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Re: [Bann Valley] Registry of deeds

Hi Pauline,

I would agree with Alison regarding no easy ways to research the
Registry of Deeds.  This can be a treasure trove, though, so I'd
encourage you to tackle it!  If you don't have a unique name or a
townland, it can be difficult at best.  You may already know that
before about 1828 the index of names is only by Grantor.  The strategy
used by some when they're searching for people who left Ireland before
1828 is to look for the possibility that they disposed of property
prior to emigrating.  Margaret Dixon Falley, in her book Irish and
Scotch-Irish Research, gives an excellent example of this regarding
her Dixon family from the Bellaghy area.  It was while poring over her
information that I discovered her Dixon line is also one of my lines
at Ballymacombs and Ballynease townlands.

The other issue with the Registry of Deeds is that the Grantor only
index before 1828 does not tell you where in Ireland the property is.
So if you don't have a unique name, but have a very common name, this
would take forever to find if it's your people--and most often,
without knowing their townland, it would lead you on a wild goose
chase, as it were.

After 1828, there are indexes for Grantees as well, so that's a bit
more helpful--and they add in the area of the country--County, Barony,
Civil Parish, Townland--so you will need to know the Barony and Civil

In regards to the lands indexes, if you know the Barony or Civil
Parish, you can search that way for names.  A caution, however, these
indexes usually only list the last name of the first grantor and the
first grantee, not multiple grantors and multiple grantees--it will
say O'Neil & others to Wilson & others.  It's definitely worth looking
in the lands index, but it took me years of looking to finally find
the original deed of my Seawright family despite knowing the
townland--because I discovered, by looking at landlord's original
records in PRONI, that on the original deed there were four grantees
and the index only listed "to Fleming & others"--and I had/have no
clue as to who Fleming is/was.

I've given a tutorial for my genealogy group on researching in the
Registry of Deeds and the bits of gold you can find there.  I usually
suggest, if you know the townland of your people, that you go
backwards through the indexes from the date of their emigration, in
case they sold land right before going.

My best example of a find in the deeds is several generations of
Dixons and McCulloughs from Ballymacombs and Ballynease townlands.
Everytime a son married in these cases, the father gave all or part of
his farm to the son at marriage, so the entry said for instance, Wm.
McCullagh, farmer, gives to his son David McCullagh, of Ballynease, so
many acres.  I was able to trace the land back about 150 years by
comparing the townland, the number of acres, and the "lives" on the
deed in each lease renewal.

It's complicated, but well worth your time.

Best of luck!

~Linda S.

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