I’ve long had an interest in historical geography and historical atlases in particular. I remember well the impact a good map had upon my uni students in Jamaica. A map of the Atlantic Slave Trade and one showing the spread of Jesuit colleges in Europe during the Counter/Catholic Reformation were two of my favourites. Maybe that’s why I admire the work of cartographer, Mike Murphy, in the Atlas of the Great Irish Famine, Cork, 2012.
These days, living in a ‘Computer Age’, the creative possibilities are exciting. The map below shows the location of some of the Irish Famine orphans in 1861, that is, according to the birth registration of their children.
I wonder how difficult it would be to create an interactive map? If we were really ambitious we should try something like the projects at Stanford University, http://web.stanford.edu/group/spatialhistory/cgi-bin/site/projects.php
But maybe that’s too ambitious for the uninitiated. Could we do something simpler instead, such as clicking on the dots in the map above to bring up all the information we have about the orphan who resided there at that particular time?
We may be lucky enough to have a photograph.Rose was living in Clare Terrace, off William Street, in Double Bay, Sydney, in 1861.
Or a record of her marriage. This is Jane Troy‘s, in Portland,
You may remember Jane from an earlier post http://wp.me/p4SlVj-Di
Maybe there are some probate records. I wonder how common it was for an orphan or her husband to make a will. I’d be surprised if even 30% of them did so. Here are a couple of examples, extracts only I’m afraid. I’m unsure about permission to reproduce such things. These are from Victorian records.
That was a sad story. The orphan, Jane Liddy, from Leitrim, married well but she and her husband died at a young age. Their considerable estate vanished in the maintenance and medical care of their nine children.
The man knew his livestock, even by name, Boxer and Diamond and Fagan and Dandy.
Let me demonstrate how this map business might work. Here is a map of the orphans in Queensland c. 1861. I’ve entered a few numbers. If we had an interactive map, what might appear if we clicked on numbers 1 and 2, at Ipswich?
It may only be a family reconstitution, no other material being available. If you click on the images you can make them larger.
So, number 1 is for Cicely Moran per Thomas Arbuthnot,
Number 2 is for Mary Casey per Digby
Can you find numbers 3 & 4 on the map?
Number 3 is for Bridget Murray per Lady Peel who was in Brisbane in 1861.
Number 4 is for Jane Duff per Earl Grey
Jane is from Newtownards and is at Condamine in 1861.
Number 5 is for Celia Dempsey per Digby(?)
Number 6 is Margaret Plunkett per John KnoxThe Armagh/Newry contradiction appears on the John Knox shipping list. She was in Cadargo in 1861.
Now where is number 7? It’s for Bridget McQueeney(ie) per Lady PeelBridget was in Laidley in 1861
Number 8 is for someone we’ve met already, the spirited Margaret Stack from Ennistymon per Thomas Arbuthnot.
See the section ‘Moreton Bay District’ towards the bottom of http://wp.me/p4SlVj-vf
Here is a photograph of that feisty 14 year-old later in life, as formidable as ever.
Number 9 is for Mary Ann Prendergast, once again per Thomas ArbuthnotMary was at Toowoomba in 1861.
I’m sure it would be possible to create interactive maps such as these. But we’d need a website and a number of helpers. I wonder what resources the Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee has these days. Probably nowhere near as much as they would like. Imagine tracing how far the orphans travelled in Queensland (and elsewhere). Maybe one could invent an app. to allow people to map the geographic movement of their orphan ancestor? —-for a fee of course, or a contribution to one of the GIFCC Outreach programmes, http://irishfaminememorial.org/media/filer_private/2012/08/09/brochurenew_detailsprint.pdf
I suppose it’s a case of “tell him he’s dreamin”. (Hope you’ve seen the Australian film,’The Castle‘).
May I remind readers of the annual gathering at Hyde Park Barracks on the last Sunday in August, the 28th this year? See http://irishfaminememorial.org/
Scroll down that page for information. The Guest speaker is Tim Costello, a brilliant choice.
The featured image is ‘Bullock Dray Melbourne 1851’, courtesy of the Dixson Library, Sydney.
And for a link to the contents of my blog see http://wp.me/p4SlVj-oE