Griffith Valuation (GV) online

Thanks to Noel from the Toowoomba & Darling Downs Family History message boards (  for posting about the new online Griffith Valuation search engine at:

Not only does this let you search the GV across Ireland, it gives you a great deal of original information to build up the story of your family. A search by name, preferably combined with county, returns all the entries for that name. From the list provided you can choose one or all the options.

Clicking on the magnifying glass (details) gives you a typed summary: year of GV, lot number, map reference, townland, occupier and landlord.

Click on the “page” tab and you will see the typed list of names per townland, together with lot number, acreage, type of holding (house, land, outbuildings etc) and the value of buildings and land. You can see your ancestor’s neighbours, perhaps seeing how marriages were made across the townland, and you can ascertain the quality of the land to some extent (large plots with small values tend to suggest poorer land). You might also want to compare the residents of the townland at the time of the GV compared to those still resident at the 1901 census.

Now it gets interesting: click on map and you will see a pop-up window of the general region. This is the only weakness in the system….it will help if you have some idea where the townland is that you’re looking for, so doing a preliminary Google Maps search might help you with that. Because I was familiar with the area where my ancestors lived from prior research I had no difficulty finding what I was looking for. Other entries with which I was less familiar posed more of a challenge. Firstly click on the rectangles outlined in red…this will take you closer to the area you need. The little “house” icons are churches though I found that some weren’t showing on the map. It helps if you can pick out the general area you need before magnifiying the map more. From there you should be able to find the townland you’re looking for.

The maps you’re seeing here are the ones that were previously only available through the Lands Registry at Chancery St n Dublin at rather a lot of money -both for searching and reprints.

The next exciting step is to click on the “views” tab and repeat much of the process above. Why do this? Well this gives you the opportunity to see some truly great techo advantages and place your ancestral place into a modern environment.

Once you’ve located the right townland, identify the allotment number you need from the original info found at “Details” or “Page”.  If you’re quick when you enlarge the page to see the area you’re interested in you’ll get a brief glimpse of a Google maps image for the area before “reverting” to the GV map.  (Down in the bottom right corner you’ll see a small map icon with a standard Google maps image).

Go to the top right of the page to the bar which says “Map, Satellite, Hybrid”. If you click on either Satellite or Hybrid and then slide the bar beneath them along to the left, you will start to see the GV map underlaid with a current satellite image of the area, or the street map. Pretty cool I reckon! Not everywhere will give you fantastic detail if the satellite imagery isn’t fantastic own to a low altitude but for my Clare ones I can see how the hedge lines fit exactly over the allotment layout on the GV map!!  Further enlarging the map will show you natural and historic features such as ring forts and dolmens.  You will also see railway lines, canals and woods and on the modern satellite map, where current houses are situated.

I think this is an absolutely fabulous tool for family historians and I’m super excited by it!!

If you go back to the original search page you can choose to search by “place name search” rather than “family name search”. This lets you find out who is residing in neighbouring townlands to your ancestor’s, just in case there are more rellies hiding there.

For those with Clare ancestry there are a range of maps available for each parish at different historical times. Go to click the genealogy tab, look at the bottom right for the parish index and click on the one you’re interested in. You will find which maps are available to bring up online. God Bless the Clare library.

Okay you’ve got the GV information and the maps, now you need to decipher what all those codes mean. The following article is available to help you expand your  knowledge of the valuations. It really does make understandable and I strongly recommend it. Equally a book by the same author is absolutely fantastic for a more comprehensive understanding.

James Reilly’s book “Richard Griffith and his Valuations of Ireland : with, An inventory of the books of the General valuation of rateable property in Ireland, conducted under 9 & 10 Vict. c. 110 of 1846 and 15 & 16 Vict. C. 63 of 1852” is available to borrow on inter-library loan through the National Library of Australia but is also now able to be read on Google books online. Check it out -you’ll find it’s worth the effort.

In a day or two I’ll post about how you can use LDS microfilms to follow your family between the GV and the 1901 census.

Happy hunting.

Chinese dragons, Chinese wedding in the Chinese Garden

The first clue that something different was to happen yesterday was the sight of the gardeners hand-picking leaves that littered the stones covering the garden beds of the Chinese Garden. A very zen-like activity which I was told preceded an afternoon wedding.

Late in the afternoon local office workers were distracted by an unusual sight: two Chinese dragons from the Chung Wah Society welcomed the a wedding group as they arrived for their wedding in the Chinese Gardens. Entering the Gardens through the circular gate and preceded by the dragons was no doubt a highly auspicious beginning to their marriage.

Despite the solemnity and importance of the wedding, the dragons acted like rather wayward children: fluttering their large eyelashes, flapping their whiskery chins and flopping to the ground rather like a tired feline. It’s a wonder the guests could concentrate on the important business of the day. The conclusion of the ceremony appeared to be marked by the dragons dancing in celebration. It also marked the return to work for those of us who had been greatly entertained by the event, with our spirits lifted and amused in preparation for the weekend.

This was also a reminder of Darwin’s strong Chinese heritage as evidenced by the Dragons entering parliament  each year or visiting businesses on Chinese New Year.

