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Name 3: Kenneally — Emigrated from County Waterford. I mentioned how Gaelic surnames come from original first names. Well, where do Gaelic first names come from? The original Gaelic first names were typically descriptions of a quality the person had. Often visual, a personality trait or compared to an animal. The Keanneallys were part of the Ui Fidhgenti sept which were found in Connelloe. But the Kennealys were displaced all over many parts of South Munster.


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Have you a poet in your family? A feature of the old Gaelic system was a very strict hierarchy. The lords and the top — and each lordship was surrounded by many types of roles and professions: poets, soldiers, doctors, genealogists and so on. Often certain surnames were associated with certain professions — as in this case. Name 5: Manning — emigrated from County Meath. When they were anglicized from the original Irish — sometimes this was done phonetically and sometimes by choosing the closest-sounding English name. As a result, you might find a name that is both Gaelic and English in origin.

14 Ancient Names of Ireland

This is the case with Manning. This version is descended from the pre-Gaelic Sodhan race — and would have roots similar to the Picts of eastern Scotland.

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Name 6: Power — Emigrated from County Waterford. Power was one of those families — typically now found in County Waterford and one of the 50 most numerous surnames in Ireland. Name 7: Stanley — Emigrated from County Westmeath. Remember Stanley and Livingstone? It seemed to be important to give the location or profession Smith, Carpenter etc.

For a Gaelic surname — the emphasis was on which specific family grouping you came from and who you are related to.

Most common surnames in Britain and Ireland revealed

When you understand this difference, you understand a lot about tracing Irish surnames and locations. And Stanley came to Ireland very early — been around since the s — and settled in counties Louth and Meath. Name 8: Sullivan — Emigrated from County Kerry. This is the most numerous name in Munster the most numerous in Ireland is Murphy. The Sullivans originally came from South Tipperary about a years ago but were driven west into Cork and Kerry to become an important part of the Eoghanacht tribe lord of which were the McCarthys.

BUT then it became beneficial to drop the O during penal times for Gaels. This dropping of the O lasted until a Gaelic revival of the s — when many surnames put the Os and the macs back into their surnames. But not everyone did.

For example — many of the emigrants to the USA and Australia would have left before the O came back and so you find many Sullivan s overseas. Name 9: Terry — Emigrated from County Waterford. An old Anglo Norman who settled in a specific area — Cork city and county since the 13th century. Nine names leading to one person.

A bit long this week, but I hope you enjoyed it — each name teased out a different aspect of Irish Heritage.

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Thank you Mike for the background on my clan. In the modern age we also have members of the army both Irish Drfense Force and U. Army that has crept into the lineage. I am both a college lecturer and a U.

A Sample of Irish Family Names

S Army veteran. Can we imagine the term identity crisis? Thanks again for your work. I enjoy your Facebook posts each day. Hi Dennis — thanks for the feedback. Great to have such a feel for the scope of your family through the decades! Jeanne — I do a lucky dip every now an again! Hi Mike, great info on those nine names above! One of those names Manning also is in my family tree. We also have Branfields and I have wondered if they may have come originally from England. As you know when you research people most of what you get is Ireland for an answer.

Thanks for the feedback Pat. My great grandmother from Esker, county Longford was Anne Whitney.


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  • Thank you so much for this wonderful information on our ancestors. Sincerely, Pat. Hi Mike Would you have any info on the Cove surname from Kilkenny. Also have Hunt, Hickey,Dunn, Lahey. All from Kilkenny. Thank you. Sounds like Cove might be a later spelling. It might be from Coveney which was a Kilkenny name originally. Thank you for adding my names. My Cove ancestors were butchers in Kilkenny, Kilkenny, Ireland. I enjoyed your article on the location of Irish surnames as I specialize in mapping surname distributions. In the case of Irish names the ability to map the census at the DED level can sharply focus the search for a given surname.

    Ulster Ancestry : A Sample of Irish Family Names

    If you ever want to do a short bloog article for our readers with an illustration do let me know. My paternal Irish roots are Boyle and McCurdy. Any links to the name? Margaret — Boyle in County Roscommon is named after a different Irish word. Richard Boyle was also the first Earl of Cork on the other side of the country.

    My family name is Mulvey. Anything you can tell me about the Moore surname would be amazingly helpful. Some time ago, before I joined your site. Please include these in your list. Regards James. My maiden name is Manning.