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Skibbereen circa 1900

Genealogy Service

Skibbereen Heritage Centre offers a genealogy service for the greater West Cork area. Using in-house databases and all available resources, including invaluable local knowledge, our genealogist will endeavour to help you with your family search.

The records that we examine include the Tithe Applotments, Griffith’s Valuation, 1901/1911 census records, Roman Catholic Church records (up to 1911) and many other miscellaneous sources including Loan Funds, Estate records, freely available online resources and the knowledge and expertise of local people.

To make a query please provide the following information to our genealogy email address and we will respond as soon as possible with information and fees:


In-person enquiries are also possible BY APPOINTMENT. Please ring or email our genealogy service in advance as it is not always be possible to accommodate a query at short notice.

Please note that, while we provide a service for those seeking their ancestry in this area, we do not have the resources to act as a general genealogical information centre to support those resources which are available online.

Records available to the Centre for research include:

The Tithe Applotment Books

Skibbereen Heritage Centre has database records of the Tithe Applotments Books for the parishes of Abbeystowry, Aghadown, Caheragh, Castlehaven, Clear Island, Creagh, Drinagh, Drimoleague, Kilcoe, Kilfuaghnabeg, Kilmacabea, Kilmoe, Myross, Schull and Tullagh.
The dates on these records vary parish to parish but start around 1825. You can search this database on our ‘Tithe Books’ database page.

Griffith’s Valuation

Sir Richard Griffith was an official who was given the task of putting a rateable valuation on every property in Ireland. First published for Cork in 1851, it lists the head of the household and valuation on the property.
Skibbereen Heritage Centre is pleased to present an index for Griffith’s Valuation, allowing a search to be made under name, townland, parish etc. This may also be accessed on line at www.failteromhat.com. This lists the name of the head of household only.
In addition, the full maps for Skibbereen town are available, with each building numbered and cross referenced to an index showing the owner or occupier.

1901 and 1911 census records

The 1901 census records details of people present in Ireland on Sunday night, the 31st of March 1901 while the 1911 records events of Sunday night, the 2nd of April 1911. Each household, ship, workhouse and dwelling place was included thus recording every man, woman and child alive in Ireland. The 1901 is the earliest census of Ireland available in its entirety, as the earlier records were either destroyed by the fire at the Public Record Office in 1922, or destroyed by order of the government. These records are now available online on the National Archives of Ireland website.

The Loan Funds

The Loan Funds were 19th century institutions that provided credit to the poor of Ireland. At their peak, in the years immediately prior to the Great Famine, up to 13 individual loan funds operated in the greater Skibbereen area putting £75,356 into circulation in the local economy over a 10 year period.

The loan records give details of the amount of the loan and the names of the guarantors. The follow up reports give an indication of how the Famine affected the poor of West Cork and are one of the few surviving records that offer information on who died and emigrated during this time.
Skibbereen Heritage Centre is delighted to provide a searchable database of the five local Loan Funds in West Cork where records survive. These previously unavailable ‘annals of the poor’ offer an insight into the circumstances of the ordinary people of West Cork prior to, and as a result of, the Great Famine.

See our ‘Loan Funds’ website for the transcribed loan funds’ records for Crookhaven, Schull, Creagh, Baltimore and Castletownshend.

Graveyard Surveys

Graveyards are very important places, both as a respectful resting place for our loved ones and as part of our valuable heritage. Older graveyards, even with the best efforts, erode over time and many of the older headstones become illegible. It is really important, therefore, to preserve the identity of those who are buried in these older graveyards, so that a permanent record exists alongside the vulnerable headstone.
West Cork has numerous old graveyards, many dating from the middle ages. With the support of the Heritage Council, a survey has been carried out of some of these old graveyards. The graveyards included in this survey were: Drimoleague, Drinagh, Creagh, Kilcoe (by the Castle) and the old Aughadown graveyard. Please see our ‘Graveyards Survey’ website for the searchable database.

Roman Catholic Church Records

For some years the Skibbereen Heritage Centre has been transcribing the Roman Catholic Church records for the greater Skibbereen area. We now have the baptism and marriage records for most parishes of the area up to 1911 as well as the burial records for Cape Clear island 1876 – 1911. Some of these records are now available online, however our database offers a longer date range, a much more efficient search as well as local knowledge on ‘pet names’ and the locality.

Estate Records

Thanks to the Donnelly family, the current owners of the former Wrixon-Becher estate at Creagh, Skibbereen Heritage Centre has transcribed the tenant records for this estate, making them available to the public for the first time.
The ‘Estate Records’ database contains information the tenants of the estate from 1803 to 1919. It covers 86 townlands in the greater Skibbereen area, with the majority from the Creagh and Tullagh parishes, including Sherkin and Cape Clear islands.
The tenancy records record the name and townland of the occupant, the tenancy dates, the amount of rent and how it was paid and any miscellaneous comments that are given. Some comments are ambiguous but all are transcribed for reference purposes but there is no additional information available other than what is included in the database.

Townland Database

A townland is the name given to the smallest officially-defined geographical area of land in Ireland and townland sizes varies considerably. Most genealogical records in Ireland refer to townlands when referring to a rural address. 

Skibbereen Heritage Centre has a database of the Townland and Street Names for much of West Cork. You can search this database on our ‘townland database’ page. The results will show the Alternative Name (AKA), Civil Parish, Poor Law Union (PLU), District Electoral Division (DED) and Notes associated with each townland or street.

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  Skibbereen Heritage Centre

  Old Gas Works, Upper Bridge Street, Skibbereen, Co. Cork, Ireland

   Telephone: (353) 28 40900    E-mail: info@skibbheritage.com