British Isles DNA by County

Irish Land and Estate Records 

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Content by
Linda Jonas 2006

Land Records

Ireland Registry of Deeds - The Registry of Deeds was established in 1708, and the records continue to the present time. Registration of deeds was not required, so the collection of deeds and other materials is far from complete. A multitude of types of records are in the Registry of Deeds. Some of the types of records included in this collection are deeds, mortgages, sales of land, leases, releases, assignments, business agreements, marriage settlements, and wills involving land. See Chapter 8 "The Registry of Deeds" in John Grenham, Tracing Your Irish Ancestors for a good description of the Registry. Also see Chapter 7 "The Registry of Deeds for Genealogical Purposes" in Donal F Begley, Irish Genealogy: A Record Finder.

The wills recorded in the Registry of Deeds have been abstracted for 1708-1832 in P.B. Phair and E. Ellis, Abstracts of Wills at the Registry of Deeds (3 vols.) 941.5 S2e; volumes 1 & 2 of this index are on film 0896887.

Surname Index to Deeds - The Surname Index to grantors has surname and given name of grantor and surname of grantee. The location of the property is not given in the index prior to 1833. After 1833, the name of the county is given. The index is on microfilm through the Family History Library.

Place Name Index to Deeds - One of the most common uses of this index is to find the name of the landowner in a particular townland. This index is divided by county, then by initial letter of the townland. The index records the surnames of both parties. Even if you don't find your ancestor's name, you should review all deeds for the townland because it will give you a better picture of what was happening in the area, and you may find mention of your family in someone else's deed. The Place Name Index is on microfilm through the Family History Library.

Estate Records

Although the Registry of Deeds is an important source, the vast majority of leases, tenant lists, etc. were not recorded there but were retained in the estate records of the landowner. Estate records are the single best source for finding information about Irish families. You will need to find the name of the landowner first. A few ways of doing that are using Griffith's Valuation and by using the place name index to the Registry of Deeds, both discussed above. You can also use the Return of Owners of Land on One Acre and Upwards, 1876 on Family Tree Maker compact disc 275.

Once you know the landowner's name, consult Hayes, Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilization (discussed above) to locate the records. Also consult Public Record Office of Northern Ireland Guide to Landed Estate Records.

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Project Administrators:  Roy Keys and Linda Jonas