Townlands in Ireland
The townland is the smallest territorial division of civil administration. Townlands can provide a traceable address to the present day for our ancestors. Dating from medieval times or earlier, townlands were used to identify a small area of land at a local level. These divisions were later used as the basis for plantation grants in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and were considerably altered following subdivisions. The townland was used, not only for regular land transactions such as the imposition of rents, but also as the primary division in major land valuations, surveys and census such as the Tithe Applotment books and Griffith’s Valuation. Its significance now lies primarily in enabling the identification of small, localised rural areas. Parts of an individual townland may lie in different civil parishes and may also be, but not necessarily so, in different Roman Catholic parishes. The same townland names can be found in different parishes and counties, e.g. Newtown.