Varieties & Synonyms Of Irish Christian & Surnames

If you’ve ever been perplexed by finding records for an ancestor with contradictory names – ie:- Johanna, Julia, Judith, Jane; or a Garrett who becomes a Gerald or Gerard – then this book’s for you!

First published in Dublin in 1890, this version is dated 1901; it will have you smiling and gnashing your teeth with hardly a pause between the two. So don’t read it in public! But read it – you will be glad you did.

Most of the book is included in this post and there’s a link at the bottom where you can get your own copy.

Varieties And Synonyms Of Surnames And Christian Names
In Ireland.
For The Guidance Of Registration Officers And The Public In Searching The Indexes Of Births, Deaths, And Marriages.

PREFACE [image 9]

The First Edition of this book was issued in the year 1890 with the object of assisting Registration Officers and the Public searching the Indexes of Births, Deaths, and Marriages by collating the varieties in the form and spelling of names usually met with, and also those names differing altogether in form, which had been ascertained to be used interchangeably.

A careful note has been made during the decade of cases where additional varieties or peculiarities in Surnames and Christian names have come under notice in this Office, or have been reported by local Officers.

In view of the revision of the Work, I addressed a special circular to the Superintendent Registrars and Registrars asking for information as to the nomenclature in their respective Districts, and I now beg to thank those Officers who have so kindly responded to my request, and in many cases furnished additional information of interest and value.

In the preparation of this Edition I have been cordially assisted by Mr. William A. Squires, Superintendent of Records, to whom my best thanks are due.

General Register Office,
Charlemont House, Dublin,
March, 1901.


Chapter I. — Introductory Remarks, 7

Chapter II. — Surnames . . . 9

Orthographical changes, 9
Prefixes, 9
Affixes, 11
Initial letters following prefixes, 13
Initial letters, 13
Second letters, 13
Second and third letters, 14
Intermediate letters, 14
Terminals, 15
Contraction or abbreviation of names, 15
Spelling according to usual pronunciation, 15
Older forms of names, 15
Local variations in spelling and form, 17
Variations in spelling at pleasure, 18
Changes owing to illiteracy and other causes, 18

Chapter III. — Surnames, . . . 20

Use of different surnames interchangeably, 20
English and Irish names, 20
Other names used interchangeably, 24
Irregular use of maiden surnames, 25

Chapter IV. — Christian names . . . 26

Names applied to both sexes, 26
Abbreviations applicable to both sexes, 27
Abbreviations materially differing from the original name, 27
Different names used interchangeably, 28
Irish equivalents for English names, 28
Cases of incorrect spelling, 29
Peculiar names found in the Indexes, 30

Memorandum explanatory of Alphabetical List, 31

Alphabetical List of Surnames, with their varieties and synonyms, 32 [not included here]

Key to Reference numbers in Alphabetical List, 64 [not included here]

Index to Alphabetical List, 68 [not included here]

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The subject of names presents an attractive field for investigation, but some of its most interesting aspects are beyond the scope of the present treatise, which is necessarily confined to those variations and peculiarities affecting our national records of Births, Deaths, and Marriages.

In January, 1894, I prepared for the late Registrar-General a Special Report on Surnames in Ireland, with notes as to numerical strength, derivation, ethnology, and distribution, based on information extracted from the Births Indexes of the General Register Office for the year 1890. This treatise was published as an Appendix to the Twenty-ninth Annual Report of the Registrar General, and presented to Parliament.

There is, unfortunately, no complete record of the surnames in this country. An attempt was made by the Census Commissioners of 1851 to compile such a work, but when only partially done it was given up.

Our national Indexes of Births, Deaths, and Marriages for the last thirty-six years probably contain almost all the surnames in use in this country, but the information is necessarily scattered over many volumes, and the task of presenting in a complete and readable form the surnames of the population yet remains to be accomplished.

Apart from the official purpose for which they have been prepared, the Indexes form a most interesting study. Like the figures in the kaleidoscope, names are continually changing, old names dropping out and new ones appearing.

In addition to our Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Norman surnames,
we find Highland Gaelic names, represented by ” MacDougal,”
” MacGregor,” ” MacIntosh.” Welsh names are found, such as
“Morgan,” “Richards,” “Apjohn.” Danish names appear as
” Dowdall,” ” Dromgoole,” ” Gould,” ” Coppinger.” There are
many Huguenot names, as ” La Touche,” ” Du Bedat,” ” Lefroy,”
” Dubourdieu,” ” Le Fanu,” ” Drelincourt,” ” Dombrain,” ” Crommelin,”
” Boileau,” ” De Blacquiere.” Italian names are represented, as
” Bassi,” ” Ceppi,” ” Casciani.” We have various
German Palatinate names, as ” Bovenizor,” ” Delmege,” ” Switzer,”
” Doupe,” ” Teskey,” ” Shire,” and ” Moddler.” Jewish names are
found, such as ” Cohen,” ” Levi,” ” Aaron,” and the Indexes are
now showing the result of the recent migration to this country of
Jews from Russia in such names as ” Rabinovitch,” ” Weiner,”
” Matufsky, ” Hesselberg,” “Stuppel,” ” Rossin,” Winstock,”
” Greenberg,” ” Maisell,” ” Statzumsky,” ” Coplau,” ” Wachman,”
” Wedeclefsky,” and ” Fridberg.”

