Friday, 30 October 2015

Review of Discover Irish Land Records book

Following on from Claire Santry's review of my book Discover Irish Land Records in July (, I've had another great review from an Irish based genealogist, Nicola Morris, this time in this month's Who Do You Think You Are? magazine (Nov 2015).

After a brief introduction Nicola notes that the book "starts with a detailed history of the ownership of land in Ireland. Paton's perspective is that of an Ulsterman, with more focus on the plantation of Ulster... and the 1798 Rebellion than pre-famine subdivision of land and the founding principles of the land league." 

She adds that "...he transports the reader through Ireland's history with ease and includes a detailed explanation of the Irish land divisions that will aid anyone researching their Irish roots. In the absence of other genealogical sources, land records are employed to document the earliest generations of an Irish family."

In summary she notes that "Paton has written a comprehensive account of the records available for the north and the south of Ireland, from the 16th to the 20th century".

The book itself can be purchased in the UK from Yorkshire based My History at for £7.50 plus p&p. If you live in Australia, the book is accessible from Gould Genealogy at for AU$17 (inc GST). Whilst not online as yet, I have been told that it should be available soon from Global Genealogy in Canada (

An ebook version of the title is also available from Genealogy eBooks at, priced at AU$9.95

The contents are as follows:

- Acknowledgements

Chapter 1. A troubled history
- Gaels, Vikings and Old English
- The Plantation of Ulster
- Wars of the Three Kingdoms
- Rebellion, union and rebellion
- Land reform
- The partitioned island

Chapter 2. Boundaries and administration
- Provinces and counties
- Baronies and civil parishes
- Religious parishes and dioceses
- Townlands
- Manors and demenses
- Boroughs
- Poor Law Unions and DEDs
- Registration districts
- Measurements

Chapter 3. Where were they?
- Vital records
- Decennial census records (1901-1911)
- Decennial census records (1821-1851)
- Earlier censuses
- Directories
- Electoral records
- Newspapers

Chapter 4. Tenancy, ownership and valuation
- Estate records
- Leases
- Rental records
- Quit rents and ground rents
- Estate maps
- Probate records
- Land registration
- The Down Survey of Ireland
- Tithe records
- Valuation records

Chapter 5. A sense of place
- Irish Historic Towns Atlas
- Ordnance Survey maps
- Ordnance Survey Memoirs
- Gazetteers, journals and parish histories

Useful addresses
Further reading

I'm currently working on a second edition of one of my first Unlock the Past Scottish based books, and then hoping to turn to another new Irish title in due course - watch this space!

In the meantime, you can also check my Books section for details on how to access copies of my Irish titles, Irish Family History Resources Online (2nd edition), published by Unlock the Past out earlier this year, and the heftier Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet, published by pen and Sword in 2013.


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit My Pinterest account is at

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