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.

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