The Tribes of Ireland – Ireland at the Birth of Your Irish Surname.

Tribes of Ireland

In last week’s newsletter we introduced Turlough O’Connor – High King of Ireland up to 1156.

If Turlough was in the habit of reading maps back at that time, he might look at his kingdoms through the lens of this map – showing the major tribes, over-kingdoms and towns on the island of Ireland at his time.

Now, let’s take a brief tour (we’ll take a much longer tour in our book ) around these kingdoms and just some of the surnames associated with them.

Please do leave your comments and questions at the end of this post!

A Tour Around the Over-Kingdoms.

Ireland in 1150AD

Connaught

Turlough and his kin were from the  Síol Muireadaigh  tribe. Connacht became one of the dominant kingdoms on the island under Turlough. He was the first man west of the River Shannon to have the title of High King of Ireland. Turlough and his kin had taken on the surname O’Connor from this Gr,Gr,Gr Grandfather – Conchobar mac Taidg Mór  who had died in 882.

During his time – he annexed the kingdom of Mide and asserted control over Dublin – even then becoming the political capital of the Island. The O’Rourkes (cousins of the O’Connors) were kept under control in Breifne. To the south, in Tuamumu – the O’Briens were effectively allies of the O’Connors – as  Muirchertach Ua Briain (O’Brien) had fostered Turlough as a young boy to groom him for his future position.

The other leading families of Connaught at this time were:

Mac Hugh, (Mac) Egan, MacBrennan, MacHale, (Mac) Cunneen, (Mac) Conneely, Gaffney, (Mac) Conroy, MacDermot, MacDonagh, Keogh , MacManus, (Mac) Garry, (O) Boland, Coyne, (O) Cannon,  (O) Cahill, (O) Keane , (O) Kelly, (O) Canavan, (O) Carney ,  (O) Kenny, (O) Clery, Coleman, (O) Coffey, Quigley , Conlon ,  (O) Conway,  (O) Connelly, Conlon,  (O) Cosgrave, Coogan, (O) Coolihan, (O) Curran,  (O) Devlin, (O) Donnell, (O) Donlan , (O) Donohoe,  (O) Duggan , (O) Dowd, Dolan,  (O) Downey, (O) Fallon, Fahy,  (O) Feeney,  (O) Finn , Finnegan,  (O), Flannery, O’Gara,  (O) Glavin, (O) Hanley, O’Hara, (O)Henaghhan, (O) Hynes,  (O) Horan,  (O) Lavin,  (O) Lynch, (O) Malley , Mannion, Molloy, Mullan, O’Mullally, Moran , Murray , Morris , (O) Ratigan ,  (O) Shaughnessy ,  (O) Tarpy, (O) Tierney ,  (O) Kilkelly,  (O) Carney,  (O) Gaughan, (O) Murphy,  Mac Clancy

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

Tuadmumu

Tuadh Mumhan (nowadays known as Thomond and covering the counties of Clare, Limerick, North Tipperary) become a separate Kingdom within the province of Mumhan (Munster) as the powerful tribe of the Dál gCais rose to power. The most famous member of this tribe being Brian Boru and the first High King of Ireland in reality.

The O’Briens were the ruling family of Tuamumu and other leading families include:

(Mac) Clancy (Mac) Conway (Mac) Corcoran (O) Bannon (O) Boland (O) Cahill (O) Carroll (O) Connor  (O) Dea (O) Donovan (O) Dooley (O) Drennan (O) Dwyer (O) Fennessy (O) Flaherty (O) Flanagan (O) Fogarty  (O) Galvin (O) Grady   (O) Halloran (O) Hannon  (O) Heffernan  (O) Hehir (O) Hickey (O) Hogan (O) Honan  (O) Hurley  (O) Kearney  (O) Kelleher  (O) Kennedy  (O) Kiely   (O) Loughlin (O) Meagher  (O) Melody  (O) Mulcahy (O) Naghten  (O) Quirke  (O) Reddan  (O) Regan (O) Reidy   (O) Shannon  (O) Sheehan  Ahern Buckley Collins Curry  Flannery Gilroy  Gleeson Houlihan  Mac Considine Mac Enery  Mac Namara  MacDonnell MacGrath  MacInerney MacMahon  Maher Malone  Maloney  O’Meara  Ryan  Sexton 

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

Desmumu

The Kingdom of Desmumu (South Munster) came about in 1118 with the further rise to power of the Dal gCais tribe of north Munster. Munster was divided into Tuadmumu – ruled by the O’Briens, and Desmumu – ruled by the MacCarthy Mors (one of a number of MacCarthy tribes).

The kingdom covered the modern counties of Cork, Kerry, Waterford, South Tipperary and South Limerick.

Other leading families of Desmumu were:

Mac Auliffe, MacGillycuddy, (Mac) Cotter , (O) Canty,  (O) Brosnan,  (O) Keefe , (O) Cahill, (O) Callaghan, Carey ,  (O) Coffey, (O) Coughlan, Connolly, (O) Connell, (O) Cronin, (O) Crowley, Cuddihy, (O) Cullinane, (O) Quill , (O) Collins, (O) Dorgan, (O) Dwane, (O) Donegan, (O) Donoghue, (O) Duggan, (O) Doheny, (O) Dennehy, (O) Dinneen, (O) Downey, (O) Falvey, (O) Phelan, (O) Field, (O) Flynn, Foley, Foran, Forde , (O) Garvey, Griffin,  (O) Hea , (O) Hennessy, Healey, (O) Driscoll, (O) Hurley, Harrington, (O) Noonan , Green , (O) Leahy, (O) Leary, Lehane , Mannix, Mullins, (O) Mahony , (O) Meehan, (O) Moriarty , (O) Riordan , (O) Scanlan , (O) Shea , (O) Sullivan , (O) Tracy, (O) Twomey, (O) Duggan,  (O) Kennedy, (O) Cagney, (O) Leary, (O) Dullea, (O) Coffey, (O) Cowhig, (O) Cullinane,  (O) Driscoll

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

Laigin

The Kingdom of Laigin (or Leinster – but it was significantly smaller than the current province of Leinster) – was ruled over by the Sil Fáelchán tribe of the Uí Cheinnselaig.  Diarmait Mac Murchada (MacMurrough) was the King of Leinster at the time of Turlough. When we look back at Ireland at this time (around 1150ad), we often think of it as the “twilight years” for the Gaelic Dynasties. A few years after this, Diarmait was deposed as King and played a pivotal part in triggering the invasion of the Anglo Normans in 1169.

Other leading familes of Laigin were:

Fitzpatrick, O’Larkin, Kavanagh, O’ Brennan , O’Cullen, O’Doran, O’Nolan, O’Ryan, FitzDermot, O’Toole, O’Byrne, O’Carey, MacKeogh, Phelan, (Mac)Breen, O’Kelly, O’Coveney, O’Carroll, O’More, O’Devoy, O’Duff, O’Dempsey, O’Tracy, O’Gorman, O’Dowling, O’Cosgrave, (O)Rafter and Murphy

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

Mide

Mide (the modern counties of Meath and Westmeath ) was one of the ancient provinces of Ireland and held the ancient capital - Tara. However, before Turloughs time the effective capital had become Dublin. The main tribe and family of this area at the time of Turlough was the Mac Laughlin of the Clann Cholmáin. Other leading families included:

Quinlan, Devine, O’Hea, O’Hennessy, O’Connolly, O’Breen, O’Higgins, Mac Geoghegan, O’Brennan, O’Hart, O’Curry, O’Daly, MacAuley, O’Dooley, O’Scully, Mulholland, MacGee, O’Donoghue, Gaffney, MacConway, O’Ronan, O’Farrell, Mac Coughlan, O’Houlihan, O’Molloy, O’Carney,  Fox, O’Keary, , O’Regan, O’ Casey and O’Carroll.

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

Breifne

The Uí Briúin Bréifne were the main tribe within Breifne (appropriated meaning “Hilly” as it covered the modern counties of Leitrim, Cavan and parts of Sligo).

The Kings of Breifne were the O’Rourkes – other leading families included:

Brady, McCabe, Gaffney, MacDonnell, (Mac) Clancy, MacGowan, (Mac) Elroy , MacEnroe, MacManus , (Mac) Murray, (Mac) Shanly , MacSharry, (Mac) Tiernan, MacGovern , Maguire, O’Banan, (O) Boylan, Cassidy, (O) Kenny, (O) Carroll, (O) Carolan, (O) Connolly, (O) Corcoran, (O) Corrigan, (O) Farrelly , (O) Finnegan, (O) Heany ,  (O) Muldoon and the second leading family – the O Reillys. 

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

Airgialla

Airgialla (later also known as Oriel in English and covering Counties Armagh, Louth and Monaghan) was an unusual case – it was really a federation of smaller kingdoms rather than a kin group. The Kingship rotated among the various tribes and at the time of Turlough was held by Donnchadh Ua Cearbaill (O’Carroll).

Other leading families of the Airgialla included:

Mac Cann, MacArdle, MacCasey, MacNally, MacConville, (Mac) Crilly, (Mac) Cullen, (Mac) Loy,  (Mac) Gillespie, Mac Mahon , (Mac) Quaid/Wade, (Mac) Scanlan , (O) Callan, (O) Keenan, (O) Cosgrave, (O) Crehan,  (O) Lynn, (O) Finn, (O) Flanagan, (O) Garvey,  (O) Hanlon ,  (O) Hare, (O) Sherry, Fagan, (O) Rogan, (O) Creehan, (O) hAedha,  (O) Keelaghan, Traynor.

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

Northern Ui Neill

The Northen Ui Neill (not to be confused with the surname O’Neill) was a kin group who were descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages – legend was that his sons Eoghan, Conall and Enda moved into modern county Donegal in the 5th century. From these individuals came the tribes of Cenél Eóghain and Cenél Conaill who established themselves as lords in northwestern Ulster.

Over time, the Cenél Eóghain gained prominence and they expanded into what are modern counties Derry and Tyrone. By the time of Turlough, the leading family of the Cenél Eóghain, were the Mac Lochlainn (McLoughlin) – but they dominated the Northern Ui Neill alongside the the O’Donnells and O’Dohertys of the Cenél Conaill.

Other leading family names were:

McCluskey, Kearney , MacNamee , MacGee, Mac Guigan, (O) Breslin, (O) Bradley, (O) Carolan, (O) Cannon, (O) Kane, (O) Colgan, (O) Crean, (O) Quinn , (O) Donnelly, (O) Farren, (O) Ferry, (O) Flanagan , (O) Gormley, (O) Gallagher, (O) Hamill , (O) Hegarty, (O)Hoban, Hunt, (O) Lunney , (O) Mellan , (O) Murphy , (O) Neill , (O) Peyton, (O) Scully , (O) Muldorey, (O) Boyle,  (Mac) Ward , (Mac) Kelvy,  MacGonigle, MacCusker, (Mac) Daid, (Mac) Caffrey, (Mac) Garvey , MacBride, (Mac) Cole, Coyle, MacIlhoyle, Gilmartin , Mac Loughlin , MacGrath, MacRory, MacSweeny, (O) Boyle, Begley, (O) Corr , Coonee, (O) Doohan, (O) Duffy,  (O) Friel, (O) Laverty, (O) Hagan, (O) Harkin,  (O) Mulligan, (O) Muldory 

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

Ulaid

Ulaid (from which modern Ulster gets its name – and occupying modern counties Antrim and Down). Their main ruling tribe were the Dál Fiatach, based in Downpatrick (which gives County Down its name). The King of Ulaid at the time of Turlough was Cú Ulad mac Conchobair Chisenaig Mac Duinn Sléibe (Mac Dunleavy). Other leading families included:

MacAteer, MacNiece , MacCartan, (Mac) Carroll , Mac Donnell , (O)Colter, Dunleavy, Greene, Magennis, Kenny, MacKenna , (O) Flynn, (O) Flattery, Hughes, Haughey, Lavery , (O) Long, Miller  and Rooney.

Note: Some of these surnames may have evolved shortly after 1150AD.

And that’s it for our mini-Tour around the Kingdoms of Ireland around 1150AD – a time when Irish surnames still coming to the fore. And just before a time when Ireland was to change forever, with the invasion of the Normans.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below! Mike.

DID YOU ENJOY THIS ARTICLE?

Click here to subscribe to our free weekly "Letter from Ireland"
To learn even more about your Irish family surnames and places.

Comments

  1. says

    My ancestors were, Kane, Whitney,Heaney from Longford. Curran,O’Shea, Sullivan,Sheehan from Kerry. Looks like my Kane, Heaney ancestors originated in Derry. I thank you Mike for explaining to me that the Whitney’s came in the 13th century from Normandy. Can’t wait t get your book in November. Patricia

    • patrick says

      im still trying to find out if my surname farrelly has come from scandanavia.i remember spelling the name in irish at school,which is fhaircheallaigh.im curious.thanks.patrick.great page.great history.thanks.

      • Mike says

        Thanks for your feedback Patrick – much appreciated.

        On Farrelly and the “Scandinavian” connections – Farrelly comes from an Irish name that relates back to the Irish first name “Feargal”, which I don’t think isScandinavian in origin. It is from the Irish Ó Fairghaile – and is typically found in the area the name originated – County Cavan (Breifne on our map) – and also in County Meath. All the best, Mike.

      • Mike says

        Hi Scott – when found in Ireland, Lowry can be a Scottish planter name. But it can also be a variant on the Gaelic name Lavery – found in Ulster. Mike.

    • Crystal O'Donnell says

      My ancestors were Kanes too. As well as Glennon, Gallagher, O’Donnell and many others from Ireland. I was wondering if you have an account on ancestry.com? I’d love to see if our family lines cross at all. You could also email me if you like at erynsmom03@gmail.com.
      Thank you for your time,
      Crystal

    • Mike says

      Hi Lynn – there is a map at the top of this post. Let me know if you are having trouble seeing it and I’ll email you on a copy. All the best – Mike.

  2. Ann Madden says

    Amazed to see how a couple of my surnames; Cahill & McMahon for instance are found in multiple Kingdoms, no wonder I am having a hard time tracking them!

  3. Kathleen Flanagan says

    I’m like Ann – I see Flanagan in a couple of places, so not sure where to start. Also, from what I know of my great-grandfather John Flanagan…he emigrated to USA from Cork, and I don’t really see the family name there too much. I can’t wait for this book either!

    • Mike says

      Hi Kathleen – yep its a name that sprang up in a few places in Ireland – the most numerous/powerful being in Roscommon. Flanagan would be quite a rare name in the south/Cork – a lot of individuals emigrated from Cork through Queenstown/Cobh – but came from other parts of the country. I know my own relatives emigrated from Conaught through Cork – is this possibe for yours also? All the best, Mike.

  4. Pamela Murungi says

    Mike,

    How wonderful to finally see one of my family name, Fennessy (O’Fennessy), in one of your pieces. Our own research, started by a great aunt, has found the spelling O’Fiangusa also, and indicates a purely Munster origin. We have traced our line to a gentleman named Richard Fennessy who “operated a nursery in Ballynatin, Co. Tipperary.” He deceased in 1747.

    Keep up the great work. God bless.

    Pamela

    • Mike says

      Hi Pamela – thanks for sharing. The name Fennessy was originally (at the time this post is set) from the Cashel area of Tipperary. Over time they also moved further south into the Waterford area. All the best, Mike.

  5. Louise Henson says

    Hi Mike, I have 2 names that are hard to find, Calderwood & Loy, Francis Calderwood married Margaret Loy, left County Tyrone abt. 1835, for Cumbria, they show in the 1841 census of Cumbria. It is only on a later census that they say Tyrone. I have found some mention of Calderwood in Tyrone, Antrim but haven’t found my Francis. As for Loy I haven’t found any mention of a family, but there is a school, hill etc. named in the area of Dungannon, Tyrone. Any help appreciated.

    • Mike says

      Hi Louise – firstly as you probably realise, this page focuses on the Gaelic names in Ireland up to 1150.

      Now lets help you out – Calderwood is a Scottish planter name found in Ireland after the 1600s – most likely in Ulster (although I used to live opposite Calderwood Estate in County Cork).

      Loy on the other hand is from the Gaelic Mac Lughaidh – a name from Airgialla above. And now I’ve modified the names to include your name MacLoy.

      If you want to track individuals – I suggest you contact Noreen at http://www.facebook.com/Hiberniaroots (tell her I sent you) and she should point you in the right direction.

      All the best – Mike.

  6. Pat Scharle says

    I, too, descended from Flanagans. Mine came from Roscommon, but also maybe from other places originally. Looking forward to book.

    • Mike says

      Hi Pat – thats right – but all the different Flanagans would be from different lineages. The Flanagans of Roscommon/Connaught would be the most powerful family line. Mike.

  7. Rosemary Arnholt says

    Thank you! I see my Boyle ( O Boyle) name and also McLaughlin, a Scottish family name for generations that our family genealogists always suspected originated in Ireland.

    • Mike says

      You’re welcome Rosemary! On the “McLaughlin” of Midhe – watch out for that one as it comes from the Irish “Mac Giolla Seachloinn” which literally translates into Mac Glaughlin which often transposes to McLoughlin/McLaughlin. So, while this might be a lead for you – it is not the definite “truth”. But stay tuned and in touch – lets see how things develop. Mike.

  8. Pat says

    Thanks for the posting. Finally am seeing one of my ancestral names- Doud (Dowd) in your posting. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to your book next month.

