Following the destruction of practically all of the 19th Century census records for Ireland in a fire in the Public Records Building in Dublin during the civil war in 1922, other records acquired a value and importance among family historians and genealogists that they would not otherwise have acquired if the household census of 1841 and 1851 had survived. One such collection of records that to some small extent, forms a census substitute is the Primary Valuation, otherwise known as the Griffith Valuation, called after Richard Griffith who was assigned the work of establishing it.
There were earlier valuation systems that were unsatisfactory, principally because there was no countrywide set of maps on which each farm boundary and acreage and the quality of the land could be accurately ascertained. This was made possible primarily by the establishing of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland. This work was assigned to The British Army Corps of Engineers, skilled and experienced in the creation of maps used by the British Army. Those men were members of an ordnance unit of the Engineers; thus the maps whey created were named "Ordnance Survey Maps". The survey was carried out in Clonrush parish between 1837 - 1839 and recorded in detail every notable feature in each townland. Following the publication of these maps in 1840, a boundary survey was carried out that defined the townland boundaries. A further survey was then conducted to establish the quality of the soil and subsoil in each townland or part of it and the results of this were recorded in the books called "the Field Books" which for Clonrush parish is dated 1844. A house survey was also carried out at this time, but this only describes 20 of the larger houses in Clonrush parish having a valuation of over £3.00. All of this work formed a basis to create what is known as the Primary, or Griffith Valuation of Ireland, which for Clonrush parish was published in print in 1855.
The Primary Valuation only lists the name of the person or householder responsible for paying the tax or rates. In some cases a labourer or servant would pay their dues in labour to the landlord and so the occupier's name may not be recorded. This was a period that was leading into and emerging from the famine years and house occupiers and their dwellings were changing rapidly. Many of the houses recorded on the Ordnance Survey maps some years previously had fallen into ruin, or were unoccupied as a result of death or emigration at that time. Revisions were necessary, and these were conducted at intervals from the initial survey in 1854 to the abolishment of the rates on houses in rural areas in the 1970s. The change of the householder's name from husband to wife or from father to son can sometimes indicate the year of death of the former householder, and this can be useful where the death wasn't recorded elsewhare. Widows in particular usually retained the status of householder until they died, though they may have a married son living with them.
The database here mentioned is a compilation of the successive names of householders in each identified house over this period of approximately 100 years. A sample area only is available for viewing on line here. This comprises the northern part of the village of Whitegate and adjoining area. The database for the entire parish of Clonrush and Mountshannon is available to buy on a CD for viewing on Computer. A CD player is not suitable for this as the CD contains clickable links. To view details on any particular house click on the house.
To view the sample Whitegate area click here To view the the Coose area click here
The CD listing the householders in Whitegate and Mountshannon from 1854 - 1954 may be purchased here at a cost of €13.00, postage included: