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The Irish Townland - Origins
Land and Loss
The land we live in has been occupied for thousands of years. Our knowledge of the people who lived here before us is limited to relatively recent times and to few individuals. Those of whom we have knowledge exclude the great mass of the ordinary people who suffered great privation, loss of culture, land and language in the upheavals of the 16th and 17th and 18th centuries, and who perished in the frequent famines, culminating in the Great Famine of 1845-49. In the century following the Famine the population of Creggan Parish shrank from 13,600 to 5,300, and in Newtownhamilton Parish from 7,538 to 2,069.
Few records remain of the names of the generations of people who down through the centuries shaped the land we live in. Where we can preserve any trace we should strive to do so. Written records are scarce in Ireland, made more acute by the destruction of almost the complete national archive in the Four Courts in the early 1920s.
These pages draw on the material that is available. They record the occupants of the South Armagh townlands of the civil Parishes of Creggan and Newtownhamilton. It excludes the ten townlands of Upper Creggan situated in Co. Louth. The information available includes the towns of Crossmaglen and Newtownhamilton.
The sources of the information are -
The Third Revaluation (1975) did not identify property by townlands. Instead, it used the new Post Office system of road names and postcodes. It can therefore not be used to continue this series of household, land and property censuses. To get as close as possible to the present, the position in the townland at the date of the last recorded revision of the Second Revaluation is presented.
Although the documents, from which the information was extracted, were compiled for different purposes and use different criteria, they provide, in their own way, a regular snapshot of the house and land holders in the townlands through the centuries.
All of the sources are flawed to some degree. This is explained in the text.