The Registry of deeds is located in the Kings Inns, Henrietta Street off Bolton Street, Dublin 7.
Telephone 00 353 (0)1 670 7500.
Website : Registry of Deeds
It is open from : Monday to Friday from 10 a. m. to 4.30 p. m.. The public may inspect the records on payment of ‚1 for each name for each period of ten years or part thereof.
The records in the Registry of Deeds are intact from 1708, none of the records have been either lost or destroyed. The records comprise: Memorials of Deeds, Transcripts which are copies of the memorial, Abstracts which are a summary of the memorial, Index of Grantors and Index of Lands (pre-1947).
The common law of England was introduced into Ireland by King John. Feudal law provided that the King was owner of all land, he made grants of land in return for services and duties renderable. These grantees in turn made grants of land to lesser people on similar terms. In course of time "secret deeds" were devised to transfer land outside the feudal system.
The Registry of Deeds was established from 1708 in order to facilitate people who wished to register their ownership of land and to outlaw the practice of "secret deeds". The Registration of Deeds Act 1707 stated its purpose as : " for securing purchasers, preventing forgeries and fraudulent gifts and conveyances of lands, tenements and hereditaments, which have been frequently practised in this kingdom, especially by Papists, to the great prejudice of the Protestant interest thereof."
The Deeds (documents) registered consisted of: conveyances of freehold property, Assignment of leases, mortgages, marriage settlements and wills. In 1832 an Act was passed which in practice limited registration to deeds affecting lands.
Wills provide much genealogical information: they often contain references to several members of a family, giving their names and relationships to the deceased person. Abstracts of Wills at the Registry of Deeds, Vol I (1708-45) and Vol II (1746-85) edited by P.B. Eustace and Vol III (1785-1832) edited by E. Ellis and P.B. Eustace have been published. These volumes have indexes to testators, beneficiaries, witnesses and placenames. To search for more recent wills reference should be made to the National Archives or the Public Records Office, Belfast.
The memorials of the deeds registered contain the following details: the date of the deed, conveyance or will, the names and addresses of all the parties, of all the witnesses and all the lands and their situation.
On registration of a Deed, which is returned to the solicitor at the time of registration, the memorial of the deed is retained, given a reference number and indexed in the Names Index and prior to 1947 in the Lands Index. In the Names Index the reference number to the memorial is indexed under the surname of the party or parties granting (the grantor) and shows the first grantee and from 1832 the county or city affected is listed. There is no alphabetical index to grantees. In the Lands Index the reference number to the memorial was indexed in volumes assigned to each county. The National Library of Ireland has microfilm copies of the indexes.
Prior to the Land Acts at the end of the nineteenth century most farms were held as yearly tenancies or short term leases and as such were considered not to come within the provisions of the Act, which exempted dwelling-houses for terms under twenty-one years from registration. Dwelling-houses were usually held under short term tenancies, it can be taken that records of transactions affecting such tenancies are unlikely to exist in the Registry of Deeds.
Given the nature of land ownership in Ireland after the penal times most of the genealogical information to be obtained would relate to plantation families.
After the index one will consult large parchment volumes. These volumes contain copies of the memorials of the transaction concerned, from which genealogical information can then be abstracted.
Registry of Deeds
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