Five sources are usually sufficient far the family history of the average Catholic in the 19th century -the church records, the clvil BMDs, the 1901 census, and two property surveys.

The church records comprise records of baptisms, which can be taken as occurring wthin a few days of birth, and marriages. Their importance stems from the fact that (apart from non-Catholic marriages) civil registraton of BMD dates from 1864 in Ireland. The church did not keep death or burial records. Gravestones offer a partial substitute, but very few people had gravestones and those surviving today represent less than 1% of the population. Newspapers, especally in the first half of the century, also had little interest in the average (i.e. poor, non-professional) Catholics.

The 1901 census is the earliest census to survive in Ireland, as earlier ones perished in various flres. It is useful as a quick check on ages, occupatons and the native county af people on the move. It is the first port of call when trying to find out if some of an emigrant's family remained at home.

The first of the two property surveys mentioned is known as the 'Tithe Applotment'. It was an assessment of arable land values for a church tax known as a Tithe. There is a book for every civil parish, most dated between 1825 and 1835. Hence their usual abbrevation TABs. Note that only land is included in this survey; houses are not. One must therefore not expect to find town property in this survey, and must not take the absence of a name as the absence of a person of that name from an area, unless they already know he was a farmer.

The second survey, known as 'Griffith's Valuation' (GV), belongs to the years immediately after 1850. It sought to value every house and piece of land as a basis for a property tax known in Ireland as a 'Rate'. It is more comprehensive than the first, in that it covers every rateable house as well as every farm.

On to The Family.

Last revision: 2/28/97

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