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None but those actually engaged in registration work can have any idea of the practical difficulties which are encountered by persons searching the Indexes, owing to the great variations in names in Ireland.

These variations are not only in spelling and form, but entirely different names are used synonymously by the same person or by members of the same family.

Many of these cases are direct translations of Irish names into English, or vice versa, while in others they are equivalents, modifications, or corruptions of them.

In a country where two different languages are spoken, it might be expected some such cases would occur, but in Ireland the practice is much more widespread than is commonly supposed.

In addition to the changes attributable to the difference of language, time has a powerful effect in altering names, which have also a tendency to assume various forms in different districts.

Illiteracy also operates in corrupting names, while they are also frequently varied in spelling and form at pleasure. It is proposed in this treatise first to analyze the orthographical changes usually met with, and then to consider the use of different surnames interchangeably.

As some peculiarities have been met with in Christian names which affect the Indexes, it has been deemed advisable to insert a notice of them.

To the alphabetical list of surnames, with their varieties and synonyms, is prefixed a short explanation of the principles on which it has been prepared. The list is followed by an Index, enabling the reader to trace without difficulty each variety to the principal name or names with which it has been found to be used interchangeably.

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CHAPTER II. Orthographical Changes in Surnames.

It would be impossible to codify all the varieties in the spelling of surnames, but the following will illustrate the character of those changes most frequently met with, and indicate the direction in which the variety may be looked for.


The most common prefixes in Ireland are the Celtic prefixes O and Mac.

I have received the following reports as to the resumption of the prefix O by Celtic families : —

Armagh District — “A very large number have added ‘ O ‘ as a prefix. Those who were formerly known as Neill are now O’Neill ; Reilly, now O’Reilly ; Hagan, now O’Hagan, &c. Indeed I think every one in my district who by any possibility could prefix the O has done so, and this was only commenced a few year”s ago. I have known earlier births registered without the O, but later ones of same family must have the O prefixed.”

Mountshannon District — ” It is becoming customary with the people of this district to add an O to such names as Callaghan, Kelly, Flanagan, Grady, Farrell,and call themselves O’Callaghan, O’Kelly, O’Flanagan, &c.”

On the other hand, the Registrar of Broughshane District, Ballymena Union, reports — ” Some families have dropped the O, as O’Hamill, Hamill ; O’Kane, Kane ; O’Mellan, Mellan ; O’Donnell, Donnell; O’Dornan, Dornan.”

Prefixes may affect the Index in several ways. The name may be given without the prefix, or the prefix may be added to the name so as to form one word, or it may be incorporated in a modified form, producing a fresh variety of the name.

The following are instances : —

Prefix Fitz. Name Harris.
With Prefix FitzHarris.
Prefix incorporated Feeharry.

Prefix M or Mac. Name Guinness.
With Prefix M’Guinness.
Prefix incorporated Maginnis.

The prefix Mac with surnames beginning with ” Il ” is
sometimes incorporated as ” Mackle,” thus: — ” MacIlhatton ” —
” Macklehattan ” ; ” MacIlmoyle ” — ” Macklemoyle.”

Prefix O. Name Reilly.
With Prefix O’Reilly.

Prefix D’, De and DeLa. Name Courcy.
With Prefix D’Courcy, De Courcy.

Name Hunt.
With Prefix De La Hunt.
Prefix incorporated Delahunt.

Prefix Le. Name Fevre.
With Prefix Le Fevre.
Prefix incorporated Lefevre.

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The tendency of a prefix to take the place of the entire name has been observed in several names such as ” Mack ” for Mackaleary, McDermott, McDonald, McEvoy, McInerney, McNamara, and McNamee, &c., and “Fitz” for “Fitzgerald,” ” Fitzsimons,” ” Fitzpatrick,” &c. With regard to this last name a Registrar reports with respect to a Birth Entry where this peculiarity was observed, — ” The name originally appears to have been ‘ Fitzpatrick,’ but the name ‘ Fitz ‘ has been used by this family for a generation, and it was the name which they have entered in the local Church Marriage Register.”

