Land Owners in Ireland 1876 presents the returns from a count of land owners of one acre or more throughout the country. The process began in 1873 when the Local Government Board in Ireland decided to ascertain the number and names of land owners. Clerks from Poor Law Unions extracted lists of owners from the property valuation and rate books in their custody. The Local Government Board collected these returns, alphabetized the results, and published them under the title Return of Owners of Land of One Acre and Upwards, in the Several Counties, Counties of Cities, and Counties of Towns in Ireland.
The intent in creating this return was to show the following for each county in Ireland:
- “The number and names of owners of land of one acre and upwards, whether build upon or not; including lessees for terms exceeding 99 years, or with a right of perpetual renewal, with the acreage and net annual vaule of the property belonging to each owner as shown in the valuation lists.
- The number of onwers of land, wheather build upon or ot, of less than one acre, with the aggregate area and net annual value of such property.
- The estimated area of Waste Land.”
Having collected the names form all land owners of one acre or more, these collected returns represent a significant portion of the population. In fact, the list represents nearly 50% of all land owners. (There were 32,614 owners of land of one acre and 36,144 unnamed owners of less than one acre.)
The returns are organized by provinces (Leinster, Munster, Ulster, and Connaught), then by counties, and thereunder alphabetically by the name of the landowner, giving his address, the extent of his property (acreage), and its valuation. The work constitutes an official inventory of land ownership and is in effect an 1870s-style Domesday Book for Ireland.