If your ancestor was living in Ireland in the mid-19th century, but you don’t know their townland or parish address, the first place to start searching for them is in Griffith’s Valuation, a nationwide survey of property that recorded the occupier and owner of land for tax purposes. Most valuations for Ulster were completed in the late-1850s and early-1860s and the recorded occupier was the head of the household at the time of the valuation. Griffith’s Valuation is freely available online at askaboutireland.ie/ griffith-valuation. The valuation will record a description of the property and the name of the occupier’s landlord.
Occupancy of the property in the six counties of Northern Ireland can be traced forward using the Valuation Revision Books, which are published online by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland ( PRONI) ( www.proni.gov.uk/index/ search_the_ archives/val12b.htm).
This is a useful way to establish when the head of the household emigrated or died. Following up with a death certificate should tell you when that individual was born. The revision books for the remaining three counties of Ulster are not online, but can be accessed in the Valuation Office in Dublin.