Geo-Genealogy of Irish surnames

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

Irish Surnames Thumb

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, we wanted to share an interesting map called “Geo-Genealogy of Irish Surnames”. Some of you may remember it from the 2009 Esri International User Conference. This map won two awards in the Map Gallery Competition. It placed first in the “Most Unique” category, and it won the People’s Choice Award. In addition, it received special recognition by the Cartography Special Interest Group.

It was compiled by Dr. Kenneth Field, Principal Lecturer in Geographical Information Systems at Kingston University London, and Dr. Linda Beale a Research Fellow in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Imperial College London. These who have worked together on other maps in the past and we hope to see some of their work this summer at the 2010 Esri User Conference from July 12 to 16.

As you can see from the legend, this map shows the number of people in 1890 who had various Irish surnames. The larger the font, the more people who had that surname.

Irish Surnames Legend

The map reader can find the approximate location of the various families in Ireland back in the late 1800s.  For some surnames, there is more than one enclave.

Irish Surnames Close Up 1

The map has an index that you can use with the reference grid along the sides to find the location or locations of the surnames on the map.

Irish Surnames Locator

The map has some wonderful cartographic effects, including:

Irish Surnames Close Up 2

Overall, the map is eye-catching and well-executed — a great example of the beautiful cartographic effects you can achieve with ArcMap.  And a wonderful map to share with you today of all days!

Irish Surnames Whole Map

Thanks to Ken and Linda for sharing their map with us for this blog post!

About the author

Dr. Aileen Buckley has been making maps since she was an undergraduate student. She has a Bachelors in Geography and Spanish from Valparaiso University, a Masters in Geography from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in Geography from Oregon State University. She is a senior product engineer on the Living Atlas team, and her work focuses on determining and sharing best practices for mapping and analysis with modern GIS. She publishes and presents world-wide on many aspects of mapping and GIS. She is a co-author of Map Use: Reading, Analysis, Interpretation, and she is a co-editor for the Atlas of Oregon. Aileen is a former president of CaGIS (the U.S. cartographic association) and is actively involved with the International Cartographic Association in which she is the lead delegate for the United States.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Next Article

When are expert sources right for your story?

Read this article