The colourful Plantation Surnames of Ireland map

Plantation Surnames of Ireland mapAt Dennis Maps we don’t only print maps that show the world as it is today, such as the Greenland and the European Arctic map, or the much-loved Ordnance Survey maps used by walkers and other explorers of the countryside.

We also produce maps of a specific time in history, like Medieval London and the city of York in 1850. An unusual collaboration we recently worked on is The Plantation Surnames of Ireland for Dr Tyrone Bowes, who runs the Origenes family of websites.

Dr Bowes is a biologist who grew up in Dublin and always wondered about the origin of his family name, which sounded English. He submitted his family’s DNA for testing, and combined his scientific knowledge with his interest in history and geography to discover that his ancestors were native Irish after all, the O’Bowe clan.

Dr Bowes then began to work on tools that would enable individuals to find their Irish origins using commercial DNA tests. His first website, the Irish Origenes site, was followed by the Scottish, English and Welsh sites.

All the sites help people curious about their family history to use their DNA to identify where their ancestors lived, their ‘genetic homeland.’ This is a surprisingly small area, usually a 5 mile radius where a family lived for hundreds and possibly thousands of years.

Plantation Surnames of Ireland - OrigenesOn the colourful Plantation Surnames of Ireland map Dr Bowes has plotted the names of the families that are concentrated in each area in early census data. The colour of the name shows its origins – English, Scottish, English/Scottish, Welsh, mainland European or Irish.

These origins are due to the English crown confiscating land in Ireland in the 16th and 17th centuries and colonising it with settlers from elsewhere in Great Britain. The yellow scroll in the top lefthand corner outlines the ancient history of Ireland from the times of the Romans. Two small maps in the righthand corner clearly illustrate the effects of the Plantations on the population of Ireland, and how vast tracts of land were settled.

Land was allocated to ‘undertakers’, so called because they agreed to undertake the ‘planting’ of their estates with settlers. Each undertaker was expected to plant 24 men or at least 10 families from Scotland or England for every 1000 acres he received. The Catholic ruling class was thus replaced by British Anglican landowners.

On the Irish Origenes website you can read Dr Bowes’ own case study, plus many others shared with the permission of his clients, who have investigated family names including Murphy, Kelly, and O’Brien.

The Plantation Surnames of Ireland map is available to buy for $19.99 including p&p on the Irish Origenes website. A fascinating reference for anyone who wants to investigate their Irish ancestry.

Note: Please click on the images to see map in more detail.

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