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Family tree enthusiasts receive historic gift as part of PRONI centenary celebrations

The Annual Revision List for the Belfast Dock Ward between 1906 and 1915 (VAL/12/B/43/B/18).

The Annual Revision List for the Belfast Dock Ward between 1906 and 1915 (VAL/12/B/43/B/18).

Family tree enthusiasts at home and abroad have received an unexpected birthday gift after more than three million searchable names were made available to mark the centenary of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).

Approximately 3.2 million name indexes, relating to valuation records for the period 1864 to 1933, are now free to access thanks to an innovative partnership between PRONI and high-profile genealogy online platform Ancestry.

The exciting development, which will benefit genealogists across Northern Ireland, the island of Ireland and wider Irish diaspora, is a key component of PRONI’s 100-year anniversary dating back to its establishment in June 1923.

Acting Director of PRONI, David Huddleston hailed the release of searchable names by the Public Record Office as an “invaluable substitute” for pre-1901 census records which were destroyed in the Four Courts fire during the Irish Civil War in June 1922.

He added: “The new data set of searchable name indexes will also provide a rich genealogical source for those interested in tracing their ancestors.

“The indexes represent a major enhancement to existing digitized records that have been available on the PRONI website, but which were previously only searchable by geographic location.

“We have been delighted to work with Ancestry to make these indexes freely available to local communities and the wider Irish diaspora.”

Rhona Murray, Senior Content Acquisition Manager of Ancestry, said:

“Ancestry is excited to be involved in making the Valuation Revision Books 1864-1933 searchable by name for the first time, building on the previous imaging work done by PRONI.

“The Valuation Revision Books are an invaluable census substitute for those looking to trace their Northern Ireland roots and will act as an alternative source to the missing 19th Century Census for the area.

“With the valuation revisions of property conducted annually, the documents record a change in ownership of the land, which may be indicative of land being passed down from one generation to the next as a result of a death in the family, or perhaps land being sold as people emigrate, helping to build stories and pinpoint major events in a person’s family tree.

“The indexes and images are freely available on the Ancestry website in celebration of the centenary of the creation of PRONI.”

Release of 3.2 million searchable names is part of PRONI’s year-long centenary celebrations which run until March 2024.

Northern Ireland, Valuation Revision Books, 1864-1933 can be accessed at:

Access to the collection is free however researchers will need to register on Ancestry using a free registered guest account.


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