Griffith's Valuation 1850
In 1826 a law was passed that allowed for a uniform valuation of property in all of Ireland. This meant that the same rules would be used all around the country to decide the value of property so that Grand Jury taxes and rates could be calculated and charged.
In 1848 the Valuation Office was set up and its director, Sir Richard Griffith, was responsible for carrying out the first all-Ireland valuation of property. The Valuation Office still exists today and you can find out more about it at www.valoff.ie.
What the Survey included
The valuation listed the householder's name, the address, the townland, the name of the person from whom the land was leased, a description of the property, the number of acres, and last but not least, the valuation of the property.
One somewhat amusing problem that the surveyors encountered was that many of the people in a particular area they were surveying had the same forename and surname! How were they to tell them apart What would you do if you had two (or more) Michael O' Reillys in the same area? Can you think of how you might get around this problem?
The surveyors used the first name of the father of the householders to differentiate between them. For example, Michael O' Reilly (Sean) is the son of Sean O' Reilly and Michael O' Reilly (Patrick) is the son of Patrick O' Reilly. Click on the image to see an example from a parish in Co. Mayo.
Where Are They Now?
Griffith's Valuation produced a lot of data and this was recorded in the surveyors' notebooks. These original notebooks are held at the Valuation Office. Local libraries often hold copies of local Griffith's ledgers.