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Irish Genealogy:  The Tithe Applotment

The Tithe was a tax on some agricultural land (one tenth of the produce) paid to support the Church of Ireland (Anglican) by occupiers of one acre or more.Some agricultural lands were exempted from the tax, so the list is not comprehensive.As you can imagine, this was not a popular tax among the Roman Catholic or even Presbyterian tenant farmers.The Tithe Composition Act in 1823, required that the tax, formerly paid “in kind” was required in cash.This required a survey or applotment, to determine the value of the land, and was conducted between 1823 and 1837.The survey was arranged by civil parish and townland and not all have survived.What does survive can be found in the National Archives in Dublin or the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) and most have been microfilmed.You can check the Family History Catalog by doing a place name search for the county, and selecting the Taxation category. Some of the volunteer websites for the various counties have transcribed the lists (Example from Corkaguiny Barony County Cork).The index to the lists is now also available at Ancestry.

While are not available for all counties, the Tithe Apploment Books (listing taxes due) may provide information on your family.If you identify your family in Griffith’s, it may be possible to find your ancestors in the Tithe Applotment which covers the time period of 1823-1837.These lists were done before the compilation of the standard townland Name Book, so be aware that the townland may be different from the one given in Griffiths.

The Tithe Applotment lists the name of the individual responsible for the tax, the quantity and quality of the land, and its valuation.Only the name is given, so in areas where a name is common it may be impossible to differentiate the individuals.If you have unique given names that have been passed down in your family, you may be able to identify a cluster of possible relatives.

What is referred to as the “Tithe Wars,” began as a nonviolent campaign of civil disobedience as individuals refused to pay the tithe.Beginning in 1831, lists of Tithe Defaulters were created and as attempts to collect the tithe were reinforced by use of the Constabulary, some of the clashes turned violent. Finally with the Rent Charge Act in 1838, the liability for the tithe was transferred from the occupier to the land owner, and tax was included in the rents paid to the landlords.The majority of the names in the Tithe Defaulters lists are from Kilkenny, Tipperary, Wexford, Cork and Waterford with less than 1000 names from Louth, Limerick, Laois, Carlow, Offaly and Kerry.The Tithe Defaulters database is available at Origins.net (subscription).

Happy Hunting!

© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2013