Ireland has historically been divided into four provinces:
Connaught, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. County Leix/Laois is in the
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.
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.
CITIES AND TOWNS
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
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.
Ireland Genealogical Projects