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Hi! This may be of interest to everyone, so I am posting this to all the
Donegal Lists as well :
The marriage and birth certificates of the time did not indicate which
house the people lived in - the place of birth was always given as the
townland where they were born or from.
There is a way to locate the house of your ancestor - I stumbled across
it years ago, while trying to do the same thing............to see on the
map the location of my ancestor's house.
To do it you will need to use the 1857 Griffith's Valuation, the General
Valuation Revision books and the 1901 census.
Start with the 1901 census and identify your ancestor's household.
View the General Valuation Revision book for that townland, starting
around the time of the 1901 census, until you find the name of the head
of your ancestor's household.
When you do find the name in the revision book, you will see all the
details of the land he holds - the plot number, his name, the landlord,
a description of the property (including buildings and amount of land)
and the year that the revision was made - ie, the year that there was a
change in the name of the landholder (sometimes the revision was because
of a change in the landlords name or a redistribution of land between
the tenants in the townland)
The plot number - or Lot number - or more correctly the numbers and
letters of reference in the left column of the entry - are the
numbers/letters which correspond to the Ordnance Survey maps.
Consulting an Ordnance Survey map marked with these numbers/letters next
to your ancestor's name will show you the exact location of your
The numbers/letters of reference to the map remains static - it is
mainly just the landholder's names that change.
What I have done with a number of townlands is to extract all the info
from the Revision books and put them in date order, leading up to the
1901 census, then I have added a link to the 1901 census. An example is
for Drumsallagh townland in Gartan parish -
It may sound complicated, but its not really.
The Revision Books are on microfilm and can be ordered through any LDS
Centre - see
These Revision Books build on the 1857 Griffith's Valuation and once you
have those numbers/letters of reference to the map, you can view the
1857 Valuation and corresponding map online at
(note - you will first have to enter the name of the landholder whose
name appears with the numbers/letters of reference in the 1857 Valuation
to do the search, along with the townland and parish names)
The 1901 Census is online at http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/search/
Anyway, I hope this helps!
All the best,
Donegal Genealogy Resources
On 12/06/2010 8:37 a.m., Susan Marshall wrote:
> So can I presume from your answer regarding the house numbers that there is no definate way to confirm precisely which house our ancesters were living in the the census returns, and that they have not been recorded on maps of the time.
> So I guess that the only way of confirming addresses is through the marriage and birth certificates of the time.
I am researching IRWIN in Donegal. Having recovered from the excitement of finding interesting new info on the 1901 census (and a day early thanks to you lovely listers!!), I am now back on my quest to go "back the way".
My IRWIN family farmed at Garshooey in Donegal (between Newtoncunningham and Londonderry) and worshipped at Crossroads Presbyterian Church - which has fabulous online records. We have also visited the area many times. I have had lots of help on the Roulston side of the family but I am a bit stuck with the Irwins!
My earliest record is George Irwin marrying Martha Maxwell at Crossroads Church in 1825. I assume this was Martha's Church. Three generations worshipped there until they left at the turn of the century. Some relatives headed to Scotland after partition (my husbands great grandfather), others to different parts of the USA (found two more following that census info!!), and one to Australia.
How do I go back from George Irwin and Martha Maxwell? I haven't asked a genealogist to get the marriage cert yet - as I got the next generation one and all it told me was where they lived , that they could write, and that they were over 21!!
Does anyone have any suggestions? I don't really want to pay someone to do this _ I want to do it myself! We know from a family member who died a few years ago that the Irwins originated in Scotland and went to Ireland with Cromwell, so I am keen to find the missing links!!
The experience on your list is vast - would welcome any advice, and thanks again for the tip off re 1901 - it got me on the trail again!!!
(in very Bonny Scotland)
Its early! Its the morning of the 3rd here, which means that for the
rest of you, its still the 2nd............but National Archives of
Ireland has the 1901 cesus for Ireland up and running already!
To search it (and the 1911 census) go to
Looks to be a few teething probs, so we'll have to be
patient.................the first places I looked at were Stramore and
Drumsallagh in Gartan parish as they are a couple of my family
townlands, but Stramore is 'Stranmore' and Drumsallagh is 'Drumisallagh'!
Don't think I'm going to get anything done today.............except look
at the 1901 census online!
All the best,
Donegal Genealogy Resources