  9. Joan Hutchins says

    Hi Teeechur :) My family names are pretty much in the areas you posted. But I do have a ? about Hamill. I was told it was French & was Hamille. Were the French
    there in the 5th century? Did I get misinformation? Help lol

    • Mike says

      Great respect shown there Joan ;) – actually Hamill is from the Irish Ó hÁdhmaill (O Hammill) and was a name from the Northern Ui Neill (but moved further east over time into Armagh and Monaghan). And now I” add it to the post above. Now aren’t you glad you asked! All the best, Mike.

      • Joan Hutchins says

        Lol yes Mike I’m glad I asked u bc I’m more Irish than i thought. I do appreciate all that u post. I’m learning a lot. Tyvm :)

  10. Michelle says

    I have Kelly & Wallace that I have only been able to trace to Galway (Tuam) in the late 1800′s. So many Patrick’s & Mary’s roaming around in Ireland. I also have a Murphy line that I really haven’t delved into past the immigration to Canada. Looking forward to seeing your book. Will it be available for Kindle type devices?

    • Mike says

      Hi Michelle – yep, lots of Patrick and Marys! The book will initially be for both Kindle and as PDF download. All the best, Mike.

    • amanda says

      My grandad was also from tuam, he was connolly. But it seems to have changed once he came to England in 1890 as I was born connally!

  11. Judy Corcoran says

    I see the MacCorcoran surname originated in Tuadmumu and the O’Corcoran surname in Breifne. Any idea what the distinction would have been between the two surnames (Mac and O’)?

    Keep doing this terrific work, Mike!

    • Mike says

      Hi Judy – Corcoran would be from the first name derived from the nickname “Purple”. In this case – the Macs and the Os were seperate lineages. One (the Os) were named after grandfather – the other – the Macs were named after a father. Thats the general distinction between O and Mac. All the best – and thanskf ro the feedback, Mike.

  12. Kay( Sexton) Cadwallader says

    Just love this site & was pleased to see the sir name of Sexton listed; but am still looking for info to sir name for Cadwallader. Thank you.

    • Mike says

      Thanks for the nice words Kay – on Cadwallader – thats a later Norman/Welsh name – introduced into Ireland after the time we are covering above. I don’t realy have much info on where this name was in quantity in Ireland. How much do you know already? All the best – Mike.

  13. Maribeth says

    I always wondered what part of Ireland that my biological fathers family came from, now I know thanks to you! I am from Cork, Kerry, Waterford, South Tipperary and South Limerick. LOL

  14. Janice says

    Hello Michael. Thank you so much for your hard work and fascinating information. All I’m certain of is that my great grandfather, James McConnell, was born in Londonderry in the mid 1800′s. He and some of his siblings migrated to the USA as young adults. I have his original citizenship papers for which I’m grateful. My mothers family claims to come from Ireland with no info at all. Their last names are Wade and Hayes. Do you know anything about the names being Irish names? Thank you, Janice

    • Mike says

      Hi Janice – Hayes came from an number of Irish locations – but most likely from Munster (can also be Donegal, Mayo, Meath, Wexford, Monaghan, Tyrone) as it comes from a popular first name Aodh. Wade can be an English planter name OR in Airgialla on the map can be a version of the name MacQuaid. Hope this helps, Mike.

      • Janice says

        Yes Mike it helps so much. Thank you for taking the time to answer. We also have the name Miller in our family. Most believe they are Irish. Some wonder if the name is German. I’m not sure how to get to the bottom of that. Once again, thank you, Janice:)

    • Mike says

      And it should be! Tamara – they were a family of Breifne on the map (modern Cavan and Leitrim) – and I am amending to include. All the best – Mike.

  15. Larry says

    I don’t see the name Cullen my maternal grandfather or the name Cole my paternal great grandfather, My surname is O’Brien

    • Mike says

      Hi Larry – Cullen can be either MacCullen from Airgialla (Monaghan) or O Cullen from Kildare/Wexford/Wicklow (Laighin). I’ll put them into the post.

      On Cole – Thia can either be an English Planter name or Mac Cole – from the Northern Ui Neill (Donegal). I’ll stick that in too! Mike.

  16. says

    Hi Mike– I am only beginningto look into my Irish ancestry. My grandfather, Matt Crilly, came from Drogheda, Co Louth. I was told the Gaelic name was MacRaghallaighl and possibly from Co Down or came from Scotland? Would you know anything about that name?
    Thanks, Clare

    • Mike says

      Hi Clare – it comes from Airgialla in our map above – so south Down would be about right. I’ll include it in our post. Also – have you seen Fr. Ted – featuring none other than Father Ted Crilly! All the best, Mike.

  17. Kathy says

    I’m descended from Carroll, Cleary, Higgins and MacSharry (and a Pugh and Jinks which I know is English and Welsh descent). So much fun to see these names in your list!! Thanks Michael!! Your hard work is greatly appreciated!!

  18. Joan says

    Hello Mike,
    I am looking for my grandparents tribes. Grand father (O’) Driscoll, Cork and grandmother Fitzgibbons or Gibbons, Tipperary.
    Thank you for any assistance.

    • Mike says

      Hi Joan – the O’Driscolls are listed above in Tuadmumu (were the chiefs of the Corca Laoidhe on the map).

      The Fitzgibbons aren’t featured here as they turned up later – they were a Norman family.

      All the best – Mike.

  19. Linda Irish says

    Hello, Linda Irish here again. I have been following along and do enjoy your information. I have been wondering if there will ever be any items in your store with the surname Irish on them and will the Irish surname be on any maps or in your book?

    Thanks, Linda

    • Mike says

      Hi Linda – Irish is one of those surnames (like Scott, Ireland, Walsh, Fleming) that people in another country/territory give to someone who cam from the place – like Ireland! How nice to have a name like Irish (its even in our name “Your Irish Heritage”). Firstly – I will put the name into the shop and let you know when its there (we do that only when people ask) – secondly, the surname Irish comes from the Kilkenny area – given to returning emigrants from e.g. England – who returned to Ireland having been given their nickname over there. So you won’t see it on the map for 1150 – but we will see what we can doe for later maps! All the best – Mike.

    • Mike says

      Hi Rita – McKee is typically a Scottish planter name – prevalent in Ulster after 1600. It is a version of the Scottish McKay. Spread all over Antrim. All the best, Mike.

  20. Molly Shields says

    I’m betting “(O) Creehan” was a forerunner to Crahan/Crehan. I’ll have to tell my Mom about this.

  21. Virginia Terese Hunt says

    Hi Mike!
    Have a few questions on my Heffernan/ Giblin-Hunt/McKelvey ancestry: I see my Mom’s Heffernan, but no Giblin – whom I thought were around the now Roscommon area by this time.
    Also, from my Dad’s Hunt/McKelvey side (which I know very little about): what Over Kingdom would the Ó Fiachna name have come from? And would McKelvey have been around in this time period? (By the way, found it interesting that sometimes on the census here in the US- they are noted as McKelvin.)
    PS: sorry for being so long-winded, but I also wanted to mention that I was so very pleased with my T-shirt purchases!!! I am proudly wearing my Ó Fiachna (told my daughter I’m changing my name back!); and my 13 year old granddaughter is proudly rocking her Mac Cába (which may become the name of her future band!).
    Many blessings to you and Carina – for all the kindness and knowledge you bring to us!

    • Mike says

      Hi Virginia – right, I can see you’re testing me! ;) – Giblin needs to be in there (probably under the Uí Maine of Roscommon). Fiachna were of the Northern Uí Néill (Tyrone). And McKelvy would have been of the Northern Uí Néill also (Donegal). Must add that too.

      Great to hear you’re all enjoying the tees! All the best – Mike.

      • Virginia Terese Hunt says

        Thanks Mike! Just checking with my favorite teacher to see how much knowledge I have retained from your lessons!!
        Thanks again, Virginia

  22. Madilyn says

    Mike, this is so informative and your research is very extensive! Since I don’t see my Mannix/O’Mainchin here (unless I missed it), does that mean my ancestors were not in Ireland yet in 1150 AD? Thanks!

    • Mike says

      They were indeed there at that time – in the Corca Laoidhe tribe of west Cork. I’ll modify the article – thanks for pointing it out! All the best – Mike.

  23. Marcey says

    Hi, Mike!
    My husband and I just got back from our first trip to Ireland and absolutely LOVED every minute of it! I asked around a little bit about my maiden name, Mayes, which I have been told is Irish but no one could pinpoint a place of origin for me. I have no county information passed down through the family. Only the statement that we are Irish, and possibly Dutch-Irish according to one aunt. After we got back I saw a picture of Mayes Pub online in Dublin and can’t believe I was on the same street and missed it! Can you help with the surname Mayes? Our family is said to have come to Virgina first when immigrating.
    Thanks!
    Marcey

    • Mike says

      Hi Marcey – sounds great – I’m glad to hear that you had such a great time! Mayes is an interesting one – here goes: It is originally an English name – but is also linked with the other English surname May – which in Ireland sometimes stands in for the Irish name Mac Máighe – which is a Gaelic name eventually used by some of the Norman family of Condon. Hope this helps – and I’ll keep an eye out for more definite “possibilities”. All the best – Mike.

