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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2012-02 > 1328842069

Subject: Re: [S-I] 17th century Ulster records for Individuals on Montgomery,Hamilton, McDonald plantations
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2012 02:47:49 +0000 (UTC)
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> What I need are just plain
>Ledger entries recording who originally got land, why/when....Day 1 stuff.

>It probably doesn't exist.

If it was that easy, would we be here suffering? <grin>.

Generally, the earlier you go the worse the record keeping. Secondly, these things were not organized like now. It was hierachical. If you check the McDonnell deeds, you see there are handful made to his primary tenents. Wow, was this every disappointing to me. His tenants then rented smaller tracts to others, who might in turn have rented to other people. The names of the actual farmers and weavers (who farmed as well), etc, those were never in the McDonnell rent rolls or the names of his major tenants. Their rental records were in the hands of the guy they rented from, called the immediate lessee.

Some estates had a high degree of stratification and some only few middle men. It's impossible to come up with a list of all the people living somewhere at some time using land records. The smallest tenants, who rented 'at will', had no contract any more than a tenant at will has one today. Maybe a good administrator kept records but frankly there weren't very many good administrators and few survive if there were. You don't know who the immediate lessee was so you don't know whose records to try to find. You can't find them using a 'top down' methodology. that's why we do Irish estate research by identifying the townland of origin first, then we figure out who the immediate lessee was and what estate. Griffiths generally tells us that.

When the estates were broken up in the late 1800s, many landlords deposited land records. Where? Where ever they wanted. Some in PRONI. Some in the Irish National Archives in Dublin. Some took them back to England. They might be in a county library somewhere. Sometimes records burnt up with the big house. Some are still in the hands of the landlords.

The way one figures out who the immediate lessee was is to check Griffiths and then trace that man (and his landlord) back in time. Griffiths is NOT too late. Griffiths is important to us all. If you can't learn to use records in Ireland created after your ancestor left, you can't do very much Irish genealogy. Learning to use 19th century records to find 18th century Irishmen is a key skill.

Thinking otherwise means one thing: You haven't read the material on how to do Irish estate research. So you can't succeed because you make wrong assumptions like that Griffiths is 'too late'. The FHL has a great guide to Irish estate records. It's also explained in books like Betit's and also Falley.

Another place to check, that I forgot to mention, is the deeds. These are microfilmed and in the FHL. They're poorly indexed and generally very very hard to use. They're the last place you check. Sometimes tenants are mentioned, but it's a long shot.

The impossibility of using land records to id who was living some place is why we resort to muster lists and such.

Irish genealogy is done by:
1. Figuring out where the target lived. To do this you often use records made much later than your target lived. Don't matter, it's a fuzzy search. You use other clues you've found to identify a place to start. Maybe you have several places of interest.

2. Then you drill down, identifying ideally the townlands where the surname is found and research the parish and townland's history. This'll tell you what estate the townland was in.

3. Research estate records.

I was very depressed to be told in a class that with Irish genealogy you must spend a third of your time figuring out what records exist, a third trying to find the records you want, and only a third actually viewing these records. We want to spend 100% of our time looking at a record, ideally for 10 minutes before the information we seek pops out at us <grin>. Don't work that way.

Because Ireland and the rest of the UK and colonial America too were organized according to the feudal land system, the land records are very different from what we find in an American county courthouse. The same goes for tax records and a lot of other things. Because of the hierarchical structure of land tenure, there's no one place that got the name of everyone, probably. You might luck out. Of course you might go crazy first. For one estate in Tyrone , the FHL library had something like 150 films. None indexed. All hand written in an old script you can't read.

However we do need to understand the history of the estates from the top down, so you're thinking right there. PRONI probably has more on line than you want to read and long lists of the kinds of records it has. However I'd check the FHL too, but check Falley first.

Here's info on the Salter's Estate at PRONI

Google Irish Estate Records -- you'll find a lot of stuff.

When you learn how to do this you are ahead of the eight ball for your English and Scots research. I researched the history of the land where my Scots ancestors had lived in Polmont, Stirling. The area was part of a medieval church estate and then devolved to yet more Hamiltons. They still retain their estate records and refuse to let anyone view them. But at least I got this far thanks to Irish genealogy classes.

Linda Merle

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