Historic Irish place names seem to be one of our major hurdles in our Irish research. Often we are stuck there because so many records depend on the correct geography. I was researching out families in Dirraw and neighboring Mullans townlands in Finvoy Parish, County Antrim. My target family was back and forth in both townlands.
I knew this was my area of concern because of what I had found in the Irish marriage registers, Griffith’s Primary Valuation and my United States research. None of this was in question. Online at Ballymoneyancestry I found a 1790 Election record for the family in Mullans. Great, I thought. There must be a lease agreement filed somewhere in the Registry of Deeds prior to 1790.
Registry of Deeds Lands Index
There was no difficulty finding deeds for Mullans Townland, however, the manuscript Lands Index (or County Indexes) for the period around 1790 was nothing short of a nightmare. I found almost nothing in my search for Dirraw. There in lay my problem.
Concerning Mullans, historically, it was divided into Long Mullans and Broad Mullans and sometimes I found it simply as Mullans. Dirraw was non-existent to the point it made me wonder.
Townlands in a Deed Grouped Geographically
I began to solve this deed problem by looking at all the transactions involving Mullans. Typical Irish deeds listed many townlands from various parts of Ireland in the same transaction However, multiple townlands were either grouped by parish or barony. There alongside the Mullans townlands was a Upper Derra or Dera and a Lower Derra or Dera. I had a modern road map showing townland names, so there was no question, the deeds grouped townlands geographically.
So in my search prior to 1840, my Dirraw was hiding under Derra or Dera. That’s what I needed to know. Now I can go back to the manuscript indexes under those spellings (Upper and Lower) to gather those transactions. However, as I suspect, I have by default already looked at most of them simply by the fact I already found the Mullans transactions.
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