The Assistant Registrar of Garvagh District (Coleraine Union) reports that ” Fitz ” is a familiar contraction almost everywhere of all names so beginning, just as ” Mac ” is similarly used for all names beginning with it.


Affixes are found either separately or in combination with the surname.

The following instances of affixes commonly in use may be given : —
Haugh . . . Fetherston.
Fetherston Haugh.
Fetherston H.

Roe . . . McDermott.
McDermott Roe.

Sometimes names are altered both by prefixes and affixes. The name Johnston, Johnson or Jonson, affords a good illustration of this. ” Johnson,’ i.e., the son of John, is in use interchangeably with ” McShane,” i.e., the son of Shane or Shawn (Irish for John), and with ” Mac-eown,” the son of Eoin, another Irish form of John. ” McHugh,” i.e., the son of Hugh, is synonymous with ” Hewson.” ‘ McAimon,” i.e., the son of Aimon (an Irish form of Edmond), is found to be interchangeably used with ” Edmundson.”

In some districts, where there are many families of the same name, additional names are given for purposes of distinction, and these names frequently appear in the Index — thus : —

Ryan . . Ryan (Slater).
Sullivan . . Sullivan (Magrath).

The Registrar of Murroe District (Limerick Union) reports —
” There are dozens of distinctions for ‘ Ryan ‘ in this district, all well known locally.”

The Registrar of Murragh District (Bandon Union) gives the

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following affixes as in use in his district :— To the name Leary— Bue, Reagh, Dreedar, Rue ; to the name McCarthy — Cahereen, More, and Reagh, and to the name Sullivan — Beara and Bogue.

Frequently the affix is the father’s or mother’s Christian name, the mother’s maiden surname, or the grandfather’s Christian name. A Registrar of Marriages reports : — ” I know a ‘ Quinlan ‘ whose father was ‘ Cleary,’ a ‘Ryan English’ whose father was ‘ Ryan.’ ”

The entry of the birth of a “John John Murphy” was met with in Millstreet District. On inquiry the Registrar stated : — ” It is the habit in this part of the country to take the father’s name to distinguish them from others of same name ; for example, ‘ John Daniel Murphy,’ ‘ John Jeremiah Murphy,’ and as in this case, ‘John John Murphy,’ there being so many families of the same surname.”

The Registrar of Castlebar No. 1 District reports : — ” Joyce, a very common name, is distinguished by affixing father’s name, e.g., Tom Joyce (Tom), Tom Joyce (Martin), and in many cases further distinguished by any peculiarity of complexion, colour of hair, or special dress, or if exceptionally tall, and those are transmitted in the Irish language.”

The Registrar of Tuosist District (Kenmare Union) furnishes the following note : — ” The name Sullivan being exceedingly common, it is often omitted, and the Christian name of father (or mother) substituted, e.g., ‘ Johnny O’ John,’ ‘ John Williams,’ or name of farm, as ‘ Dan Rusheen,’ &c.”

Occasionally the complexion of the members gives a surname to the family, e.g., Mike Bawn, or a distinction is made as ” Shawn Og ” — ” Young John.”

The Registrar of Kilkeel No. 2 District, remarks : — Often the grandfather’s Christian name is used as an affix, as ” Charles Cunningham Dick.”

The Registrar of Sneem District, in Kenmare Union, reports — “‘Dorohy’ is applied to Sullivan, such as Sullivan Dorohy, also ‘ Mountain,’ as Sullivan Mountain, and the other Sullivans are called after the locality they live in, &c., as ‘ Sullivan Glanac,’ ‘ Sullivan Brachae,’ ‘ Sullivan Dillough,’ ‘ Sullivan Budoch.’ ”

The Registrar of Rathmullan District (Milford Union), states that — ” The trade or occupation is often added in Irish after a surname, such as ‘ Mulrine (saorcloch ‘) ; — saorcloch, [[]], signifies a Mason.

Sometimes the affix entirely displaces the surname. A certificate of a marriage came under examination in the General Register Office, in which the bridegroom’s name was given as ” Patrick Sullivan,” and his father’s name as ” Patrick Cooper.” On inquiry it was ascertained that the father’s real name was Patrick Sullivan (Cooper).

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Initial Letters following Prefixes.

Initial letters following prefixes are sometimes dropped thus ; —
McCusker . . McUsker.
McClure . . McLure.

One initial letter is substituted for another, as —
McIlmoyle . . McElmoyle.

Or the letters following the prefix transposed,
McElroy, . . McLeroy.

The letter ” C ” is sometimes repeated after ” M'”,” as —
McAdam . . McCadam.
McArdle . . . McCardle.

Initial Letters.

