Good Genealogy in Griffith’s Valuation

Old Galway

Map of walled city of Galway, Ireland of 1651.

After last week, I decided I was going to take a Blake-break for at least a week, so I could focus on other lines. I think this will help me to come back to it later with a refreshed (but still tired) set of eyes. The timing was very convenient, because in my Irish 201 class this week, the focus was on using Griffith’s Valuation. I’ve learned that since there aren’t census records in Ireland prior to 1901, we must use other sources to fill in the gaps. Griffith’s Valuation is one of these, and it was a valuation of all taxable property in Ireland, compiled between 1847 and 1864. My Blake ancestors came to the US around 1834, so they would not be found in it. My Lindsay ancestors, however, came to the US in the 1880’s, so hopefully I would find them in there.

Using Ancestry.com, I was able to find that George Lindsay (my Third-great-grandfather) occupied land leased to him by Robert Gordon in Ballymacashen, Killinchy Parish, County Down. I then checked AskAboutIreland.ie, and was able to find that this valuation was taken in 1863. There was also a map image that I could use to see where the lot # referenced on the valuation was on the map. I compared that to Google Earth, and found what I believe to be his property! The valuation says it was roughly 41 acres, and also that George leased a small portion of the property to Archibald McIlveen.

This was a great find! It helped me to pinpoint the exact location they were from, and gave me an idea of the size of land they lived on. But then I noticed something I’d overlooked in the midst of my excitement: the records listed him as George McLindsay instead of George Lindsay! Could this be someone else conveniently named George and having “Lindsay” as part of his surname, living in the exact townland I had believed him to be from, but not be the same person?

There were no other Lindsays or McLindsays in all of Killinchy Parish, so this must be him, I reasoned. Maybe since his middle name was Mathew, they mistook him writing George M. Lindsay for George McLindsay? Or could my Lindsay ancestors actually have been McLindsays? Other records I’ve found through Ancestry.com referred to him as Lindsay. Sharon Carmack, my instructor in the Irish 201 class, said that ‘Mc’ and ‘O’ were sometimes used randomly. It could be the actual name, it could be because he was trying to distinguish himself from another George in the area, etc. So perhaps this is my ancestor after all! From now on I will make sure to search for both Lindsay & McLindsay in my research just in case.

Another potential find on the same page of the valuation in Ballymacashen was a man named William Jackson. This could potentially be George’s father-in-law. George married Alice Jackson (my Third-great-grandmother), whose father was William Jackson. I have no confirmation that this is him, but a potential lead? I also found that many Lindsay’s were found on the valuation in neighboring towns, so hopefully I’ll eventually come to find that they may be related to my ancestors. That’s all from me for now—I hope everyone has a great week!


Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Brian Parotto of Hampshire, Ill.


Here are some of the tools Brian is using to launch his genealogy education. Check them out:

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