  24. Ann Koschalk says

    The search for names can be very difficult. I’ve found my McAuley where I though they would be. However, I’m beginning to think that my Simpson, Warnock and Barclay are originally Scottish, then Irish, then Scottish again. I bet these ancestors never knew that hundreds of years later anyone would care. Aah, if I could just have five minutes with a few of them!!! Sigh!
    Ann

  25. Daniel Hogan says

    My Hogans and Mullallys are still in the same place since ancient times. Went to visit them three years ago still on their ancestral lands. They survived the many English tyrannies due to their profession of farriers.
    Can’t wait to read the book also.

    • Mike says

      Hi Daniel – thanks for sharing (and your support!). Isn’t it great when people stay in the one ancestral land for so long! All the best, Mike.

  26. Kay Schmid says

    MacLysaght says that Mac Daibheid/MacDaid/MacDevitt/Davitt/Cavey descend from David O’Doherty who died in 1208. A bit too late for your 1150 date?

    • Mike says

      Thats the way Kay – different surnames were still forming for hundreds of years after as branches of kin split off – and later some Norman families assumed Irish names. But you raise a good point – and I have decided to include names that were solidly linked to the kingdoms/clans of the time. Mike.

  27. Kathi says

    Hi Mike and Carina: …. your weekly headache here again! Am truly enjoying myself but just when I think I start to learn something there’s a zillion more things to learn about Ireland. A “fix” for my life long passion.

    I admit that I haven’t studied this writing too closely, yet – but any help will be appreciated. I can’t say I know where in Donegal my father’s dad came from but his mother, Dunleavy, was from Ballina. From everything I’ve learned, her family didn’t move around all that much – mostly County Mayo. Can you help point me to them in the these tribes?

    My Mom’s Irish connection is just as strong but I have hardly any information. Gillespie from Armagh and Murphy from maybe Roscommon? Oh well, I’ll settle for any help at all.

    Thanks and take care

    • Mike says

      Hi Kathi – the Dunleavys were in Ulidh in my map – where they were the royals! Shortly after they went west to Donegal – and then down to Connaught – where your story picks up.

      Gillespie were, I think in the Airgialla (Armagh) – so I’ll add them to the post.

      Murphy were a few different tribes around Ireland – one of the groups were the Connaught Murphys in Roscommon – I’ll add thos also. All the best, Mike.

  28. Colleen Pyles says

    Our Patterson family came from a small village called Ballypitmaeve in Atrim, which I understand is no longer there. They were farmers.

    • Mike says

      Thanks for sharing Colleen – the Patterson name would have arrived in those parts a few hundred years after the time (1150) we are looking at. Ahh – the shifting sands of time! Mike.

  29. Bettie says

    After 10 years still struggling with my Conaty from cavan married to a Curran from Tyrone. Both immigrated to Delaware USA about 1910. Am now at that brick wall. any help on tribe for conaty. found my curran. THANKS

    • Mike says

      Hi Bettie – Conaty is a version of Connaghty (Ó Connachtaigh) from County Cavan. That would be part of Breifne in the map above. All the best – Mike.

  30. Linda Irish says

    Hello again, I will wait patiently for more info on the Irish surname. In the mean time my mother’s side of the family is Henaughan which I hear is from County Mayo. Any tidbits on them?
    Thanks, Linda irish

    • Mike says

      Hi Linda – I already answered your first question – see further down this page. Henaughan? Sounds like it should be Henaghan – from the Irish Ó hÉineacháin – Connaught – Mayo – the Uí Fiachrach tribe. Mike.

  31. Mary Smith says

    Hi Mike I have several lines in Ireland. Sullivan, Fitzgerald’s from Kerry. Patrick’s and Mary. What a joy!! Foley from Cork. I always see these but also have Loughran from Tyrone, Mackle from possibly Antrim and Morrow from ?? That I don’t see. Also does Fitzgerald and possibly other Fitz’s follow the Fitzpatrick’s info?

    • Mike says

      Hi Mary – the Morrows can be an English planter name OR it can be from the MacMorrows – a family from Breifne in the map. (Leitrim). Fitzgeralds were one of the main Norman families to appear in Ireland after the Norman invasion. But that is later than this map depicts. Mike.

  32. Elizabeth Jones says

    Mike, Hope your right hand is better now that you’ve rested it a bit :-). My gr gr gr grandmother was Catherine Linskey from Galway. Am I correct, Linskey and Lynch are from the same “root”? Also, I believe that a 5th gr grandmother’s maiden name was Huroisk but I can’t find anything about that name. She was from Sligo. Any help you can give would be welcome. Thank you. Elizabeth

    • Mike says

      Hi Elizabeth – you’re right about Linskey – its from the Irish Ó Loinscigh which is also similar to the Irish for Lynch.

      On Huroisk – I don’t recognise this name at all. I wonder is it a mispelling or variant? You might be looking for the Irish name Ó hUaruisce which translates to Houriskey or Horish. Mike.

      • Elizabeth Jones says

        Hi Mike, One further question concerning Houriskey. Which county was that from? The 5th great grandmother I spoke of was from Sligo, I believe. Her husband had the surname Judge. Also, that same family line has a family that was listed as Murtagh sometimes and as Moriarty in other places. It was one of the Moriarty members who came to the states. Thanks for all of your good information and hard work. Elizabeth

  33. Jan Jarrold says

    Mike, thank you for sharing all this wonderful information! I notice tha the name “Carroll” appears within several of the tribes. Would you please explain why this is?

    Thank you!

    Jan

    • Mike says

      Hi Jan – you’re welcome. The reason you often see a family name happen in many areas is because it was based on a first name that was popular in many parts of the country. A first name such as “Cearbhaill”. Mike.

  34. Alana Chaune Hedigan says

    Hi Mike

    Thank you for the time you have given to our family heritage!!
    My family are the Hedigan’s from Galbally who owned the family Victuallers & Butchery …the Hedigan’s also have the Brian Boru pub in Dublin which has been in our family for over 200 years, I had heard they were from the Vikings!!! could you give me more info on them and I also saw from my grans side the Roche family were royals… So where did the originate from?

    • Mike says

      Hi Alana – you’re welcome! Interesting story about your Hedigans – but I think they were from Clare in the really early days. Roches were a Norman family (so won’t be on our map above). They moved into the area around Fermoy in County Cork (displacing the O’Keefes and others) – and are still much around the Cork area. Mike.

  35. Patrick Murray says

    Mike, I thank you for all the hard work you do! Its a tremendous help to see where the family names come from so long ago. My family names are , Murray – Barry-Gaffney and maybe Collins. In the 1850′s they were around County Meath. Then around 1880 +- they went to U.K then off to Boston. Before 1854 I have no real proof of where they came from.
    Thanks again.
    Patrick

    • Mike says

      Hi Patrick – thanks for the feedback. Thats a great collection of names you have there. SOunds like many of them moved towards Meath over time as most of these names are originally from other counties. All the best – Mike.

  36. Genie Quinn Donley says

    Found my Quinn name on Donegal. That’s what I had been told before. Others said Tyrone. I think I’ll just go with Donegal.
    Thanks so much. Love the Newsletter !!

    • Mike says

      Thanks for the feedback Genie – There are several seperate Quinn tribes around Ireland, but the northern Quinns are typically from the Northern Ui Neill and from Tyrone – just a hop from Donegal! Mike.

  37. Mary (Foley) Hurst says

    What an ambitious undertaking! Thank you so much for all your research! We Foleys seem to have been a large but quiet clan…mostly from County Waterford I believe. At any rate, I don’t think there was any royalty among my ancestors. I suppose that’s to be expected given the fact that the name means “marauder” (wink). Still it’s a name I’m proud to wear…and will be heading over to the shop one of these first days so purchase some goods for my sisters and myself so that we can “wear” the name in a literal
    sense! Thank you, Mike.

    • Mike says

      Hi Mary – thanks for your feedback! Yep – you are spot on about the Foleys – and thansk for all your support! Mike.

