An important database has come online. It is the 1901 version of the “Index to Townlands,” sometimes referred to as the “Townland Index.” It is now available on The Irish Genealogical Research Society website. I cannot tell you how long I have waited for either the 1901 or 1871 editions to come online. The reason is that unlike the standard 1851 Townland Index, the later ones list an extra category for the Electoral Division.
What is a District Electoral Division?
The Electoral Divisions, more properly termed District Electoral Divisions (DED) is a grouping of townlands within the Poor Law Union. If you have used the Griffith’s revision books to any extent, you know that aside from the Poor Law Union, you have to know the DED to access the massive microfilm collections through the Family History Library. The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland have placed their revision books online; with a place name index to townlands, erasing the need to know the DED. However, until these come online for the Republic of Ireland, the problem remains and you still need the DED.
Three Ways to Search the Database
This new database allows for three different searches:
- General townland search
- Townlands in specific Civil Parishes
- Townlands in specific District Electoral Divisions
All three are invaluable. For example, if you are using Griffith’s or the revision books, the townland names are meaningless without a map in front of your. Even if you know your townland name, you will no doubt be interesting in other families by the same name or in-laws in the same area. These searches allow you to group the townland names by DED. This narrows your search to a particular section of a civil parish or Poor Law Union.
I will be using this database over and over again. So thank you to the compilers Perry McIntyre and Terry Eakin from Australia for a job well done. A special thanks to The Irish Genealogical Research Society for being the host.
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