Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Irish Landowners and Voting Rights

PRONI FreeHolders' Records
FreeHolder  Record - James Morris
If your Irish ancestor owned land, or leased land you may find information on him in freeholders' records.  These records were kept as early as 1727 for Protestant landowners.  After 1793, Catholic landowners were also extended the right to vote.  Family historians may wish to research these records that were generated by voter and landowner activities. 

What Are Freeholders' Records?
A freeholder was a man who owned his land outright or who held it by lease.  These landowners gained voting privileges creating Freeholders' records.  The best description of these records are on the PRONI website. Following is a quick recap/extract of the website posting:
Freeholders' records are held within the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).  The PRONI freeholders project indexed and digitized approximately "5,500 sheets from pre-1840 Registers and Poll Books." These Freeholders' Registers and Poll Books are often used to substitute records lost in the 1922 Dublin fire.
These records hold land ownership information to include the name and address of the freeholder.  The researcher may also uncover a description of the freehold and its value.  If leased, name and address of the landlord may also be provided.   From a genealogical standpoint, the researcher may verify the occupation and religion of a freeholder ancestor.

The website specifies that some of the records are in their original form, while others are transcripts or manuscripts.
Freeholder Records can be searched by name and address.  Visit the PRONI FreeHolder's Record webpage to begin your search.

Kathleen Brandt
a3genealogy@gmail.com

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