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Land Divisions

Civil Parishes
Church Parishes
Poor Law Unions
Superintendent Registrar's Districts
Electoral Divisions
Cities and Towns


Ireland has historically been divided into four provinces:  Connaught, Leinster, Munster and Ulster.  County Leix/Laois is in the Leinster Province.

The civil parish was an important administrative unit used for land and taxation purposes.  Many Irish records used in genealogy are arranged by civil parish, such as the Tithe Applotments.  There are 53 civil parishes in County Leix/Laois.  Eventually this website will have a webpage for each civil parish which will include links to all the town(land)s in the parish plus surname registries, available records, links etc for the parish.

Abbeyleix Clonenagh & Clonagheen Fossy or Timahoe Kyle Rosenallis
Aghaboe Cloydagh Glashare Lea Shrule
Aghmacart Coolbanagher Kilcolmanbane Monksgrange Skirk
Aharney Coolkerry Kilcolmanbrack Moyanna Sleaty
Ardea Curraclone Kildellig Offerlane St. John's
Attanagh Donaghmore Killabban Rathaspick Straboe
Ballyadams Durrow Killenny Rathdowney Stradbally
Ballyroan Dysartenos Killermogh Rathsaran Tankardstown
Bordwell Dysartgallen Killeshin Rearymore Tecolm
Borris Erke Kilmanman Rosconnell Timogue
Castlebrack   Kilteale   Tullomoy

Church parishes are not the same as civil parishes in Ireland.  The Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland have different parish boundaries.  While the Church of Ireland's parish boundaries are mostly the same as the civil parish boundaries, the RC parishes may include more than one civil parish  or just parts of civil parishes.  Over time all the boundaries have changed, so when looking for church records, you need to know which parish the town(land) belonged to.  The 1851 townland index, the 1837 Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Ireland are some of the tools you can use in this quest.  This website's townland pages are based on the 1851 townland index.  Each civil parish will have the Samuel Lewis description for extra help.  The records section of this website, gives the dates that the church records are available based on the church parish designation.

Church of Ireland and Catholic parishes are grouped into dioceses.  They have separate diocesan systems.  Some records prior to 1858 were under the jurisdiction of the diocese, such as wills and marriage licenses.

A barony is made up of several civil parishes or parts of civil parishes.  Barony boundaries cross county and civil parish boundaries.  One needs to know about them because some records, such as the Griffith's Valuation and the Registry of Deeds are arranged by barony.  There are 11 baronies in County Leix:  Ballyadams, Clandonagh, Clarmallagh, Cullenagh, Maryborough East, Maryborough West, Portnahinch, Slievemargy, Stradbally, Tinnahinch, and Upperwoods.

POOR LAW UNIONS (click here to go to the Leix Poor Law Unions)
Under the Poor Law Act of 1838, Ireland was divided into unions of townlands whose residents were responsible for the welfare of the poor of their area.  The name of the union was the same as the town where the workhouse for the poor was located.  The PLU crossed civil parish boundaries and was divided into electoral division.

Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths in Ireland are compiled by the Superintendent Registrar's Districts, also called the Registration District.  These districts in the 19th century had the same names and boundaries as the Poor Law Unions.  They were divided into local Registrar's Districts.

An electoral division is a neighborhood, some townlands, that are joined together for the purpose of electing its representative to the Poor Law Union Board of Guardians.  They were used in arranging Griffith's Valuation revision books.  They can be located from the 1871 and 1901 Townland Index but not in the 1851 townland index.  After 1921, major boundary changes were made, most occurred in Northern Ireland which has their own index which has been filmed by the LDS Family History Library.  These indexes can also be found at PRONI.

In Ireland towns are not townlands, and some towns can be found within one or more townlands.  Also, since 1921 so changes have occurred in city and town names.  Remember to use the old name of the town when looking at records from before 1921.

The townland is the smallest official geographical unit in Ireland.  It is not a town and it does not have it's own government.  It is a surveyed piece of ground that might not even have people living within its boundaries.  The size of townlands vary from a few acres to several thousand acres.  The townlands listed on the website are from the 1851 Townland Index and their location is in accordance with the index.

Other Ireland Territorial Divisions Information

Mary Ann Lubinsky, IGP Co. Leix/Laois Coordinator
If you have Co. Leix/Laois townland info that you
would like to contribute to this site, use below email.

2001-Present Ireland Genealogical Projects