Module Eight: Working with Valuation
Using Valuation Lists
In this module
you will learn about Valuation Lists, and how they can
be used to reconstruct a family.
there be a generation of children on the children of
- Irish Blessing
What is a Valuation List?
These books have been
microfilmed, and the films can be ordered from the LDS
Family History Libraries.
a House Book
House Books were books that recorded the size and quality of each house to determine its value. If you have found your ancestor in Griffith's Valuation, then you can check the House Book to see what kind of house they lived in.
James R. Reilly explains the details of these records in Richard Griffith and His Valuations of Ireland. The valuator "measured each house in the townland and recorded the data in a house book". Then "supplied with their house books, each valuator "having examined the building with care...is to enter in his book...the quality letter...which according to the tables determines the price". Reilly further explains that "houses were of three classes: new, medium, and old; within each class a house was assigned a quality letter that best described its state of repair, age and construction.
B+ Medium (not new) but in sound order, and good repair
B Medium, slightly decayed, but in good repair
B- Medium, deteriorated by age, and not in perfect repair
C+ Old, but in repair
C Old and out of repair
C- Old, and dilapidated, scarcely habitable
Each letter was further qualified with the number 1, 2, or 3:
1 Slated roof house of stone or brick with lime mortar
2 Thatched roof house of stone or brick with lime mortar
3 Thatched house of stone walls with mud mortar or mud walls of the best kind
4 Basement stories of slated
houses used as dwellings" (Reilly, J.R. (2000).
Richard Griffith and His Valuations of Ireland.
Baltimore, MD, Clearfield)
These books allow you to see how your ancestor paid for their dwelling, and their economic status. "An occupier of five acres or less was generally designated as a cottier or laborer. He held his house and land from year to year...Often the laborer paid his rent by working on the landlord's land at 5 or 6 pence a day rather than paying with hard cash. Five acres or less of inferior soil were rented to these occupiers to raise food for their families, since landlords were often unwilling to let good land to a laborer. An occupier holding between five and thirty acres was considered to be a small or medium farmer who usually paid his rent in cash. Small farmers requently rented from year to year, while medium farmers often had a lease for better quality land. An occupier who held thirty acres or more was a strong farmer or grazer of livestock who held a favorable lease on the land" (Reilly, 2000).
These records, as well as the House Books, Land Books, and Tenure Books can be ordered on microfilm at the LDS Family History Library for your parish.
The books continued and the
land was revalued every few years. If the previous
occupant no longer occupied the property, then their name
was crossed out, and the new occupier added. This can
often indicate the death or emigration of an ancestor, and
the land was often passed on to a wife or son. By
following a plot of land through the years, you can see
how the family changed. In addition, you can use the
property information to look up the current occupier
online. In my case, I was able to do this, and found a
fourth cousin, the descendent of my great-grandfather's
older brother, still on the land my great-grandfather left
in the 1850s.
1865 Valuation List, showing Jeffrey Carey's property passing to Bridget Carey, Richard Carey lined out due to emigration, and Patrick Carey's property also passing to Bridget Carey. Jeffrey and Richard had emigrated; it is assumed that Patrick died.
How Do You Find the Current Occupier?
If you know the lot number of the property, you can look up the current occupier at the Valuation Office. This may allow you to contact a distant cousin.
Assignment Two: Use the FamilySearch website to find the Library Catalog for your parish, and determine if House Books, Tenure Books, Land Books, and Valuation Lists are available for your parish.