Valuation Act of 1846; and the Tenement Valuation Act of 1852. The history, creation, content and practical value of the records created by each Act are well presented and illustrated.
After putting the records into their historical context Mr. Reilly explains how to analyze the valuation records to reveal usable genealogical information. Information relating to the economic condition of an ancestor, and perhaps, siblings, relatives and in-laws. How to learn about possible occupations, family relationships, how agnomens are used and how to interpret the absence of an ancestors name. Plus how to use information about the neighbors and land owners to lead to other genealogical records.
The book contains a number of appendices including: glossary of terms; list of published Ordnance Survey Memoirs; list of Valuation Field Books that contain names of occupiers; listing with definitions of administrative divisions; publication dates for the different valuations. The book concludes with a comprehensive inventory of Griffith's General Valuation arranged by county and poor law union showing the date of printing, the LDS film number and then a listing of depositories that have specific volumes.
Griffith's General Valuation is a resource used by beginning and experienced researchers, often without the understanding needed to properly utilize or interpret. Mr. Reilly has given us a guide to more effectively use this record. This book should be in every Irish research collection and should be read by everyone using Griffith's Valuations.
Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.3, 2000