British Isles and the Irish Sea–a Comparison Map


(Click on Map to enlarge – this is a large file so you can see detail)

The challenge of Scots-Irish research is to link the 16th and 17th centuries with the 19th and 20th centuries in the  lives of your ancestors–

The 18th century is very difficult.  You track your ancestors back in time from the present, where you know them, to the point where the sources include persons not part of your memory. Your surnames appear in the Irish records; perhaps, even in the Scottish records.

But, there is an ocean and a sea between.  And a century or more of time–even if you know where they originate.  How to link what you know to what you are told must be correct–

Here is a strategy suggested by Kevin Whalen, Irish archivist and researcher in 1991, when he addressed the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Ft Wayne IN:

Search Strategy: 

  1. Identify the ancestral area on a map–the exact location if possible.
  2. List the surnames that you know or have been told come from there.
  3. Search the Surveys (inquisitions of the lands)–who owned the land previously, what did they own, what lands (by description) were regranted, and who got what?  These questions will be tied to specific dates.
  4. Where are the surnames you want found?

You see, the eldest son (the heir) got the land and the title (if there was one).  The younger family members leased the land as farmers who tilled the land, or as cottars who lived on the land while practicing another occupation–blacksmith, surveyor, minister, schoolmaster.  Stated and documented origins of the family name provide the link to tie collateral branches together.

Protestants:  Leased lands were usually for three lives–the persons named, with relationships, ages, and residences until 1760’s.

Roman Catholics:  Lands were leased for 21 years until 1798.  Record includes boundaries of each leased piece, neighbors, persons named with occupations, status, ages, residences.

This map of the British Isles and the Irish Sea can be used for comparison of place names with earlier maps on this blog and in atlases and records of plats.  your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  Stay tuned!  For the sources that provide these kinds of details.

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