Research your family history & local history

Local history and genealogy 

Some of the key primary sources available online and at the Local Studies Departments, Offaly Libraries.


Down Survey 1657, The Down survey of Irish lands, 1657, King's County, Sir William Petty

[Bound photostat of maps/manuscript of Down's Survey for King's County].  Contains Baronies and parishes of Ballyboy; Warrenstown; Coolestown; Phillipstown; Clonlisk; Ballicowen and Kilcoursey.  Includes an index of names, town names, parishes and the quantity of acres contained in each.  


The Civil Survey 1654-6: vol 10: miscellanea : prepared for publication with introductory notes by Robert C. Simington.  (Dublin,  Stationery Office for the Irish Manuscripts Commission, c1961)

Includes Baronies of Warrenstowne - Coolestown - Philipstown - Geashill - Ballycowan - Ballyboy - Clonliske - Ballybritt - Eglish - Garrycastle – Kilcoursey. (hardback)


Primary Valuation Books (Griffith’s Valuation)

The Union of Tullamore 1854, The Union of Edenderry 1853, The Union of Parsonstown 1854. (hardback) The Union of Mountmellick (The Baronies of Upper Phillipstown, Portnahinch, Tinnahinch).  The Barony of Roscrea (Clonlisk, Ballybritt) (photocopies).


The Composition Tithe Applotment Books 1823 - 1838

Microfilm with index.  The Tithe Applotment Books are a vital source for genealogical research for the pre-Famine period, given the loss of the 1821-51 Census records.


Census of Ireland

Census of Ireland: a census of Ireland circa 1659, with supplementary material from the Poll money ordinances (1660-1661), edited by Séamus Pender (Dublin, Stationery Office, 1939), (hardback). 

1813, 1821, 1831, 1841 (microfiche), 1851 (printed copy), 1861 (microfiche and printed copy), 1871, 1881 (microfiche), 1891 (printed copy) , 1901 (microfiche, microfilm, online), 1911 (microfilm and online),  1951/1961/1966/1971/1979/1981/1986/1991 (government publications).


Ordnance Survey

The Ordnance Survey was established in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, 1824 and assigned the task to delimit the 60,000 townlands in Ireland. This was completed in 1846 with a total of 1,906 sheets produced. The maps are a scale of six inches to one statute mile with supplementary large scale maps. Boundaries of counties, baronies, civil parishes and townlands defined.

Some useful publications for researching family and local history are listed below or check our online catalogue for other titles:


Tracing your Irish Ancestors, John Grenham (Gill & Macmillan, 2012)

This fourth edition of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors embraces online research as an essential part of any Irish family history project. Grenham includes detailed guides to Irish online records throughout the book, discussing the idiosyncrasies of the digital versions of sources and outlining research strategies.


How to trace your Irish Ancestors, Dr. Ian Maxwell (How to Books, 2008)

Highlights some of the important documentary evidence available to the family historians researching Irish ancestry. This title offers researchers what is available locally and online.


Tracing the past / William Nolan (Geography publication, 1982)

  • Good introduction to the study of local history.
  • Clear concise explanation of all major original sources and terms.


Irish Genealogy: a record finder / edited by Donal F. Begley (Heraldic Artists, c.1981)

  • Chapters devoted to: directories, census returns, newspapers etc.
  • Useful section ‘special report on surnames’.