Posted by Web Operations on March 16, 2011 in Content, Ireland

The Tithe Applotment Books 1823-1837 record the results of a unique land survey taken to determine the amount of tax payable by landholders to the Church of Ireland, the established church until 1869. They are known as the Tithe Applotment Books because the results of this land survey were originally compiled in nearly 2,000 hand-written books. This data set represents a virtual census for pre-Famine Ireland. Since it covers all of Ireland it is immensely important in terms of constructing, not just an image of a particular family line, but of wider social conditions in the country.

In the original enumeration, each landholder was recorded along with details such as townland, size of holding, land quality and types of crops. The amount of tithe payable by each landholder was based on all of these factors and calculated by a formula using the average price of wheat and oats from 1816-23. Most parishes had at least one tithe survey from 1820-38 while some had two or more. The results of each were carefully laid out in a large book prepared for the purpose, hence the title by which this archive is known to genealogists – the Tithe Applotment Books. Some parts of the country were exempt from paying tithe, among them glebe lands (land occupied by established clergymen), granges (land which in pre-Reformation times had belonged to a monastery) and all towns.

About this Database:

Information from the Tithe Books has been extracted and the names have been indexed in this data set. If you find an ancestor among the approximately 1 million entries listed, you will learn the following:

  • Name
  • County
  • Parish
  • Townland
  • Year of enumeration

The Tithe Applotment Books are not comprehensive and some parts of the country were not surveyed. It should not be assumed that these ‘exceptions’ from the tithe survey were due to parishes being overlooked since there are usually explanations as to why they were tithe-free. In some cases there are no tithe books because a certain parish did not exist, or was part of another parish, at the time of the survey. There were also some parishes outside parochial jurisdiction, such as the above-mentioned granges, while glebe lands and all towns were also exempt.

Search Tithe Applotment Books 1823-1837


  1. Karen

    Wow. Finally someone has put the rest of Ireland on a database pre famine years; thanks ancestry.

    This long overdue record should help many people gain an idea of where their Irish surname[s] comes from if they don’t already know a county. Although it doesn’t include everyone it does give a good indication on surnames locations and how popular they were then.

    For example one ancestor of mine was called Edmund Rowan. When I type in his name only two results come up [Edmund Roughan]Galway where my family were from and one form Limerick [Edmd Roughan]. Alternate searches find one more Edward Rowan from Waterford. The surname itself occurs in more counties but the first name is rare.I think someone looking for a county of Orgin could use such a clue to limit there search. In my case I wonder if the Edmund Roughan in Galway maybe related because the given name is in limited use? I do know this was not my relative.
    For anyone who knows a second surname in my case Rowan married a Broderick you can look for the second surname to reduce the area or interest in Ireland to look.

    Heedy is another surname in my family, only 20 results are generated[including Roscommon and Tipperary two counties given in UK Census ]for all Ireland. Does this mean the family may not have been living in Ireland for long, that Heedy may not be an Irish name at all?

    I think an article written on clues/general conclusions that might be drawn from this database would be helpful for researchers.

    Not everyone will find their Irish family in the database but as a research tool I think it offers clues that might just help break down a brickwall or two.

    Thanks again ancestry for adding it to your database.

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