In 1824 as a result of the Composition Act all holders of arable ground (a large proportion of the rural population) were obliged to pay a tax or "tithe" in support of the established Church the Church of Ireland. This tax applied to all irrespective of whether the person was a member of that Church or not.
The Tithe Applotment Books, compiled between 1823 and 1838, are in the custody of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. In PRONI there are tithe books for all, save 31,of the 273 parishes then surveyed, in what is now Northern Ireland..
The books record the name of the tithe payer, the acreage of his farm and the amount of tithe paid. In effect, they may be regarded as equivalent to a census of agricultural holdings in the years before the Great Famine of 1845-9 and the massive emigration which accompanied it and, as such, have been found to be of great value in early 19th century Irish genealogical research.
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