Thursday, 1 January 2015

Mapping out the Fitzhenrys and the Fitzharrises in the 1901 and 1911 census

Happy New Year to one and all. 
Recently I've been working with the new version of Google's "My Maps" to create a picture of who was where in the 1901 and 1911 censuses of Ireland.

Update on 4 January: I have now added the Fitzhenrys in 1911 to the map - Click here to read all about it.

Update on 12 January: The Fitzharrises from 1911 have also been added.


Here is the link to that map.

So far I've only entered the 1901 data for Fitzhenry and Fitzharris and the variant spellings (the next phase will be 1911).

How to use the map
The data is put in as two layers so you can toggle between those who were calling themselves Fitzhenry at the time of the census, and those who were calling themselves Fitzharris. You can also have both layers showing at the same time for a global view.

The Fitzhenrys are identified by the standard Google place mark icon (the inverted tear-drop) and the Fitzharrises by circles.

This is the colour coding:
Red - a Fitz was head of the household.
Orange - a Fitz was staying in a non Fitz household but they were relatives.
Yellow - a Fitz was staying in an unrelated non Fitz Household (for example as an apprentice or at school).

Clicking on an icon will bring up details of who was in the household at that location on the night of the census. The details are presented in the standard layout for 1901 census return on the National Archives of Ireland website (see below in sources).

What does the map show?
As expected, the Fitzhenry and Fitzharris names have a very East coast distribution. 

Those who were calling themselves Fitzhenry were much more likely to be living in County Wexford and be born in Wexford. There is also the small Fitzhenry family in County Galway (born in Co. Galway and living there) and the general melting pot of Dublin and its environs where people would have migrated to from the countryside as industry looked a better option than farming.

Those who were calling themselves Fitzharris, while still East coast in distribution, were more scattered. There were significant populations in County Carlow, County Wicklow and County Meath who had been born there, as well as those who had migrated to Dublin. They were more likely to live north of Dublin (1 Fitzhenry, living in an unrelated household compared to 11 Fitzharris households), extending up to what is now modern day Northern Ireland.

Overall, there were also more Fitzharrises (220 Fitzharris individuals in 92 households) than Fitzhenrys (182 Fitzhenry individuals in 56 households).

What next?
I will add the census data for 1911, again in separate layers for Fitzhenry and Fitzharris. It will be interesting to see how many Fitzhenrys had swapped to calling themself Fitzharris and visa versa.

It will also help to track which Fitz families emigrated in this 10 year period.

If there is a cluster of Fitz families in adjoining townlands it will be easier to see who is related to who. Notes on relationships with other families will be added as I find them.

These are all free, and can be used to verify the data I have used for the maps. Please send any corrections and comments to the usual blog address.

I used the excellent National Archives of Ireland website to extract the data for the Fitzhenry and Fitzharris households.
I used the search term F*t*h*n*r*y for Fitzhenry and variants, and the search term F*t*h*r*s* for Fitzharris and variants. This only gave a few false positives, which were easy to weed out.
The addresses given on the map are those from the census returns, so you can use this to verify the transcription.

The map was created using Google "My Maps". You will need a (free) Google account to create a map.
Many townland and street names are the same as they were 100 years ago, but for variant townland spellings, and also to try to pinpoint where farms would have been within a townland, I used the Griffith's Valuation search facility on the Ask About Ireland website. I'm aware that by the 1901 census, these maps would have been 50 years out of date, but some farms would have still been in the same family.

The Dublin Street Directory from Thom's Irish Almanac 1862 (the Library Ireland website) enabled me to pin down passages, alleyways and streets that have changed their names (or are just no longer there) in modern Dublin. I could then use the historical map function on the truly excellent Ordinance Survey of Ireland website to translate these old addresses to what they are called now.

When all else failed, Google search and Wikipedia helped out with the more obscure townland variant spellings.
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  1. Jo, Great work! I am conducting a similar work for Houlihan, Hoolihan, Holohan etc. on the 1901 and 1911 census. I have a question, did you extract the census records to a spreadsheet first? If so, what was the best method you've found for doing this?

    Thank you for your inspiration!
    Mark Wholihan
    GOONS #7823

  2. Thanks for the encouragement Mark!
    Your Houlihan and variants map sounds a much larger undertaking than mine!

    I extracted the entire households from the 1910 and 1911 censuses as they are on the National Archives of Ireland website (
    and then copied/pasted them into Excel.

    The interesting bit was then to try to match them up from 1910 to 1911!

    The mapping bit was then as described above in the post. One layer for 1901, one for 1911.

    Give me a shout if you have any more questions.