Monday, May 8, 2017

Mappy Monday; Where I Learn More About Google Maps and Knockardagannon

Kyleahaw to Knockardagannon North                                    Courtesy of Google Maps

     I'm still gathering data on my great-great-grandfather James White, looking for that holy grail, definite proof that he was from County Laois and the name of his townland.  One of my DNA matches on Ancestry generously sent me his research on the White/Keyes families from Rathdowney Parish, which strongly points to a place called Knockardagannon North as being the townland of James' birth.  Parish records of the Catholic Church there are missing for precisely the period I need, which at least explains why after years of searching I've never found any for James, his sister Catherine or his parents James Sr. and Margaret Keyes, whose names I have from James' marriage record here in the USA.

     I've found various scraps of information here and there and the place-names Rathdowney, Kyleahaw and Errill in County Laois keep turning up in my research.  I turned to maps to get an idea how close these places were to each other, using the "directions" option at Google Maps.  Being a definite right-brained person, even then it was not easy for me to visualize the distances between these areas.  The map above shows the shortest route between Knockardagannon North and Kyleahaw.  The latter place being the birthplace of James Treacy who came to America in 1906 to live with Grandpa James' son James White Jr.  The two places look very close, but exactly how close were they?

     I decided to "walk it" using the little person in the bottom right corner of the map on the Google site.  I set him down at the intersection of R433 and the "road" to Knockardagannon.  This is what that looks like when you switch to street view--

                                                                                                                     Google Maps

and this is as far as one can get.  The little guy just wouldn't go down that country lane no matter how hard I tried to persuade him.  I attempted a different route with no better luck, he wouldn't go down the road Knock. North sits on either.  Then I tried satellite view!  I'd love to say I thought of that on my own, but it was an accident; in trying to pan out further on this image it automatically switched to satellite.  At that point, I did come up with the bright idea of trying to look at Knock. North that way and voila!

                                                                                                                                          Google Maps

     There it is, Knockardagannon North--there is absolutely nothing there.  Unless you count the bogs to the north.  Actually there's not much in Kyleahaw either.  But this map does show, in a visual way that even I can comprehend, how very close the two places really are.  I like that the little blue dots showing the route carried over from the first map too. That icon in the white square is a person walking the distance between the two places in six minutes.  That 500m below the figure translates to about one third of a mile.  Knock. North was literally right in Kyleahaw's backyard and Errill is about a mile and a half east on R433.  They are practically the same place.  In fact the 1901 census shows the Treacy family living in "Knockardagannon North (Errill, Queen's County)".  Perhaps their home was the wee house just above the intersection?


  1. I wonder how the Treacy’s were related - they lived ‘in the back garden’. That was definitely a private access lane, extending to the period before the R433 was built. Did you check out the Historic 25 inch map at ?

  2. The wife of Mr. Treacy was Margaret Ford whose sister Mary came to the USA and married James White Jr. so the Treacy children were nieces & nephews of James Jr. by marriage. Thanks for the suggestion to check the maps, I will do that!