Missing McCorkindales -the family of Thomas Sim McCorkindale

My grandmother and most of her siblings emigrated to Australia early in the 20th century, after the death of her father. One brother remained behind however. His name was Thomas Sim McCorkindale (the Sim being his mother’s maiden name).

Thomas Sim McCorkindale married Jane Wilson McVey in Glasgow in 1910 and they then moved to London where Thomas had been working for a while as a carpenter/cabinet maker.  They had two children that I have identified: Elizabeth Y L McCorkindale born in 1911 and registered in the December quarter in the Barnet district. Their son, another Thomas Sim McCorkindale was born some years later in 1916 and registered in the Marylebone district. I can find no other likely children in the BDM searches.

Thomas served in WWI with the London Regiment. His discharge papers indicate he did not serve overseas and was discharged due to ill health. Family story is that he was Kitchener’s piper and was badly hurt and sent home “in cotton wool”. This is most likely rumour but on the other hand he was a A/Piper with the London Regiment and his brothers were all champion pipers in Australia on migration.

I have been trying to find Thomas senior for some years and recently bought death certificates for him and his son. Thomas Sim McCorkindale senior died, aged 78, on 24 December 1961 at the Memorial Hospital, Finchley. He was a retired carpenter and joiner, formerly of 13 Nether St, Finchley. (This appears to be the Dr French Memorial Home). His son was the informant and at the time Thomas jnr was living at 14 Norman Court, Hatfield Rd, Potters Bar. I have not yet found the death of Jane McCorkindale nee McVey.

Thomas Sim McCorkindale married Vera Doris Fox in 1942 and the marriage registered in the December quarter 1942 in the Barnet district. Vera’s death in 2001 was registered in Worthing. I have not managed to identify whether the couple had any children.

Thomas Sim McCorkindale jnr died at the Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath on 18 March, 2003. He was also a retired cabinet maker. He had been living at the Upper Mead retirement home, Fabians Lane, Henfield, West Sussex. He had been born on 22 December 1916 at St Marylebone, Westminster.  The informant was not a relation.

Elizabeth Y L McCorkindale married Leonard F Mellor in 1936 and the marriage was registered in the Barnet district in the December quarter. Because Mellor is not an unusual name I’ve had trouble finding the births of any children or the deaths of the couple.

The Question: Are there any descendants of these relations of mine still living in London (or elsewhere) or did this line die out? I’d really like to find an answer to this puzzle.

Question 2: Does anyone recognise the uniform Tom is wearing in the above photo which is likely to have been taken c1900-1910.

Limerick Board of Guardians Minute Books

If you have ancestors in the south-east corner of County Clare or Limerick, you may be interested to know that the Board of Guardians Minute Books for Limerick Union (which includes parts of Clare) are available online through the Limerick Archives at

While these are not searchable they provide a fascinating insight into the workings of those who “governed” the fate of the poor in the workhouses in particular. References are made to workhouse residents who are given funds to assist them to emigrate.

Some examples include:
Meeting 14 October 1848: Page 8: The subject of emigration for females was brought before the Board and the clerk was directed to furnish the Earl of Clare Chairman with a statement of facts as regards the steps already taken by this Board in reference to that subject.

Meeting 1 November 1848: Page 51: Chair Earl of Clare; Other Guardians incl W Bently: Page 55
The master reported that 5 male adult inmates and I female were sentenced at this session to transportation for 7 years for absconding from the workhouse with the clothing

Meeting 22 Nov 1848: Page 116: Letter read from M Reddington under Secretary Dublin Castle stating that the letter of Lord Clare Chairman of the Board applying for emigration of orphans from this workshouse was referred to the Poor Law Commissioners. Proposed by W Monsell MP  Seconded by D Cullen and resolved  unanimously that the Poor Law Comrs be urgently requested to accede to the request of the guardians in the emigration of the orphans from this workhouse and we beg to refer the Poor Law Comrs to our former minutes in this respect which we trust entitle us to a fair share of the emigration of orphans.

Meeting 29 Nov 1848: Page 138: In reference to the resolution of last Sat Patt and Mary Hassett attended the Board and Mr Mahony produced parcel left in his charge for them as executors of Bridget Hassett an inmate of the the workhouse which was opened by the Board and found to contain 2 bank pass books L51/13/1 with will 8c. It was resolved with the concurrence of the executors that arrangements be made by C Delmega and JW Mahony to bind the girl to a trade out of the workhouse out of the said sum of money.

Dec 1st, 1852: Page 156: From Catherine McNamara to state that having recd fm the Colonial Lands and Emigration Commissioners (CLEC) a certificate for a free passage  for herself and her son to proceed to her husband in NSW and being an inmate of the Limerick workhouse at the same time she retired from the union and proceeded to Cork for embarkation-that on arriving their both (?) She and her son were objected to as they had not the necessary clothing and outfit for the voyage and hoping that the Guardians will now provide the outfit for herself & son and thus rid the union of two inmates.
Commissioners consent to the request to give L3/4/0 to enable these parties to emigrate.

Although it can be slow reading each page, and making notes, it provides an interesting insight to the times especially around the Famine years.