  38. Linda Sargent (Knee) says

    Hi Mike,
    My cousin has been able to visit Ireland several time and do a lot of research on our surname Knee . here are a few emails that we have sent each other. Thought you might find them interesting.
    I have been able to track the Knee lineage as far back as I can (685….no,
    not 1685, but the year 685) with a great deal of assistance of the Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland) Genealogical Department. As a matter of fact after I was able to trace the family back to 685, I received about two years later a letter from the Trinity College Department, telling me that the family (O’NIADH……or original of our name Knee) actually arrived in Ireland in
    610 from the MacGregor Clan of Scotland.
    The name O’NIADH was bestowed on our ancestors in Ireland by King Black Leg O’Niadh for “valor in battle_ for the tribe’s (or clan’s) efforts in
    battling invading “armies” from Norway, Sweden and or Denmark

    Your Irish Heritage Hey O’Niadh clan – this is the surname of a Kerry family but later moved to Foynes, in Co. Limerick. The name is now most common in West Galway – you will also find the island of Inis Ní just across from the village of Roundstone in Galway – named after guess-which family? The O’Neills would be a different clan

    Island in the sun
    A spring walk on one of Connemara’s less visited islands

    Lenny Antonelli
    Sat, Apr 27, 2013, 05:00
    First published: Sat, Apr 27, 2013, 05:00

    Inis Ní always seemed elusive to me. I had often passed the seductive signpost for the island after coming over the vast and empty Roundstone bog. Just when you think you’ve found the wildest coast in Connemara, there is Inis Ní, stretching further into the sea.

    The island’s new looped walking trail seemed a good excuse to finally explore it. On a grey April day the cone of nearby Cashel Hill had emerged from the mist to dominate this bogscape. But slowly the sun came out and dissolved the cloud, revealing the Twelve Bens, which dwarfed everything.
    You can see why this mountain range is iconic: their clustered, alpine profile pierces the skyline from north Connemara right down to the Burren.
    Inis Ní is one of the most northerly outposts of the south Connemara Gaeltacht. But in Listening to the Wind , the first of his Connemara trilogy of books, Tim Robinson says use of the language has declined to the point that it is no longer a bona fide Irish-speaking community. The island’s name, he says, might relate to the surname Ó Niadh.
    The trail followed a quiet road past granite walls caked in lichen and moss, old peatland inundated by the tides, and patches of earth blackened by the burning of gorse. There were signs of modern Ireland too, like obtrusive bungalows and unfinished buildings, but the deeper into Inis Ní you go the further you feel from 21st century Ireland.
    The trail runs down the west side of the island, looking over the water to sandy Gorteen Bay, Errisbeg Hill and the village of Roundstone.
    According to Tim Robinson, the island’s tradition says local landlord Patrick Blake evicted what few tenants remained after the famine and turned Inis Ní into a sheep ranch. This was before the first bridge was built, when the island could only be reached by scrambling across rocks at low tide. But when the ranch failed, Blake brought new settlers in from nearby Carna.
    I walked down to a pier overlooking Roundstone Bay, and stopped to explore the tidepools. These habitats are our own miniature coral reefs, rich in biodiversity. In one I counted beadlet anemones, polychaete worms, a rock goby, tiny crustaceans, limpets, dog whelks, and algae and lichens.
    In The Story of Connemara , Patricia Kilroy writes that a Mrs Faherty of Inis Ní, recalled, “the joy of welcoming the travelling fiddler, the dancing in a cottage that night, followed the next night by crossroads dancing – for no house could contain the crowds. In fact, most elderly Connemara people remembered the happiness of their youth rather than the hardship.”
    The sun was out, the scent of gorse filled the air and cattle dozed on the grass. I left the marked trail and took a cul-de-sac towards the island’s barren southern tip, where a cacophony of birdsong emanated from the heath. I made my way back to the marked route past the ruined chapel of St Mathias, another small harbour, and back towards mainland Connemara.
    Map: OSI Discovery Series Sheet 44 or Tim Robinson’s map of Connemara published by Folding Landscapes. Trail map at irishtrails.ie.
    Suitability: Easy. Minor roads and tracks. Start and finish: The turn for Inis Ní/Inishnee is off the R341 2km north-east of Roundstone. Cross the bridge and the trailhead is on your left.
    Distance and time: 6km,two hours. My extension added an extra 3km.

    Thanks for the info on the family of O’Niadh. I found that we were in
    western Ireland from the Genealogical Center at Trinity College back in
    2000. At least most of those with the name O’Niadh or O’Knee, Knee, Nee,
    etc.
    I did not know about the island of Inis Ni, but will look into it out of curiosity if nothing else. It was my understanding that a translation of
    the O’Niadh in northern Ireland was to O’Neill…….merely a different
    language base, Gaelic vrs Celtic…..at least that is what I was told at
    Trinity College and verified at a “Search Your Ancestry” session at the
    main Cincinnati (OH) Library’s Genealogical Section here in Cincinnati, OH.
    It is O’NIADH cousin! This is O’Knee is southern Ireland and O’Neill in northern. Celtic vrs Gaelic. It means “descendant of the hero”.

    • Mike says

      Hi Linda – thanks very much for sharing – I have also sent you a private email on some items in your post. Mike.

  39. Joe Broderick says

    I was wondering if you had any information on Broderick (O’Bruadair). Is it Viking or Gaelic in origination?

    “Ó Bruadair – (O) Broder or Broderick – Co Cork, Limerick and Galway “

    • Mike says

      A bit of both Joe – the name comes from a Norse first name – so there is probably a lot of mixed Gaelic and Viking blood in the family! mike.

  40. Jackie (Lynch) Donkin says

    Hi Mike,

    Very interested to see the Lynch’s came from Connaught. My Father always told me his grandfather was Irish and he believed him to be born in Mullingar. However he did say that this grandfather was married twice, one in Eire and once in Limavaddy in the North. It has been very difficult trying to work back to find out about the Lynch’s as it seems my grandfather was named John Lynch and his father was also John Lynch. I’ll keep on trying. My parents took my brother and I to Ireland back in 1970 and I very much loved the country. I hope to return there one day.

    Regards
    Jackie

    • Mike says

      Hi Jackie – Lynch is one of those Irish names that sprang up in many parts of the island. It can also be of later Norman origin. That can make it quite difficult to track down! Mike.

  41. Marcia Mulcahy says

    Thank you for your work. I’m still trying to find my gggrandfather Timothy Mulcahy-aobrn around 1799-1798- don’t know when he arrived in America but owned land by 1834 in Kentucky.

    DNA-we are in L-21 project for Family Tree DNA. Still working on subgroups- project for Eogonauts, Sullivans and two Mulcahys. Going to take Geno 2. DNA and then possibly the Brittian Chromo 2. test.

    A very long time looking-about 30 years. Still searching. I know we have family in Ireland and want to meet them before I leave this earth. Your work is just facinating and adds so much to what I have already accumulated. Can you relate again your findings of the Mulcahys??

    I will buy your book.

    Marcia

    • Mike says

      Hi Marcia – thanks for sharing and the feedback. I’m sure if you have spent 30 years search you know a lot more about the Mulcahys than I do! Usually found in North Munster – Tipperary. I’ll add it to our watchlist and lets see what comes up! Mike.

  42. Lynn Taylor says

    When did the Tobins’ come in to Ireland? The oldest ancestor we have found is Moses Tobin was 1700′s and his son Martin Tobin 1784. Martin came to US or Cornwall Canaday area. He married Elizabeth Isabella McDonald from Scotland who was born in 1786.
    Moses Tobins wife was Mary Lyster born 1766 approx. That is all we know about him.
    We are trying to find out more about the Tobin history. Thanks so much – love the site – lots of info. Our family is doing the genealogy search. Thanks! Any help would be great.

    • Mike says

      Hi Lynn – thanks for the feedback. Tobin was a Norman name (originally St Aubyn) that came to Ireland after the 12th century. They mostly settled in the Kilkenny and Tipperary areas. Mike.

  43. Anne Marie says

    Hi Mike, I was able to find my ggrandmothers naturalization papers online. She listed my ggrandfather as being from Donegal. The last name is “Fox” (b. 1863) Is that a common name for that area?

    • Mike says

      Hi Anne Marie – Fox would be quite unusual for County Donegal to the best of my knowledge. If is one of those “angicisations” (synonym) for a few different Gaelic names. But you will mainly find it originating in County Offaly. Mike.

      • Anne Marie says

        That could account for my running into a dead end when tracing the “Fox” family tree. I was searching “Fox” in Donegal based on info from ggrandmothers naturalization papers. Regretfully, I do not have his parents name or any other family member. I do remember my dad saying he thought the name was changed (not by choice) when arriving in the US. Fortunately, I have had much better luck with my Byrne (paternal grandmother) family. So I do know where some of my roots were planted. Thanks for the info….

  44. Patty McCoy says

    Tracing the McCoy side of the family. I’ve been told the name appears in Antrim, Armagh, Cork & Kerry. Is it a variation of McGee? Can you verify any of this for me? Thanks, Patty

    • Mike says

      Patty – almost exactly right. BUT – both McCoy and McGee are forms of the Irish “Mac Aodha”. The McCoy family are mostly in north Ulster. Mike.

  45. Sue says

    When did the Bergin name first show up in Ireland? I was told that a book that is no longer in print said the name was in the Geashill area but I don’t know what time frame that would be.

