Hard to believe I’ve been here two weeks already. Today the group visited the Valuation Office, one of my favorite places to research. As long as you have found someone in your family in Griffith’s, this provides an opportunity to follow the property through to, in some cases, the 1970s. Even if your ancestor emigrated prior to Griffith’s, it is likely that some family members remained in the area. I’ve written about using the Revision Books in a number of previous blogs, and if your ancestors are from Northern Ireland, the books have been digitized and are available online at the PRONI website. For ancestors in the Republic, however, you can only use the (original) books at the Valuation Office. Rather than take you through the process, if you’re not familiar with this resource, check out one of the blogs listed above.
You may be aware that some of these books were microfilmed by the LDS and may have looked at these films. During the process of microfilming, the color of the ink was lost. Why is this important? Each time the valuators went out to check the property them made notes in their books in different color inks. In most cases the date of the change is indicated in the comments section, but if multiple changes occurred, without the color cues, you can’t tell which year applies to which change. Also, as some of the researchers discovered today, sometimes the year isn’t written on the page, but there is a legend in the front of the book that explains the years associated with each color. All of this is lost on the microfilm.
The Valuation Office has begun the process of digitizing the books, but it’s unclear when they will be available online. This is a good thing, as the early books are over 150 years old and deteriorating rapidly due to all of the handling. The Valuation Office also has maps from the 1870s, but the original Ordnance Survey maps have been sent to the National Archives for safe keeping. They have been digitized, but only in black and white. I plan to check tomorrow to see if the original maps are available.