I wanted to share this very nice (and potentially useful) map created by Kingston University, London.  The Irish surnames plotted on this map have either historic or numeric importance to the counties of Ireland.  Of numeric importance are the birth counts from the 1891 census.  Indigenous Irish names beginning with O', Mac, Mc, De, Le, and others, indicates historic significance.  The 1891 census contained over 2,500 individual surnames.  

Because this map is based on a relatively late census (1891), many of the areas of historic stronghold associated with certain surnames are not reflected.  A good example of this is my own surname, O'Rourke.  One would expect to see this surname prominently represented in Counties Leitrim, Sligo, and Cavan.  By 1891, however, the vast majority of the O'Rourkes who descended from the kings of Bréifne in that region had emigrated.

The image of the map to the left is just a thumbnail.  Click on the image to see and download the full-size (50 MB) version.

I'd be interested in hearing about anything you see in relation to your own family surnames on this map.  Please leave your observations in the comments section below.


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Tags: Ancestry, Genealogy, Maps

Comment by Timothy McQuaid on October 17, 2013 at 9:24am

Interesting map. If you would like to compare your family name distribution mid 19th century (1840's-60's) to this 1890 map, go to http://www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/surname/index.cfm?fuseaction=Go.... . My McQuaid family came from Tyrone. In the Primary Valuation property survey of 1847-64, the McQuaid name (and all it's variations), was most prevalent in Tyrone. 27.2 % out of all the occurrences, in all of  Ireland, were in Tyrone. By 1890 they did not have enough to make it on to the Tyrone map. My Family left Tummery, Dromore, Tyrone in 1880.

Comment by Seamus McCaul on October 17, 2013 at 1:57pm

Very interesting.  The McCauls were fairly well distributed throughout the north. I myself am from Newry. My research so far seems to indicate our family originated from County Tyrone and possibly my great great Grandfather emigrated to the USA in approx. 1840s

Comment by Eamon Loingsigh on October 22, 2013 at 10:31pm

You can see there was the Lynch family right around Coolmeen, County Clare. 

Comment by James McNamara on October 23, 2013 at 11:07pm

A few issues with this - in 1890 there was not any census.  There was a census in 1891 but it was intentionally destroyed so this map cannot be based on that.  This must be based on the 1890 Matheson report which records all surnames for which at least 5 children were born in any county (in 1890).  I wouldn't put any importance on where you find the surname on the map as it cannot be correct for many surnames I reviewed.  McNAMARAs and O'BRIENs were practically everywhere in County Clare in 1890 so just finding these surnames in one place in the county doesn't mean that much.  It appears that the size of the surname's font is the indication of how many children were born in 1890.

Comment by Mary Elizabeth Ann Condon(Betty) on March 14, 2014 at 10:43pm

My Ancestors are from Cork for the Condon side and Limerick for the O'Keefe side (information given to me) I was wondering if any member might be able to direct my search further. My Condon Ancestors came to Canada in 1825 with the Peter Robinson Settlers. Have I joined the right place to find info on my ancestors. Many Thanks for a response.

Sincerely, Mary Elizabeth Anne Condon(Maiden Name)

Betty Briegel (Married Name)

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on March 15, 2014 at 3:37am

Hi, Betty.

Welcome to The Wild Geese, first of all.

I see you've "Liked" the new "Irish Ancestry" members group, but if you'd like to participate in that group you'll have to actually join it.  You can do that by clicking here, and then looking to the upper righthand corner of that page and clicking the button that says "Join Group."

Once you've joined the group, you can scroll down to the bottom of the page to the discussions section -- there's only one discussion ongoing at the moment since the group is so new.  You can add a discussion there and basically say the same thing you have above.  Another member may have some ideas, and we hope to have a professional genealogist onboard very soon to help folks get pointed in the right direction with their research.

I'm going to post this same information on your profile page as well in case you miss it here.

Comment by Alan Murray on January 21, 2016 at 7:42pm
I like this map.I found my surname Murray in Offaly where my ancestors emigrated from to Canada also in 5 other counties.It also has O'Murray in 3 counties.


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