    • Mike says

      Hi Sue – the Bergin name – like many Gaelic surnames – came about sometime before the 13th century. They were always a clan but the surname system only came about from the 900s onwards. Geashill is in County Offaly – but the Bergins had moved mostly to County Laois. Mike.

      • Sue says

        When do you expect this book to come out? Or in other words do you have a tentative date? I do genealogy and am from the Bergin and Scully line. My Scully line is a huge brick wall for me and the Bergin line even though I have more info on it I am only back to the 1798 time frame. I have an obit saying that my Bergin line was from Kings and I can’t seem to get it narrowed down from there. I would like to read your books and see what is says about the family lines to hopefully get a better understanding of how they moved around, so I am hoping your book is going to tell stuff like that.

  46. sarah says

    My family names are O’banion, Stoker, Thomason, and Welch– I know the first two originated in Ireland, but that’s about all I know of it… I would love to know more if possible! Thank you!

    • Mike says

      Hi Sarah – O’Banion (also O’Bannon) from either county Offaly or Fermanagh.

      Stoker is an English surname that arrived in Ireland from the 1500s onwards – spread throughout the country but mostly in Dublin.

      Thomason – I don’t have on record.

      Welch (also Walsh/Welsh) is throughout the country. Came to Ireland with the Normans from the 1100s onwards. Means a person from Wales (where the Normans came from!).

      Hope this helps – Mike.

  47. Diane Sinnett says

    My ancestor Edward Sinnott, son of William Sinnott & Jane O’Neil , came to Gaspe.province of Quebec 1778 .. Hoping to find trace of this family one day..!! .

  48. Kenneth McCartney says

    Hi trying to find some relatives in Northern Ireland. The McCartney family in settled in Ireland from Scotland in 1621. Theophilus McCartney immigrated to Canada in the 1871. His parents were Alexander and Ellen Robb. and he lived in Newtownards , Down Ireland . What tribe would we be with Thanks for the great work. Will this book be available in Canada

    • Mike says

      My straight answer is – I don’t know for sure! The internet, and many books, are full of stories that people present as facts – and insist on them being correct. I think it is more useful to have an open mind – and be prepared to entertain a number of possibilities.

      Let me give you a couple of these possibilities – and you can decide which works best for you!

      One of the stories you will hear about the surname McCartney is that:

      “The McCartneys are a branch of the great family of McCarthys in Munster in the south of Ireland. The fifth son of Cormac Fionn McCarthy was Donogh Cartnach who is the ancestor of the McCartneys. Donough Cartnach left 2 sons, the eldest Donal served under Robert the Bruce’s of Scotland and received a grant of land in Argylleshire, called ‘Glen Artney’ from the King of Scotland in the 1200s.

      Some of Donal’s descendants later moved to Galloway. From there George Macartney emigrated to Ulster from Scotland in the 1600s. He is the original ancestor of many of the families of Macartney in Ulster and Ireland. He bought the property of Lissanoure in 1649 near Cloughmills Co. Antrim.” (source – Wikipedia).

      Now – wouldn’t that be a nice story to believe!

      One the other hand:

      “McCartney is cognate with the Irish surname McCartan. McCartan is derived from Mac Artáin, which denotes the son of Artán (Artan is a diminutive version of the surname Art) – and was the surname was taken by chiefs of Kinelarty in County Down. The McCartans belong to the Uí Echach Cobo branch of the Dál nAraidi dynasty of the Cruthin.” (source – Wikipedia). This suggests that a branch of the McCartans moved to Scotland at some time OR share a common ancestor.

      Now, I know I’m being a bit of a devil by suggesting that the source for both of these is Wikipedia – but you do need to be careful of what you read on the internet – specially on Wikipedia!

      So, back to Kenneths question: Which tribe do the McCartneys belong to?

      Well – they could have been originally “Eoghanacht” (McCarthys of Munster) OR the Dal nAraidi (which ironically were a Cruthin tribe who originally came from the east coast of Scotland!).
      Of course, when they travelled to Scotland they become part of the Clan Mackintosh.

  49. ANA CASTRILLON MULVIHILL says

    Mis ancestros Mulvihill vinieron en 1890 a Argentina desde Lognford. Me gustaria saber su origen, ya que no aparece en la lista de apellidos. Gracias

  50. says

    Hi, my greatgrandfather, his brother & mother arrived in Canada from County Down about 1824 t work on building the Well and Canal. Is our surname Irish or Scottish? I am having difficulty finding any information in Ireland.

    • Mike says

      A couple of possibilities James:
      1. From the Irish surname MacDarragh – found in County Antrim.
      2. From the scottish surname Darroch – this would also be found in County Down and Antrim.

      All the best – Mike.

  51. Matyann Rowand says

    I’m doing some researchon my maternal grandmother’s line, surname Colgan.
    I found a court case in whiche it states that Bernard Colgan was born before 1797 in Ireland and lists his siblings as Andrew, John, Mary, Thomas and Kiernan b 1816 (my great, great grandfather). Bernard died in 1845, before our census records became more detailed. Any ideas on how I can find where in Ireland they were born?

    • Mike says

      Hi Matyann – Colgans are usually from one of two different places – either county Derry or county Offaly. Offaly would have been known as “Kings County” at the time you are looking. Derry was known as County Londonderry. Mike.

  52. Remy Mcafee says

    Hi mike this is my first time looking up my irish heritage I wanted to know id you could tell me where the name Mcafee would be at?

  53. says

    Have information that takes Stevens/ Stephens/ Stevanus to Moorefield Cross Roads, Galway, Ireland
    Amos Stevens/ Stephens/ Stevanus born 1756 in above location, his father Alexander Stevanus about 1720 location unknown; Amos married Roseanna Bicomb of Moorefield Cross Roads.
    I have hit a road block, can you suggest where I can look.
    Are there any records from there that could help me?
    DNA has been done, I carry the Celtic gene.

  54. Nora Headley says

    My immediate grandparents were_O’Donoghue (Newmaket on Fergus), Herrick, Farrell and Finner. I “inherited” boxes of Finner family history when one of my brothers passed away in 2012. The snag is that my great-great grandfather Benjamin Finner is listed as being born in England about 1795. His wife, Mary Mantil, was born in County Cork (1806). It has long been diputed in my birth family, whether Finner was originally Irish or English. My husband and I, were in Ireland in May, and found Finner Road Roundabout at Bundoran. Since we can’t find evidence of Benjamin’s parents, I wonder, if perhaps, if they might have been Irish.

    • Mike says

      Hi Nora – I can’t answer for sure as I do not have any documentation on this being a name found in Ireland. My guess would be that it is a Planter name – but that is only a guess. Mike.

  55. says

    I am looking for Brown’s and Montgomery’s. Can you tell me anything at all about locations where they might be? Are they Scotch, Irish and where to locate-I am just getting started-any help appreciated!

    • Mike says

      Hi Patricia
      Brown = Anglo-Norman name – one of the “Tribes of Galway”. Often found in Counties Galway and Limerick.
      Montgomery = usually a planter name in Ulster from the 1600s. All the best – Mike.

  56. James Collett says

    Thank you for allowing me to join this page and allowing me to read all the articles. I find them very helpful. My family is based out of upstate NY. I am trying to find as much information as I can about our name as I am then able to make a christmas gift for my grandmother. My last name is Collett and my grandmothers name is McSheehy. I believe we were based out of Cork but that obviously is possibly just our leaving point . We are very proud of our Irish heritage. Any bits of information or links you may be able to let me know of I would greatly appreciate. thank you again for the acceptance, I do greatly enjoy reading everything.

    • Mike says

      Hi James – good to have you here! The McSheehys were from Cork. They were originally a Galloglass (mercenary Norse soldiers from the Hebrides) who settled in Ireland after the 1200s. Collett I don’t know! All the best, Mike.

  57. Pam Fraser says

    Hello Mike, Thrilled to discover this page! My forebears are Wiley (Wylie), McGrath, Hartigan and Synott. The last 3 names seem to be fairly common in Ireland but the Wiley(Wylie) name is the one which I’m most interested. I know my gr. grandfather Robert and his two brothers & a sister all lived in Aghnahoo Glebe, Templecarn Donegal before they came to Australia in 1856 but have problems beyond that. Hope you can give me some advice. My first visit to the page so I’ll enjoy also finding what I can about the other three names. Thanks for your help (in anticipation).

    • Mike says

      Hi Pam – great to have you here! On Wylie – this was an English planter name that came to Ulster in the 1600s. All the best – Mike.

  58. Sheila Foster Iacono says

    Four of my third great grandparents were born in Ireland and some of their descendants immigrated to Canada. Looking at your Tuadmumu information covering the counties of Clare, Limerick, North Tipperary, I see two names in the family (O) Hogan and Ahern. It also seems possible that Conrick and Redmond may have evolved from possibly (Mac) Conway and (O) Reddan ?? Anyways, it is nice to see that Tipperary might not be just a family story. Always looking…. Thanks for the info.