Cases of substitution of one letter for another are very common,
thus : —
A and E . . . Allison . . . Ellison.
C and G . . . Cannon . . . Gannon.
C and K . . . Carr . . . Kerr.
C and Q . . . Cuddihy . . . Quiddihy.
F and Ph . . . Fair . . . Phair.
F and V . . . Farrelly . . . Varrelly.
G and J . . . Gervis . . . Jervis.
G and K . . . Gilfoyle . . . Kilfoyle.
P and W . . . Phelan . . . Whelan.
Q and T . . . Quigg . . . Twigg.
Q and W . . . Quinton . . . Winton.

Initial consonants are sometimes doubled, as-

French . . . Folliott
Ffrench . . . Ffolliott.

Initial letters are sometimes dropped or added, as-

Ahearn . . . Hearn.
Hammond . . . Whammond.

Second Letters.

The following are some of the changes in second letters most
commonly met with : —
Changes from one vowel to another —
a changed into e as . . . Bagley . . . Begley.
a changed into o as . . . Laughlm (sic) . . . Loughlin.
e changed into i as . . . Nesbitt . . . Nisbett.
e changed into o as . . . Delahunty . . . Dolohunty.
o changed into u as . . . Molloy . . . Mulloy.
u changed into i as . . . Mulligan . . . Milligan.


Second letter, where a vowel, is dropped, as-
a . . . Eagan . . . Egan.
i . . . Aiken . . . Aken.

Second and Third Letters.

The following changes in these letters may be noted : — Change of vowels —
a changed into ea as . . . Daly . . . Dealy.
ai changed into ea as . . . Kain . . . Kean.
au changed into a as . . . Maunsell . . . Mansell
ei changed into ea as . . . Reid . . . Read.
eo changed into ou as . . . Keogh . . . Kough.
i changed into ui as . . . Gilmartin . . . Guilmartin
o changed into oo as . . . Gogarty . . . Googarty.
o changed into ou as . . . Rorke . . . Rourke.
u changed into ou as . . . Burke . . . Bourke.

Transposition of vowels-
e and i . . . as Reilly . . . Rielly.
e and i . . . as Neill . . . Niell.

Intermediate Letters.

There are many changes observable in intermediate letters. The following may be mentioned : —

Consonants dropped —
c before k as . . . Shackleton . . . Shakelton.
p after m, as . . . Thompson . . . Thomson.

Consonants repeated—- Mathews . . . Matthews.

Consonants interchangeable —
ff and v as . . . Rafferty . . . Raverty.
s and z as . . . Fraser . . . Frazer.

Syllables interchangeable —
oh, ogh, and ough, as . . . Doherty . . . Dougherty.
” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dogheny . . . Dougheny.

Syllables omitted or contracted-
Omitted, as . . . Donnellan . . . Donlan.
” . . . . . . . . . . . . Farrelly . . . Farley.

Contracted, as . . . Corcoran . . . Cochrane.
” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fennelly . . . Finlay.

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The alterations in Terminals are numerous, both as regard single letters and syllables. The following examples may be given : —
Terminations interchangeable —
ie for y . . . as Beattie . . . Beatty.
ies for is . . . as Davies . . . Davis.
ce for se . . . as Boyce . . . Boyse.
x for cks . . . as Rennix . . . Rennicks.
y for ey . . . as Mahony . . . Mahoney.

Dropping Consonants, Vowels
Consonants — d . . . as Boland . . . Bolan.
s (where double), . . . as Burgess
t . . as Lamont . . . Lamon.
gh (where silent), as McWhaugh . . . McWha.

Vowels — e . . . as Sloane . . . Sloan.
Adding final s
as . . . Askin . . . Askins.
. . . Connor . . . Connors

Contraction or Abbreviation of Names.

There are many cases where a Contraction is substituted for the full name. The following will serve as examples : —
Free for Freeman.
Neazor for Bovenizor.
Pender for Prendergast.
Pendy for Prendeville.
Roy for M’Elroy and Royston.
Turk for Turkington.

Spelling according to usual Pronunciation.

All names are more or less liable to be spelled according to their pronunciation, but there are several instances where the name is pronounced quite differently from the spelling, and in these names almost invariably the spelling according to pronunciation is also found.

Chism for Chisholm.
Chumley for Cholmondeley.
Coburn for Cockburne.
Cohoun for Colquhoun.
Coakley for Colclough.
Beecham for Beachamp.
Lester for Leicester.

Older Forms of Names.

In many cases the original form of a name has become lost or obsolete. In some instances, however, the alphabetical list still shows the original form ol the name and the one now more

16. [image 22]

commonly used, with indications of the various stages through which, in course of time, the name has passed into its present more usual form.

The name “Whittaker” appears to have come from Whiteacre, with which form it has been found to be used interchangeably.

