Clare GenMaps - mapping
surnames, monuments and places on historical and modern maps
About this project:
We had been working with Rainer Kosbi for quite some
time in trying to develop a visual approach to identifying surname distribution
in County Clare in the 19th Century. Rainer had developed map systems
for us in the past, and had also helped us create surname frequency tables
based on historic data (see below).
We knew we had extensive lists of Clare people from the
1820s, 1850s and 1901, and we knew the townland and parish in which they
lived. In October 2012 Rainer developed a new version of his maps system
based on the ESRI ArcGIS Flex API, and he was sure that this new maps
system would allow him to show the surname distribution as ‘hotspots’
on ‘heatmaps’. The new maps use Bing, Open Street map and
ESRI map sets, and using the data we had collected for the three primary
genealogy sources (see below), Rainer subsequently developed surname distribution
heatmaps for each of the three sources.
These heatmaps are now incorporated in a brand new version
of our online map system, the Clare Genmaps, utilising the ESRI API, and
allowing ESRI, Bing and Open Street Maps to be overlaid with historical
maps of Clare from 1842. The new maps system uses many of the same controls
as our GMaps and allows us to represent surname distribution from the
1820s Tithes, 1855 Griffiiths and 1901 Census datasets as interactive
heatmaps linked to the extensive data on our website.
The above map shows surname distribution for 'Sexton' in the 1901 Census.
(online February 2000)
Our index to the Griffiths’s Valuations was compiled over a number
of years by students from Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick,
as a work-experience project with Clare County Library and was placed
online in February 2004.
Census (online 2004)
Our index to the 1901 census was uploaded to the website also in 2004.
A major part of the work on the census was carried out by CLASP
trainees, and without the input of CLASP, the library would not have been
in a position to undertake such a vast project as details had to be input
for each of the 112,334 people living in the county on census night. CLASP
began transcribing the census in 1997. Trainees printed out census records
from the library’s microfilm copies and keyed the records into a
database. If a query arose, for example if a record was difficult to decipher,
the printouts would be checked against the microfilm reels. Records were
then passed to the library’s website team for conversion, design
and uploading to the library website.
Books (online July 2005 )
Transcription of the original Tithe records by volunteers from all over
the world began in 2004, and the records were finally uploaded to the
website in July 2005.
SVG maps (online March 2006)
The first version of our online maps was launched online in March 2006.
Developed for the library by Rainer Kosbi, it utilised Scalable Vector
Graphics (SVG) technology which necessitated the downloading and installation
of the Adobe SVG Viewer which integrated with a web browser as a plug-in.
The online SVG Ordnance Survey maps would only work with the Internet
Surnames Frequency (August
In August 2007, with the assistance of Rainer Kosbi, we created online
tables showing the frequency and spread of surnames in County Clare over
a period of almost 100 years. A table was created for the Census of Population
of 1901, Griffith's Valuation of 1855 and the Tithe Applotment Books compiled
between 1823 and 1837. The 1901 census frequency table shows that McMahon
and McNamara were the most common names in the county at the time, for
instance. Each entry was in turn linked to the appropriate primary source
MapBrowser (April 2010)
MapBrowser was an integrated maps system developed by Rainer Kosbi in
April 2010 as an alternative to his SVG maps system. MapBrowser runs in
the majority of browsers using Adobe's Flash Player on Windows and Apple
Mac personal computers
GMaps (Jan 2012)
In January 2012 we launched the Clare GMaps, based on the Google Map system,
allowing Google Maps and satellite views to be overlaid with historical
maps of Clare from 1842. This new system, developed by Rainer Kosbi, uses
many of the same controls as Google Maps, and it is linked it to the thousands
of pages on the website dealing with the archaeology, history and administrative
divisions of County Clare.
Senior Executive Librarian,