According to the Return of the Owners of Land of 1872, nobody in Ireland of my surname was, in 1872, the owner of one acre of land or more.
This is not exceptional. Most of the population of Ireland was in that position. In 1872, 98.7% of the population of Ireland owned no land at all. By 2006, this figure had fallen to 18%. (âLandâ?, in 2006, includes a residence).
In 1872 registration of ownership of land in Ireland was effected in the Registry of Deeds. This Registry commenced operation in 1707 and is currently located in part of the Kings Inns in Henrietta St., Dublin 7. The deed is brought to the Registry with a prÃ©cis called a memorial. The date and time of registration are stamped on the deed, which is returned to the registrant, and the memorial is retained with the details of registration being entered onto the register. There had been an earlier system of registration of title but it was not until the Local Registration of Title (Ireland) Act 1891 that the modern system appeared, intended to replace the registration of deeds system as a record of ownership of land.
Even yet it has not done that.
It is not expressed anywhere, but the reason for that is that it is intended to be so. After all, it took only four years to record the ownership of all the land in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in 1872. Neither the Registry of Deeds nor the Land Registry can now show what the Record of 1872 revealed. (The modern Act is the Registration of Title Act 1964).
It was not always thus.
In 1841 County Leitrim had 2.5 acres per person and a population of 155,297. The current population shows a fall of 83%.