Thus —

Again, ” Lammy ” is traceable to the French ” L’Ami,” both forms being still in use. Thus —

Another instance is the name Loughran, from the Irish
O’Luchairen —

The Registrar of Cappoquin District (Lismore LTnion) reports:
— ” De Laundres or De Londres, an old Norman name, is found in this district in the forms of ‘ Landers ‘ and ‘ Glanders ‘ “.

The French Huguenot name ” Blanc,” and its modern form ” Blong,” both appear in the Register Books of Cloneygowan District (Mountmellick Union). These names also occur in Rathangan District (Edenderry Union), the Registrar of which remarks — ” The French spelling, ‘ Blanc, ‘ is disliked owing to the literal pronunciation ‘blank.'”

The name ” Nestor ” has been observed in the Records almost exclusivey” in the counties of Galway, Limerick, and Clare. In reply to a query regarding the origin or transformation of this name the Superintendent Registrar of Rathkeale Union states : —
” A.D. 1396. Iriel O’Loughlen was killed by Mac Girr-an-Adhastair (now Nestor), one of his own tribe. — (See History of Co. Clare, by James Frost). Adhastair signifies a halter. There are two families named ‘ Nestor ‘ living in the Rathkeale Dispensary District, Townland of Kilquain, and other families of that name reside in the Manor.”

It may be added that this name has also been found in the Indexes in the form ” Nester.”

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Local Variations in Spelling and Form.

The fact that names have a tendency to assume different forms in different localities is well known. The following may be cited as examples : —

The name MacAlshinder [synonyme for Alexander], which is the form used in Larne District, is found in the following forms in other districts : —

Elchinder, in Ballymoney District.
Elshander, „ Ballylesson „ [Lisburn Union].
Elshinder, „ Lisburn Union.
Kalshander, „’ Dromore District [Banbridge Union].
M’Calshender, „ Bally mena Union.
M’Calshinder, „ Banbridge „
M’Elshender, „ Doagh [Antrim Union].
M’Elshunder, „ Ballymoney Union.
M’Kelshenter, „ Tanderagee District [Banbridge Union].

The names Archibald (or Archbold) and Aspel are found to be used synonymously in Rathcoole District (Oelbridge Union). The following varieties have also been met with : —

Aspill, in Balrothery Union.
Esbal, „ Portrush District.
Esbald, „ Eglinton „ [Londonderry Union].
Esbel, „ Limavady „
Esbil, „ Coleraine „
Esble, „ Ballymoney „ .

Again, the name ” Ferguson,” in addition to several variations in spelling, is found under the following forms : —

Faraday, in Lusk District.
Fargy, ” do. do.
Fergie, ” Greyabbey District [N.T. Ards Union].
Forgie, ” Greyabbey District [N.T. Ards Union].
Forgay, ” Ballymoney Union.
Forgey, ” Portrush and Warrenpoint Districts.
Hergusson, ” Lusk District.
Vargis, ” Bannow District [Wexford Union].
Vargus, ” Broadway District [Wexford Union].

The name ” Quigley ” in Ferns District (Enniscorthy Union) and in Fethard No. 2 District (New Ross Union) has become ” Cogley.” In Monaghan Union it has assumed the form ” Kegley,” and in Belfast No. 6 District it has been found as ” Twigley.” It is worthy of note in connection with the last variety that “Quigg ” and ” Twigg ” are reported by the Registrar of Belfast No. 7 District to be different forms of the same name.

Local pronunciation often affects the spelling of names. The Registrar of Clonavaddy District (Dungannon Union) has drawn attention to the fact that a number of people in his District spell their name ” Hoins,” and not ” Hynes,” the more usual form.

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Variations in Spelling at Pleasure.

The following cases will illustrate the variation in spelling of names at pleasure : —

Some years ago the marriages of a brother and of a sister in the same family were solemnized in a Registrar’s office. The son gave his surname as ” Faulkner,” and his father’s suiname as ” Faulkner.” The daughter gave her surname as ” Falconer,” and her father’s surname as ” Falconer.” Both marriages were subsequently resolemnized in a place of worship, and the same orthographical differences were found to exist in the records kept by the officiating minister.

A young man called at the General Register Office to obtain a certificate of his sister’s birth, giving his surname and hers as ” Milligan.” When search for the entry proved unsuccessful, he suggested a search under the name ” Mulligan,” when the required entry was found. The entry was signed by the father, who, as occupier of a public institution, had signed a large number of entries, from which it appeared without doubt that the proper name was ” Mulligan,”

A record came under examination in which the informant, when registering the death of his brother, gave the name of deceased as ” Fawcett,” and signed his own name as ” Fossitt.” On inquiry into the case it was ascertained that the parties were in the habit of writing their names respectively as given in the entry.

A birth entry was found in Mountmellick District, where the informant signed his surname as ” Headen.” In a previous entry he had signed his name as ” Hayden.” In explanation the Registrar reported that the man wrote his name in both ways.

