Identify the townland

This guide was last updated in 2014

A townland is the smallest denomination of land in Ireland. The object of your search should be to identify the townland in which your ancestors were residing.

A collection of townlands formed a civil parish. Civil parishes acted as administrative divisions within a county. In order to identify the townland in which your ancestor originated, you may first need to identify the county and civil parish.

The 1891 UK census often recorded a county of birth in Ireland, but check all returns for this information. British Army service and pension records should state the civil parish of birth in Ireland. Even if your ancestor did not serve in the Army, you may find records for a brother or uncle who did.  

The 1901 and 1911 census of Ireland will also the county of birth in Ireland. Even if your ancestor emigrated, searching for their siblings or parents in the Irish census might give you some clues to their place of origin.

Irish ancestors (1800s)
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