The new townland explorer may be used to show a list of all the town within any Superintendents Registrar’s District, more usually referred to as Registration Districts. Civil records are indexed by Registration districts and these appear in the original National GRO BMD Index books and also the various online copies of the BMD Index.
The Civil Registration Districts were generally based on the area covered by the Poor Law Union of the same name and based in a larger market towns. Initially there were 130 Poor Law Unions setup, although several were later created, e.g. Newport from Westport (later merged back into Westport), and others merged into adjacent districts – e.g. Gortin into Strabane & Omagh. Several registration Districts covered areas in more than one county, e.g. Athlone, Rathdown, Youghal, Cootehill etc. The list of towns included can be useful in understanding the area covered by each district.
The townland explorer can also be used to establish the Registration District for an individual townland or town – enter part of the townland or town name in the search field, using wildcards as required. The results can be narrowed down by filtering using the county dropdown.
- Open the New Townland Explorer page, and tick the ‘Towns Only’ check-box
2. Select the Registration District or Poor Law Union from the dropdown list (type the first letter to skip to the correct part of the list)
3. The towns included in the district or PLU are shown grouped by county, barony and civil parish.
4. The same process may be used to show a list of towns in a selected county or barony.
To search within civil parishes it’s best to narrow down the list by first selecting a county, PLU, barony or combination of these. The civil parish list automatically updates to show only the included parishes.
Once any selection is made of county, PLU, Barony or Civil Parish, clear the ‘Towns Only’ check box to also show a more detailed list by civil parish, each of which may be expanded to show townlands, and towns included.
Further reading :
Ireland: civil registration districts from Irish Genealogy Toolkit (includes a map of districts)
Map of Poor Law Unions (Registration Districts) from John Grenham