There are many different ways to explore historic information. This is particularly true of data-sets, which can often be interpreted and analysed using a multitude of techniques. One is to seek to visualise aspects of the information– both literally and figuratively– and in so doing encourage ourselves to think about the past in new and occasionally unexpected ways. I have undertaken a number of visualisation projects on the site over the years in order to demonstrate this. These efforts always start with a data-set, but I also try to supplement them with different visual tools. These tools can range from interactive programs such as Google Fusion Tables, StoryMapJS and Palladio to straight forward illustrations and graphs. You can explore a number of these projects on this page. *Please note that the recent discontinuation of Google Fusion Tables has reduced the functionality of a number of the maps, which are in the process of being migrated.

"She Hates Men": An Interview With A Troubled Irish Famine Emigrant

Perhaps the greatest value of the Widow’s and Dependent Pension Files is in what they can tell us about the lives of female Irish emigrants in the 19th century. There is surely no other source that provides the same level of detail on Irishwomen in this period, particularly with respect to those who had fallen…

A Visual Journey through North Donegal’s American Civil War Landscape

I am fascinating by the physical remnants of the past that survive in the contemporary landscape. When we think of landscapes of the American Civil War, the images conjured in our minds are often of vast battlefields, such as the monument encrusted fields and hills of Gettysburg. But they also encompass many other areas– places like…

An Appearance in Civil War Monitor

Many of you will be familiar with the Civil War Monitor, one of the leading magazines focusing on the American Civil War. In each issue they run a two-page infographic feature entitled “Figures”. For their Summer 2020 edition I teamed up with the Monitor’s graphics team to explore the widows and dependents of Civil War…

An Infographic of Irish Involvement in the American Civil War

As part of the teaching process with Masters students in University College Cork’s Digital Arts and Humanities Programme I have been exploring the world of infographics and their potential to communicate information in an attractive and easy to digest manner. For those of us without substantial graphic design or software skills there are a number…

Charting Desertion in the Irish Brigade, Part 1

The Irish Brigade is rightly regarded as one of the finest units to take the field during the American Civil War. However, just like all other Union formations, they had their ups and down in battle, and like other formations, they suffered from desertion. In order to examine this in further detail I have taken the…

Donegal in the American Civil War Map Launched

I am delighted to formally launch my Donegal in the American Civil War Map. It combines research I have gathered over the past decade together with public contributions I have received over recent weeks, and now amounts to almost 200 entries. This map represents the most detailed attempt to plot American Civil War veterans’ place…

Europe’s Graveyard: Andersonville’s European Legacy of Loss

As regular readers will be aware, Andersonville Prison and Andersonville National Cemetery are regularly featured on this site. It is almost certainly the National Cemetery that contains more Irish American dead from the Civil War than any other in the United States. I have been working towards establishing a formal project examining the Irish and…

Following Them Home: Discovering the Birthplaces of Irish Soldiers in the 23rd Illinois

The last post looked at the nativity of soldiers in the 23rd Illinois Infantry, based on analysis of records pertaining to 1,585 of its men. The place of birth for 1,270 had been noted; of these 682 were from Ireland. Where were these Irishmen from? How many Irish counties were represented? Were any concentrations discernible? In…

Mapping Britain’s American Civil War Widows & Dependent Parents: An Online Resource

This is the second instalment of the ongoing mapping project detailing every widow and dependent parent in the world outside of the United States receiving a pension in 1883, and concentrates on Britain (you can see the first, looking at Mainland Europe, and learn more about the project here). In order to explore the maps, click on the…

Mapping Confederate Irish Veterans in 20th Century Alabama

This project represents one of the most extensive resources yet made available on the site. Having examined in excess of 11,000 entries for Confederate veterans living in Alabama in 1907, I extracted the details on those men of Irish birth. I then combined it with analysis of the Irishmen’s service records and pension applications, creating…

Mapping Death in the American Civil War

I have been experimenting recently with different ways of visualizing the impact of the American Civil War. I am interested in how we can combine data recorded in the 19th century with some of the new digital tools available, in an effort to find new ways of engaging with this history and potentially reveal further…

Mapping Mainland Europe’s American Civil War Widows & Dependent Parents: An Online Resource

Over recent months I have been working on a major new resource for those interested in the emigrant experience of the American Civil War. It seeks to provide information on all the widows and dependents receiving American pensions outside the United States, based on those listed in the 1883 List of Pensioners on the Roll. The…

Mapping Scotland’s 19th Century American Military Pensioners

As part of my continuing work on Civil War pension files, I returned again to Scotland (for my previous work on Scots in the Civil War see here and here), to comprehensively map all the American Pensioners in Scotland recorded in the 1883 List of Pensioners on the Roll. In 1882 Congress instructed that this list…

Resources: Birthplaces of Irish Soldiers

The site has featured a number of posts based on research I carried out on the birthplaces of the men of the 23rd Illinois Infantry (Mulligan’s Irish Brigade) which led to the production of a number of maps to show what countries, states and Irish counties men in that regiment came from. In addition friend…

Scarred Men: The Disfigurements of New York Irishmen, 1863

The first post relating to my work on the New York Irishmen who enlisted in the Union navy in July 1863 looked at their tattoos. However, the marks on their body that they had not chosen for themselves were far more prevalent. Of the 319 Irish recorded as signing on that month, at least 131…

Tracing them Home: How Catholic Bishops Helped Locate the Irish House of a Pre-Famine Emigrant

Over the years I have come to realise how extremely rare it is to be able to identify precisely where in Ireland ordinary American Civil War servicemen originated. There are only a handful of times where sufficient information has survived that enables us to zoom into the very field or house that these men and…

Visualising One Irishwoman’s Experience of the American Civil War Using StoryMap JS

As most of you are aware by now, I am constantly looking at new techniques to visualize the Irish experience of the American Civil War. My latest foray into this area has been with StoryMap JS, a free tool developed by Knightlab at Northwestern University. StoryMap is designed to allow you to tell stories with…

Visualising the Demographics of Death: 82 men of the 9th Massachusetts

The American Civil War killed hundreds of thousands of men, and devastated millions of lives. The industrialised battlefields of 1861-65 racked up casualty lists so huge that they become practically impossible to visualise- Fredericksburg 17,929; Shiloh 23,746; Gettysburg 51,000. The physical scale of such losses makes the overall ripple effect each death had on dependents…

Visualising the Impact of the American Civil War in Ireland with Palladio

I have been building a database of information relating to the 219 U.S. military pensioners who were recorded as living in Ireland in 1883. These pensioners and their families have been the topic of numerous posts on the site and I hope in the future will form the basis for a book recounting their stories….

Visualising the Impact of the American Civil War on a Manx Family

As regular readers will be aware, I occasionally take the opportunity to explore some non-Irish emigrant stories on the site. On this occasion I have been researching the experiences of the Kermeens, a family who made their home on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. They were a family split by emigration; what…