In another case the same informant wrote her name in different entries as “Kinnealy,” “Kinneally,” ” Kenneally,” and “Kenelly.”

The Registrar of Drimoleague District, in Skibbereen Union, observes with reference to two death entries : — ” In the same family, the father was known as ‘ Cue,’ the son signs himself ‘ Hue,’ and the two deceased children used to sign themselves ‘ MacCue.’ ”

The Registrar of Street District (Granard Union) reports : — “There is one family in this district, one member of which uses the name ‘ Murphy’,’ whilst another employs the designation ‘ Molphy’ they being brother and sister.”

Changes owing to Illiteracy and other Causes.

The differences caused by illiteracy are too numerous and well known to require much comment. To such a cause may be referred ” Lannan ” and ” Linnen” for ” Lennon,” ” Nail” for ” Neill.” ” Dulinty ” and ” Dulanty” have been found written by uneducated persons for ” Delahunty.”

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Religious and social differences sometimes cause varieties in surnames.

Two local officers have reported that, in the case of the name Wallace or Wallis, it is spelled “Wallis” by the members of one religious communion, and “Wallace” by those of another.

Similar reports have been received regarding the use of the names “Neill” and “O’Neill,” “Coole” and ” Coyle,” and of the names ” M’Cusker” and its equivalent ” Cosgrove.”

In one district the name ” Connellan” is said to be so spelled by persons of good social position, while the peasantry use the form ” Conlan.”

Another Registrar, in County Kildare says : — ” A man who would get a little money would change from ‘ Doolin’ to ‘ Dowling.’ ”

Variations are also produced by other causes, such as the tendency to assimilate names to those of distinguished persons. One Registrar reports “Nielson” has become “Nelson,” while another states ” Parlon” has become ” Parnell,” so that all the families in his district of the former name now use the latter.


Use of Different Surnames interchangeably.

The use of entirely different names interchangeably by the same person prevails in Ireland to a much greater extent than is commonly supposed. This is principally owing to the differences in language — many of these being cases of translation of Irish names into English, or vice versa, or equivalents, modifications, or corruptions of them. There are, however, other cases which cannot apparently be accounted for in this way.

Registration officers are sometimes placed in considerable doubt which name to record. A Registrar recently reported that some families are invariably called by other than their real names, and that it is often a matter of some difficulty to ascertain the correct name.

A Superintendent Registrar writes : — “If any local person called at the office to know if Christopher Sherwin had registered the death of a friend, he would ask, was the information given by ‘ Kitty Sharvin.’ A man living within a hundred yards of James Fitzpatrick or Christopher O’Malley, would never know who was meant unless they were called ‘ Jem Parrican ‘ or ‘ Kit Melia ‘ ; there are many such cases, and yet those are not what are called nicknames.”

It is proposed to refer first to the cases of English and Irish names used synonymously, and then to other cases not falling within that category.

English and Irish Names.

The practice which prevails in Ireland of using two names appears to be largely traceable to the influence of ancient legislative action.

By a Statute of 1366, it was provided, initer alia, that ” every Englishman do use the English language and be named by an English name, leaving off entirely the manner of naming used by the Irish”; and in 1465 [ 5 Ed. IV., cap. 3 ] a law was passed enacting ” that every Irishman that dwells betwixt or amongst Englishmen in the County of Dublin, Myeth, Vriell, and Kildare . . . shall take to him an English surname of one town, as Sutton, Chester, Trym, Skryne, Corke, Kinsale ; or colour, as white, blacke, browne; or arte or science, as smith or carpenter ; or office, as cooke, butler . . .”

In many cases, where English and Irish names are used interchangeably, they are translations from one language into the other or translations of words similar in sound.

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The following may be cited as examples : —

