Monday, March 26, 2012

Mappy Monday: Mapping out the life of an ancestor

In order to gain some understanding about the lives of our ancestors, it is an interesting exercise to map out the homes in which they lived, as well as any other places, such as hospitals and cemeteries, which were a part of their history. Today, on what is the fifty-ninth anniversary of her death, I am remembering my paternal grandmother Anne Mary 'Annie' Magee by showing you the places which were a significant part of her history. I have also included a second map which details the life of my maternal great-grandmother Jane Early Ball. In the maps I have included below, click on the individual blue pins to read about the significance of each place. Also, while the satellite version of the maps appears here, you can choose to view each one as a regular map once you click on the larger version.

When it comes to my paternal grandmother Anne Mary 'Annie' Magee, I am often struck by the fact that while she was fighting for the freedom of the entire country of Ireland, her own world was a relatively small one. Annie began life with her family in one room of a tenement house in Upper Dorset Street Dublin. The Magee family, which then numbered four, shared the house with four other families, including Patrick Magee's sister Mary and brother Francis. Once Patrick became a skilled craftsman, working as a scriber at Jameson's Distillery, the family fortunes began to change. Patrick Magee's position enabled him to qualify for an artisan's cottage of their own in Stoneybatter. Eventually the family of four grew to six in the house on Ostman Place. Anne's marriage to John Geraghty brought her to a house on Manor Street just a few blocks away from her parents, then further away to a house in Cabra. The last house she lived in was on Kildare Road in Crumlin.

View The world of Anne Mary 'Annie' Magee Geraghty 1900-1953 in a larger map

In the case of my maternal great-grandmother, Jane Early Ball, I find myself fascinated by the exercise of mapping out the homes in which she lived throughout her life. Such a map enables me to visualize the changes in fortune which affected her life. Jane spent her childhood living with her family in various homes in the Liberties area of Dublin, an area notorious for its poverty. Married life brought Jane first to a life living in Rathmines, a better area of Dublin, and then to a tenement on Merchant's Quay, and another on Fishamble Street, after her husband lost his mind to dementia. At the end of her life Jane Early Ball was living by herself in a single room on Mountjoy Street.

View The world of Jane Early Ball 1852 - 1914 in a larger map

Try mapping out the life of a family member on your ancestral tree. It will give you a sense of their migratory patterns, and perhaps a better understanding of the lives they lived. See this post from January of 2011 for more information on creating such maps on Google maps. In particular click on the link in Thomas MacEntee's comment for complete instructions on creating maps.


1 comment:

  1. I really like this idea. I don't have a blog, and won't have one no matter how much you push me. But I mucked around with this a bit for my family tree and really like the idea of having this just to show my sisters and my cousins.


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