  59. Maureen says

    I can never find my family name: Kealy on any Irish name lists, although I’ve seen photos of a pub in Ireland called “Kealy’s”. Would like any info about the origin, meaning and ancestry of the name. We live in central NY, USA. and are at least 4th generation American. Thank you!

    • Mike says

      Hi Maureen,
      Kealy is one of those names that can be the English version of a few Irish names. It can be found in various parts of the country including Armagh, Laois, Meath etc. The Irish form can be “Ó Caollaidhe” or “Ó Cadhla” or “Ó Céile”. The best way to narrow it down is to find out more about where your relatives departed from. Hope this helps – Mike.

  60. Carol says

    I saw a version of my name in the Airgialla section. MacNally. We spell it McAnally. I know this is a stupid question but is there a difference and what it would be?

  61. virginia says

    am looking for Mulleady and Mac Graths. Can you tell me anything at all about locations where they might be? Thank You

    • Mike says

      Hi Virginia,
      Mulleady = County Westmeath
      McGrath = a number of different clans: Waterford OR Clare OR Donegal/Fermanagh

      All the best – Mike.

  62. Nancy Irwin says

    Mike, I know you mentioned it once before…can you tell me again where you think the Scottish Irwins settled in Ireland? We have family coming to Ireland next summer to try to find the area(s). Thanks! Best of luck in your new endeavor!
    Nancy Irwin

    • Mike says

      Hi Nancy – the Irwins would have settled in various parts of Ulster and in County Roscommon. All the best and thanks for the best wishes. Mike.

  63. Lauri Finnegan Roman says

    Hi Mike,
    What a job you haven done! I know we all appreciate the time you have spent and I look forward to your book as well.
    I see that Finnegans show up in two parts of the island, are they different clans?
    Also, I’m a McCarty, which I understand runs with McCarthy who were from Kerry.
    Like most here, I sure wish they didn’t keep using the first names over and over. Sure makes finding families tough!
    Thanks again for your page!

    • Mike says

      Hi Lauri – I do like your point about first names, but it does make things interesting! Finnegans were different clans all right. On McCarthy – they were (and still are) very prominent in County Kerry and Cork. Thanks for the feedback and all the best – Mike.

  64. says

    Hi, my grandfather’s side, Boyle, came from County Cork. There is a MacGill mixed in on that side, as well, that I know of. My grandmother’s side, O’Boyle(married my grandfather), is from northern Ireland part, in the northeast corner. I can’t remember the county.

    • Mike says

      Hi Mike – northeast corner would be Antrim.

      The O’Boyles originally came from the north-west corner, County Donegal – where they shared the chieftaincy with the O’DOnnells. All the best – Mike.

  65. Kathleen says

    I still can’t seem to find the place location in Co.Cork, although I remember seeing it once in a history of the Sullivan’s…Berehaven. I think it was shaped like a peninsula? It’s where we came from to Nova Scotia.
    Kathleen

    • Mike says

      Hi Kathleen – if you are an O’Sullivan, that is probably “Castletownberehaven” (or Castletownbere for short) on the Beara Peninsula. That is the homwe of the Sullivan Beara clan! Mike.

  66. Janet Houlihan says

    I have many Irish names in my linage, but I want most to start with my maiden name Houlihan. It doesn’t seem to be common and I think my family came from Dingle but I’m not sure. Any info?

    • Mike says

      Hi Janet – Houlihan is quite popular in North Kerry with the spelling. Its one of those names that has a lot of different spellings around the country – but when its Houlihan, its from Munster! Mike.

  67. Susab says

    Hi Mike, My maiden name was Acheson, My mothers was McCarthy and My great grand mother was O’neil’s from county Cork. Do you have any information about Acheson’s

    • Mike says

      Hi Susan – Acheson is Sottish name that has been in Ireland since the 1600s. It is scattered in small pockets around the country. All the best – Mike.

  68. Edward Graham says

    For a name that is extremely numerous, my McBrides are taking a bit of tracking down. Mine were from Portaferry, County Down and I have traced back to my G.Grandfather, Archibald McBride, married in 1855. After that, I’m stuck, should I continue looking in Down or did the McBrides originate elsewhere ?

    Edward Graham

    • Mike says

      Hi Edward – the surname McBride comes from COunty Donegal where it is most numerous.

      However! – when it is found in east Ulster (Down etc.) it can be of Scottish origin and therefore a Scottish planter name. That may be a useful line of enquiry for you. All the best – Mike.

  69. says

    Hi! Thanks for the preview! I come from McHugh’s and Gallagher’s and your information further supports what I’ve already been researching for years. I have “Carson’s” on both my family lines. Some claimed Scotts-Irish descent while the other line claims only Irish descent and were from County Antrim. Any idea where the truth or middle ground lies? My only conclusions thus far is they’re originally from Scotland and made the fantastic decision to jump to beautiful Ireland. Any help is greatly appreciated. Can’t wait to get the book!

    • Mike says

      Hi Lori – you’re welcome! On the surname Carson – that is a name of Scottish origin, but very numerous in Antrim since the 1600s. All the best, Mike.

  70. Linda Day says

    Hi Mike, thanks for all your work on surnames/dates/etc. I found Long but did not see Trotter anyway. Is it only English? Thanks so much,

  71. Jerry Herring says

    Hey Mike, thanks to a friend on Facebook I found this, and its been nice to read and learn on some surnames. Fine job you are doing with all the replys and all. Now for my turn in asking a question about a surname, lol. When I was in high school not too long ago we had a project to do about family history, and through the asking of my relatives I found that in the 1800s I had some relatives come over from Ireland but thats the furthest back I can find, the name I was given was Kayo, know anything about that one?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Mike says

      Hi Jerry – good to have you here!

      Kayo is a difficult one – it may have been subject to chinese whispers down through the years ….

      My best guess is that is is a name like Kee or McKay or McGee- all of these names from from the Gaeilc “Mac Aoidh” – which means son of Hugh. Do let me know if you get more information.
      All the best – Mike.

  72. Reva Callaway says

    As an Irish Callaway, I have often searched for my name.
    My Grandmother told me it was originally spelled Callaweigh…later I was advised that it was corrupted from Calbhaigh to MacCallabhaigh.
    Pleeeese, don’t tell me it is an English planter name- I will be forever heartbroken.
    THX for any help…even if it is the dreaded EP…

    • Mike says

      Hi Reva – its normally anglicised as Calway in Counties Mayo and Sligo and comes from the Irish Mac an Chalbhaigh. :) Mike.

  73. Jane Tracy says

    Hi Mike,
    I found my O’Tracy name in your map above and now have come across a gr grandmother with the last name of MacHendrick or MacKendrick from Waterford Ireland. Would either of those spellings be on your list from the Waterford area? I have also been able to find Tracys from Hacketstown, Carlow, Ireland which I believe is a gr gr grandmother. When and from where did the Smith name originate from as that is a maiden name from the same area in Carlow. Will your book have information and links to assist with searches for our Irish ancestors?

    Thanks,
    Jane

    • Mike says

      Hi Jane – yep, usually spelled Kendrick without the Mc in Munster – from the Irish Mac Eanraic

      Smith is often from the Irish “Mac Gabhann” with means “Son of the Smithy”

      On the book – yes it will – but more in the way of helping you fill in the bigger picture of the surnames in your family and the places they come from. However, I will also include a list of other resources for more fact finding.

      All the best – Mike.

  74. Bettie Conaty says

    Mike I know this is a dumb question but have you been to Cavan yet. I have been following you on facebook and so far I either missed it or you are not there yet. Getting back to searching again. Seems like family in US have been estranged for years and most are no longer alive.

    • Mike says

      Thanks for sharing Mike – now added to our list. The name Grogan was from Connaught but is now found all over Ireland. Mike.

  75. Mary says

    Hi,
    I believe my family the Heffernan’s came from County Clare and from what I had found out so far we are from the original Heffernan Clan. I was wondering if you could tell me any information on them. Thanks.

    • Mike says

      Hi Mary – they were indeed from Clare, but moved further southeast to the Limerick/Tipperary Border where they were chiefs of Owneybeg for a time – and you will find many of them there today. All the best – Mike.

  76. Johnhorse says

    My mothers side of the family was O’Neil.My mothers father was Edward James O’Neil my Grand Father and I remember he said his father came over from Ireland around 1880,I never knew my Great Grand Fathers first name. When he was on his way west in a wagon train around 1882 he met his future wife.My great grand Mother was a member of the Osage Tribe of North Eastern Oklahoma.Her maiden name was Whitehorse they were married around 1883 or 84.Now that I’m older there are volumes of questions I would have asked my Great Grand Mother, she died in 1956 or my Grand Father who passed in 1983 but was ether to young at the time or wasn’t at my parents home any more.That is about all the info I presently have about the O’Neil s side

  77. Deborah Abbott says

    I did not realize that my fathers family name of Field is Irish. Was surprised to see that and thank you. They all talk about being English and not Irish descent on that side. However, I did not see my mothers family name of Glynn listed. They immigrated to the US about 1860 or so…..I always thought they were from the western part of Ireland but some insight here would be helpful.

