Overlooked by many, maps can often be very useful to a genealogist. Estate maps frequently give a list of tenants and while a name is often all that it is recorded with the amount of land held, for someone tracing their family in a specific area a map can be definitive proof that they were living there at a certain time. Invariably the cartographer will have dated the map so the year will be definitive. In maps predating Griffith’s, if you can place your ancestor in a map you may also determine who their neighbours were and possibly other relations given that people usually married within their parish.There are a number of maps online, including some of the Longfield map collection held at the National Library of Ireland http://catalogue.nli.ie/Collection/vtls000282687. These maps date from 1770-1840 and cover all of Ireland with the exception of county Kerry. A large proportion of the 1,671 maps are related to Dublin city and county but for instance we can see in a map of the townland of Ballymore in the barony of Rathconrath, county Westmeath, tenants such as John Kearny who held a house and garden of 3 roods and 14 perches and Thomas Metcalf who had two gardens, a house, tillage and meadow over 7 acres.
Estate maps are held in other archives including the National Archives who have for instance maps pertaining to the Pembroke estate in Dublin. Mayo County Library https://www.mayolibrary.ie/ have digitised maps for the Lynch-Blosse Estate in the barony of Clanmaurice, county, county Mayo. We can see on a beautifully detailed and coloured map of the ‘Town and Parks of Balla’ dated 1811- the Fair Green, Burial Gound and an accompanying list of tenants.
Maps are a snapshot in time – they can tell you how far your ancestors had to travel to the nearest church, they can record local place-names that by the mid-19th century have fallen out of use. They are just one more very useful picking tool at the coalface that is tracing your Irish ancestors.
By Expert Researcher,