English Form       Anglicised Irish Form       Irish Words

Bird. Heany, Heanehan, Henekan, McEneany. (ean) — a bird.
Bishop. Easping, Aspig. (easbog) — a bishop.
Black. Duff. (dubh) — black.
Boar. McCullagh. (collach) — a boar.
Bywater. Sruffaun. (sruthan) — a steamlet.
Church. Aglish. (eaglais) — a church.
Crozier. Bachal. (bachal) — a crozier.
Farmer. McScollog. (scolog) — a petty farmer.
Fox. Shanaghy, Shanahan, Shinnagh, Shinnock, Shonogh, Shunagh, &c. (sionnach) — a fox.
Freeman. Seerey, Seery. (saor) — free.
Godwin. O’Dea. (ua) — a descendant, (Dia) — God.
Gray. Colreavy, Culreavy. (riabbach) — gray.
Green. Houneen, Huneen, Oonin. (uaine) — green.
Hand. McClave. (lamh) — a hand.
Holly. Quillan. (cuileann) — holly.
Hunt. Feighery, Feighney, Feighry, Fehoney, Fehany. (fiadhaighe) — a hundsman.
Hurley. Commane. (coman) — a hurling stick.
Judge. Breheny, Brehony. (breathamh) — a judge.
King. Mac-an-Ree, McAree, Muckaree, &c. (righ) — a king.
Kingston. Cloughry. (cloch) — a stone; (righ) — a king.
Little. Begg, Beggan. (beag) — little.
Long. Fodha. (fada) — long.
Oaks. Darragh, McDara, &c. (dair) — an oak.
Oats. Quirk. (coirce) — oats.
Rabbit. Conheeny, Cuneen, Cunneen, Cunneeny, Kinneen, &c. (coinin) — a rabbit.
Roche. Rostig. (roisteach) — a roach.
Rock. Carrick. (carraice) — a rock.
Sharpe. Gearn, Gearns. (gear) — sharp.
Short. McGirr. (gor) — short.
Silk. Sheedy. (sioda) — silk.
Smith. Goan, Gow, Gowan, McGowan, O’Gowan. (gobha) — a smith.
Thornton. Drinan. (driogheann) — blackthorn.
Walsh. Brannagh, Brannach. (breathnach) — a Welshman.
Waters. Toorish, Tourisk, Turish, Uiske. (uisge) — water.
Weir. Corra. (cora) — a weir.
White. Banane, Baun, Bawn. (ban) — white.
Whitehead. Canavan. (ceann) — a head; (ban) — white.

22. [image 28]

The Registrar of Cappoquin District reports that a man named Bywater came into his office in order to register the death of his brother. He gave his brother’s name as Michael Sruffaun. On being interrogated as to the difference in the surnames, he said that he was always known by the name of Bywater, but his brother by the name Sruffaun. Srufaun is a local form of sruthan, an Irish word for a little stream.

In Rynn District (Mohill Union) an entry came under observation where the surname ” Colreavy ” was altered to ” Gray.” The Registrar reported in explanation that the family signed their names both as ” Colreavy ” and ” Gray,” The deceased had been in America where he signed his name as ” Gray.”

The Registrar of Murragh District (Bandon Union) notes the synonymous use of ” Hurley ” and ” Commane ” in his District, and remarks ” Comman ” is the Gaelic for ” Hurley,” and is a ” stick with a curved boss to play goal with.”

The Registrar for Riverstown District (Sligo Union) reports, regarding the names ” Breheny ” or ” Brehony ” and ” Judge,” above mentioned, that they were almost all ” Brehenys ” some time ago, but now they are becoming ” Judge.”

A person applied recently to one of the Registrars for the certificates of the births of his two daughters, registered as Anne and Margaret M’Girr. He stated they were christened by the name of ” Short,” and that he was married as ” Short,” but always received the name of ” M’Girr” — ” Short ” and ” M’Girr ” being synonymous names.

In a death entry in Dundrum District (Union of Rathdown), the surname of deceased appeared as ” Smith,” while the entry was signed by his son, who gave his surname as ” O’Gowan.”

A marriage certificate from Enniskillen District came recently under my observation in which the bridegroom and one of the witnesses signed their surnames ” Going or Smyth” the other witness signing ” Going or Smith.”

The Registrar of Termonfeckin District reports ‘: — ” The surnames ‘ Markey ‘ and ‘ Rhyder ‘ are used synonymously in my district. The more usual surname ‘ Markey ‘ is most frequently used, but in the case of some families ‘ Rhyder ‘ is used interchangeably for ‘Markey,’ one branch of a family being known by the surname ‘ Markey,’ another by that of ‘ Rhyder,’ and in some instances the father taking the surname ‘ Rhyder ‘ and the son that^ of ‘ Markey.’ I may add, that this use of the name ‘ Rhyder ‘ for ‘ Markey ‘ is not peculiar to my district, many of the, neighbouring districts having for residents persons who are known by the synonymes ‘ Rhyder ‘—’ Markey.’ ” “Markey” is the anglicised form of the Irish (marcach), a horseman, hence the equivalent ” Ryder,” or ” Rhyder.”

There are many cases, shown in the Alphabetical List, which are not direct translations, in which equivalents, modifications or corruptions are used interchangeably.

23. [image 29]

A “Registrar reports : — ” There are two brothers — one Bermingham, and the other M’Gorisk.” In other Districts the name ” Bermingham ” has been found to be used interchangeably with ” Magorisk ” aud ” Korish.”

The names ” Blessing ” and ” Mulvanerty ” are reported to be sed (sic) synonymously in two Districts in the Union of Mohill Mohill (sic) and Rowan) and in Ballinamore District (Bawnboy (U)nion).