    Thank you.

    • Mike says

      Hi Deborah – Field in Ireland is sometimes of English origin, but often of Norman origin and sometimes a Gaelic name also – a real all-rounder!

      Glynn is McGlynn – it came from Westmeath originally by moved out into Clare and the western counties. Mike.

  78. Cathey Stewart says

    Cassidy and Coffey from Cork and Roscomman. Unfortunately Grandfather ended up in a Brooklyn orphanage and we have little more than his parents names to go on.

  79. says

    Very informative unfortunately doesn’t bring me closer to my ancestry. Im stuck at the arrival in USA in 1851 and no record anywhere tells me where they were from in Ireland, seems all documents mention place of birth and origin as Ireland but no locale or township. In some cases the death certificates can not even be located. Arrrgh that’s not an Irish name there ;-) Its frustration LOL

  80. Deb says

    I pretty well expected to see MacHale in Connaught but never realized the name was of such early origin. Castlebar is the town where Mary Sheridan and William McHale lived before there emmigration to USA. Ballina and Westport have also been mentioned in family stories.

  81. Mary E Moosa (nee White) says

    I was born & raised in County Sligo…My family name is White…
    I don’t see the name White /DeFaoite listed anywhere…
    I just wondered where it originated from??

    De Faoite is the Gaelic version of White…

    • Mike says

      Hi Mary – De Faoite arrived in Ireland in the 1300s from England. This map is from a time before that – we’ll have it in the next volume (its already in the present one but is located in England) all the best, Mike.

  82. Ray Feighery says

    This is what I’ve been looking for. I’ve been tracing our Surname Feighery (O’Fiachra) and this may help a lot!

  83. jimmy says

    hi mike, very interesting. I am wondering if you anything about my second name. LORDAN or O’Lordain as it is seen in Irish. this name is never in any of the published books such as this and hardly any info is available on it.I know that you will only find this name in the west of County Cork, around the catchment of kinsale and bandon. Its first mentioned in the Eliz Fiants, where two bros of the name are pardoned. I have heard theory after theory on the name, that its a sept of the O’Mahonys, the O’Briens and no one can tell me for sure. I have my doubts that it is even an irish name, as I have found a similar name in spain, and reckon it might be spanish sailors that settled in kinsale/Bandon. I dont know!!!

    • Mike says

      You are right about Cork, Jimmy – I just passed Lordans butchers in Ballinspittle yesterday. It comes from the Irish Ó Lordáin. Mike.

  84. Kristy Hoffmeister says

    My family names that came from Ireland were, Harbison, Griffith,McKiernan,Brennan, Scanlon, O’Donnell. The Harbison’s came from Antrim, Griffith’s were from Donegal. Not sure where the O’Donnell’s, McKiernan’s, Scanlon’s, or Brennan’s are from. But would love to find out.

    • Mike says

      Thats the sort of question we deal with on our letter from Ireland Kristy – just sign up for free on this page and we’ll get you started. Mike.

  85. William Berry says

    Mike just a quick question. According to the records I’ve read, my surname BERRY came from the Norman conquest of 1066. Another part says my surame comes from ÓBeara. Shortly after the English came my family followed them to England. Most of my family records are either lost or destroyed. Any help with this would be appreciated! Thanks bud.

    William-

    • Mike says

      Hi William – yep, you are talking about the English name Berry there.

      However – many English names were “pegged” to Irish names over the centuries. In the case of Berry it was mostly used for Béara – which is more often anglicised as Beary. They were from Offaly and were a branch of the Dempseys. Mike.

  86. Bridgette L. Rallo says

    I never see anything about our family name, Brannigan. I know they emigrated from Count Tyrone but little else. Where did they originate?

    • Mike says

      Hi Bridgette – Brannigan comes from Counties Armagh/Monaghan – but at the time of this map they would have been part of the Cenel Eoghain. Mike.

  87. Ryan Keating says

    Hi there, I really love this and I just staryed getting into my familys geanology. My mothers side is easy they have our three main main family branches mapped out for centuries going back its remarkable, but on my dads side its a little more murky. That’s where Keating comes in and I know that my great grandfather was second generation here in America straight from Ireland and his family settled in Boston, but we really had no contact with much of his family and both my great grandparents died, so that lead is out. Where would I start looking for Keating since I didn’t see it on your map at all?

    • Mike says

      Hi Ryan – the reason you don’t see Keating on this map is that they ghad yet to arrive in Ireland in 1156. Keating is a Norman name that arrived in Ireland in the 1200s and settled mostly in the counties of Wexford and Kilkenny. Mike.

  88. says

    Hi Mike, I looked thru all the tribes and didn’t see any Dunnes? My known ancestors came from Clogorrow, north of Athy, Co.Kildare. I had read that the Dunnes / O’Neills were allies against the Brits in Cloneslee. Any thoughts? ED

    • Mike says

      Hi Edward – well spotted – that was oversight on my part in this article (since corrected in the book). Dunnes were lords of an expensive part of modern County Laois. Mike.

  89. Ann Ahern Hanson says

    Hi, first of all thank you for everything that you do in helping us learn more about our Irish heritage. My ancestors’ surnames are Ahern, Barry, and Healy. Ahern and Barry are my paternal grandfather’s ancestry, and Healy is my maternal grandmother’s ancestry. I haven’t yet done research on the Healy name. I have some research to do here in the US first. I have researched the Ahern family back to my G-G-grandfather and they were located in Cork County. I am assuming that the Barry’s too were from Cork. I am enjoying doing the research and hopefully will be able to find information on my G-G-G grandfather (Ahern). Again, thanks so much for the information you provide. It is certainly helping me find my past! Take care.

    • Mike says

      Hi Ann – thank you for letting me know! You are right about the Barry name. Regarding the Healy name, I wrote about it today in the Letter from Ireland. The Cork Healys were from Donoghmore in north Cork originally. Mike.

  90. Bonnie says

    My ancestors surnames that I have are Savage, Doyle, Welsh (or Walsh). I have been told that Savage originates from County Down, but cannot find them there now. The Savages came over in approx 1851 to the USA. The Doyle’s came over in 1870. I want to find more information on them in Ireland. Can you guide me in the direction to find information?

    • Mike says

      Hi Bonnie – Savage was a Norman family that settled in County Down in the 1200s alright. Lots of them there even today. A branch is also found in County Cork.

      Doyle is typically from Dublin down to Wexford.

      If you are looking for help on specific family records for individuals, I suggest you contact Noreen at http://www.hiberniaroots.com – she should point you in the right direction. Mike.

  91. John Kilkelly says

    Hi Mike, my surname (Kilkelly) is fairly uncommon so was half expecting it to be missing from above. Suitably impressed to see it listed.
    I’ve found it difficult to find info on its origins. I know it comes from Galway and believe we were linked to the O’Kellys. I also heard there was another clan called Killykellys. Not sure if there is any link there.
    Appreciate if you can shed some light.
    Where can I get hard copy of your book?
    Go raibh mait agat.

    • Mike says

      Famous family in Galway/Connemara – Genealogists/Historians to the O’Flahertys. Killkelly and Killikelly are from the same Irish name. Not linked with the O’Kellys except for some Killkellys who took on the Kelly surname along the way.

      On the Tribes of Ireland book – only available as ebook. The “Letter from Ireland” book is available as a hard copy on Amazon. All the best – Mike.

  92. Susan says

    My Irish names are Hayes/Hays, Shea, and McCauley (lots of different spellings for this one). This is a great article and I’m thrilled to have found this site.

  93. Karen Galaway Gathright says

    Hi Mike, was just wondering about where in Ireland my family name is from, which is Galaway. I was told it’s a part of Ireland that is now a part of Scotland. And also wondering about my married name Gathright, where is it from. Any help wouled be appreciated.
    Thank you Karen Gathright

  94. helen o'shea kingi says

    Greetings from NZ.. I too have ancestry of Miles O’shea Sullivan…Edmund o’shea married Johanna Sullivan in NZ in 1869…just cant find any connections tried DNA testing .. so far some 5-6 generation matches but cant come forward….Thomas Shea would have been born about 1795 .. wife Nellie Miles..any clues so gratefully recceived
    THERE WERE 10 CHN BAPTIZED AT whitesland near Callan 1820-1840……..so proud of my Irish ancestry… Helen O;Shea…

  95. Mike says

    Hi Helen – DNA testing is difficult to use for this sort of thing as I believe it is still in its infancy and there are not really enough people on the database. For a problem as specific as this, I suggest you contact Noreen at http://www.hiberniaroots.com – she should point you in the right direction. Mike.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *