Census Substitutes, Irish Records

Tithe Applotment Books Online: Location Errors

duty_callsIt’s wonderful to have online access to The Tithe Applotment Books, but there are some issues. The problems are described by Dr. Paul MacCotter, in a post that carries the rather ominous title “The Tithe Applotment Books Online: a health warning,” and are also addressed by John Grenham (“Problems with the Tithe Books”).

I have to agree with Grenham that “mistranscriptions are the price we have to pay for the convenience of researching online.” Whether it’s the Irish Tithe Applotment Books, the U.S. federal census returns, or the Ontario civil registration records, there will be transcription errors. And the National Archives does provide an online “Report errrors in transcription” function for names (for surnames and forenames, that is, not for place-names).

But the misplacing of townland entries, or, in this case, of an entire parish, strikes me as a more serious issue.

If you go to Browse the County of Cavan, you are presented with a list of Parishes in Cavan. You will not find the parish of Kilmore in this list, and that is because the townland entries for the parish of Kilmore, Co. Cavan have been mistakenly indexed as townlands for the parish of Kilmore, Co. Mayo (which county does have its own parish of Kilmore).

Here is a listing for Denis (here “Dens”) Galligan, townland of Lougharonog, parish of Kilmore, County of Mayo (which should be County of Cavan):

galligan denis tithe applotment listing

And here is the page to which the above listing links:

galligan denis tithe applotment book

So this is not good. But it’s not even as bad as it could be. In this case, we clearly see “PARISH OF KILMORE, DIOCESE OF KILMORE, AND COUNTY OF CAVAN” across the top of the two pages. But many of the books do not have that sort of heading at the top, do not have any identification of the county or the parish on the individual pages, so that, if a townland has been misplaced, the error may not be obvious to the family history researcher.

The National Archives has a notice about location errors:

Errors with regard to location of parishes in counties will also be rectified as soon as possible. Notification of these can be emailed to tab@nationalarchives.ie

So I sent them an email about the Kilmore confusion. Which is why I now feel like a geek in front of a computer who can’t go to bed because someone is wrong on the Internet. (But I do think it’s worth an email to point out such an egregious error, in the hope that someone might make the correction).

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