Register of Deeds in County Donegal

Pdf MacIntyre, A. & MacDaid, R., A Copy of Register of Deeds in County Donegal. Donegal: 1935.
Size:†11.6M†bytesModified:† 6 May 2009, 17:11

A Copy of Register of Deeds in County Donegal was copied and typed by Miss R. McDaid, an assistant librarian under the supervision of the County Librarian , Mr. A. MacIntyre in 1935 following the discovery of the original in Lifford Courthouse, Co. Donegal. Listed alphabetically are the names on the deeds of freeholders in Co. Donegal in the 1760s and 1770s followed by more specific details including the date when the freeholder registered. The freeholder was a proprietor who held a piece of land and had the right to lease, rent or sell.

The names of the majority of the freeholders on the list have surnames with English and Scottish origins reflecting the transfer of ownership of land from the Catholic Gaelic Irish and Old English to British Protestant settler between the 16th and 17th centuries. After the defeat of a series of Gaelic rebellions in the 16th century culminating in Gaelic defeat at the Battle of Kinsale in 1602, the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell fled to the European Continent. From 1609 onwards Ulster was colonised by English and Scottish Protestant settlers.

Renewed Catholic rebellion in 1641 which saw thousands of Protestants massacred and was followed by years of warfare that culminated in Cromwell's punitive conquest of Ireland (1649-1653). Protestant Parliamentarian soldiers were rewarded with lands in Ireland where they settled with their families while the majority of Catholic landowners were banished to Connaught behind the natural barrier of the River Shannon. In the late 17th century the restoration of the Stuart monarchy led to the reign of the Catholic James I, brother of the late Anglican king, Charles II. The resulting war which saw the forces of William III victorious at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 spelled the end of the power of the Catholic gentry.

Land confiscations and the Penal Laws designed to persecute Catholics meant that by the mid 18th century the majority of the land in Ireland was owned by Protestant landowners. Much of Ulster was populated by a majority Protestant population and they were entitled to be freeholders. Most of their Catholic neighbours were banished to lowest rung of the social ladder, as tenant farmers and landless labourers. Some wealthy Gaelic and Old English families had managed to secure their lands by conversion to Protestantism, leaving behind their Catholicism and Gaelic heritage.

The Register of Deeds from the late 18th century Donegal is important because centuries of documented Irish history were tragically lost when the Public Record Office of Ireland was destroyed in an explosion during the Irish Civil War. Following Irish independence surviving records maintained by the British came into the hands of the Irish administration. Thereafter an examination of the contents of the vaults of Lifford Courthose uncovered the late 18th century register of deeds in County Donegal in 1933. Documents preserved from previous centuries are invaluable to the descendents of Irish emigrants seeking information about their ancestors.


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By felisha | 2013-11-05 15:42:50

Donegal Deeds

Trying to find inherited land of Otto Salsbery