Thursday, February 12, 2015

Irish Surnames = Irish Locations

Nothing is fool proof, but I have found this tool to be most helpful in locating 'where' in Ireland my ancestors lived. Ireland is a challenging country to do research in AND it is totally essential to be able to name the TOWNLAND where they lived. A townland is not the same as a township in other countries. A townland is the smallest legal land division in the world ranging from one acre to a hundred acres. And there are some sixty THOUSAND townlands! Oh yes, and just to help muddy the Irish waters, they re-used townland names ALLLLLL over the entire country. So it takes lots of work, and some luck, to find the correct one.

Having said all that, when Griffith's Primary Land Valuation was taken between 1848 and 1864 - there is a very good explanation of Griffith's here

Now I've told you all this, to tell you this. [hahaha] I have found good success by using link to help pinpoint at least the county where the surname was most common, including all the normal surname spelling variants. This works even more effectively if you happen to have two surnames you believe were from the same area ... such as two surnames who married in Ireland as there is a way to search for both surnames showing up in Griffith's in the same area. It can at least give you a chance of finding the correct county, barony, diocese, poor law union, and townland to begin your searches.

Anyway, it's FREE so give it a whirl. Even though my McNIECE family had left Ireland before Griffith's took place it's doubtful every single family member got on a ship. Any that show up give me a location to begin searching. I'm getting a headache just re-reading this!!! haha BUT it's such a rush when we finally do track them down we forget the headache and begin the Happy Dance!

Happy Searching from a toasty Manzanillo Mexico,

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