Tuesday, July 11, 2017

An Introduction to the Irish Tithe Applotment Books

One record that has survived for Irish researchers to take advantage of are the Tithe Applotment Books. What are the tithe applotment books?  They are records of those people who were Catholic and occupied a piece of land for agriculture over one acre. They wanted a record so they could charge Catholics a title for the Church of Ireland. It was a tax for not being a member of the established church. While it was a very discriminatory practice, today we are grateful to the establishment for this record if not for the actual tax.

The Tithe Applotment Book can help to replace some of the records that would have ben included in the censuses from 1821-1851. They were compiled between 1823 and 1837. They only record agricultural land and not city dwellers and only the head of household but they can be quite useful. 

They record the townland, civil parish and the amount of land occupied. It is very useful to have the exact townland of your ancestor to take full advantage of the information available. All of these fields can be searched, and there is also a browse facility, which allows users to survey entire parishes and townlands.

The population of Ireland was recorded in 1841 as 8.2 million. It would have been somewhat less than this during the 1820s and 1830s, when the Tithe Applotment Books were compiled.

The books for Northern Ireland are in the held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, but there are microfilm copies in the National Archives which can be consulted in our Reading Room.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Placing your ancestors in historic context

Recently, as I was working on my son-in-law's genealogy  something triggered me to wonder about historic context. He had an ancestor who emigrated to Canada in 1757. The battle for the Plains of Abraham took place in 1759. The majority of French Canadian ancestors came to Quebec in the 17th century. I was surprised that this man came so late.

It made me wonder if perhaps he was a soldier sent by the King of France to defend the colony from the rising English threat. I looked at the record of his marriage which took place in 1757 and sure enough, he was listed as a soldier. 

Obviously, I would have found this out eventually when I went to look for his marriage but because I am aware of French Canadian history, it made sense to me that he might be a soldier. This will work for any genealogy in any time period or place. If you familiarize yourself with the history of the town, state, country or even world in which your ancestor lived, you will be able to recognize tips and hints that may help you to find out more about them. 

If you know that there was a famine or an economic downswing, you will recognize what may have triggered your ancestor to emigrate. Some of these are the Irish famine, Russian programs and religious persecution in England and France just to name a few. Rest assured, if you learn the history, lights will go on for you too.