The Registrar of Birr District reports ; — ” A family here named ‘ Renehan ‘ is sometimes called ‘ Renehan ‘ and sometimes ‘ Ferns.’ They are both the same. ‘ Renehan,’ [ believe, is the Irish and ‘ Ferns ‘ the English synonyme.”

The Registrar of Carrigallen District (Mohill Union) reports : — ” ‘ Minagh ‘ or ‘ Muinagh ‘ is a synonyme for Kennedy. In two cases of these names the fathers of the families are called ‘Pat Muinagh ‘ and ‘ Francis Muinagh,’ respectively, and would scarcely be known by ‘ Kennedy.’ The children are generally called ‘ Kennedy.”

The Superintendent Registrar at Cavan states : — ” The name ‘ M’Grory ‘ is used as the Irish substitute for ‘ Rogers,’ and there is an instance in the townland of Mullaghboy’-, in the Electoral Division of Drumlane, in which a person has been rated both as ‘ M’Grory ‘ and ‘ Rogers.’

The Registrar of Draperstown District (Magherafelt Union) reports : — ” ‘ Rogers ‘ now prevails here, but up to recently they were all ‘ M’Rory.’ ”

The names ” Loughnane ” and ” Loftus ” are found to be used interchangeably. These are probably anglicised forms of the Irish name ” O’Lachtnain.”

The effect of the difference in language on surnames is further evident in many cases given in the alphabetical list in modifying the forms of names. ‘Thus the name ” Hyland ” has been found in the following forms : — ” Heelan,” ” Heyland,” ” Highland,” ” Hiland,” and also used synonymously with ” Whelan.” The Registrar of Ballinrobe District has furnished an interesting note regarding this name, which accounts for these variations, and also for the fact that the names ” Whelan ” and ” Phelan ” have been found to be used interchangeably in numerous districts. The Registrar remarks : —

” ‘ Hyland ‘ is used interchangeably for ‘Whelan ‘ by a family who live near Kilmilkin in the Cloonbur No. 2 District ; and though the name in this District of Ballinrobe is spelled ‘ Hyland,’ still the Irish pronunciation of it is ‘ Ui-Holan ‘ or ‘ Ui-Hilan,’ which would also be the exact Irish pronunciation of the names ‘ Whelan,’ ‘ Faelan,’ ‘ Felan,’ ‘ Phelan ‘ — in fact, the spelling in Irish of each of the names is ‘ Ui-Faolain.’ The ‘ F ‘ is aspirated, and then sounds like ‘ H,’ so that the Irish sound of the name is ‘ O’Helan.’ ”

The late Registrar of Murragh District (Bandon Union), stated : — ” The name ‘ Keohane ‘ is changed to ‘ Cowen ‘ in this

24. [image 30]

district, and several parts of the County Cork, and the euphony which favours this change is the same as that which occurs in the word ‘ Bohane,’ changed into ‘Bowen.'”

The Irish form of ” Conway ” is ” Conmee.” The Registrar of Draperstown District (Magherafelt Union) observes that ” Conway ” is the nearest approach to the full sound of the Irish word in English. The Irish ” m,” being aspirated, is pronounced as ” w.”

The following interesting note has been furnished by the late Registrar of Lettermore District : —

“The principal facts with regard to personal nomenclature in this locality are : — –

” (1.) The English names or surnames are never used by the peasantry in speaking to or of one another, or even
when acting as informants at registration, except where the name is so strange that it cannot be easily hibernicized, and
in the latter case it is often contracted or corrupted as ‘Anderson,’ ‘Landy’; ‘ Wyndham,’ ‘Wind/ &c.

“(2.) In many cases the English form is traceable (though often faintly) in the Irish form, which consists in the prefix
‘ O,’ and a softening of the sound of the name to suit the Irish tongue.

” (3.) In other cases, no trace, or very little, of the English form remains, as ‘ M’Donogh,’ — ‘ O’Cunnacha ; ‘ ‘ Walsh,’ —
‘ Brannach ‘ (without ‘ the O’).

” (4.) In still other cases, if the English name happens also to be a common noun or adjective, as Black, Green,
Ridge, &c., the Irish form of the common noun is used, such as ‘ Ridge ‘ — ‘ Canimurra.’ Canimurra means ‘ head of
a ridge,’ (as of potatoes, &c.).”

Other Names used Interchangeably.

Many cases of the synonymous use of different surnames other than the foregoing have come under the notice of this office.

A widow named ” McDermott ” applied to this Department for proof of her marriage and of the births of her children, with the view of obtaining a Government pension. Search Was made in the Indexes in the usual way, with the result that the records of the marriage and of the births of all the children were found, except one. In this case the applicant was informed that the name did not appear in the Index. As, however, the locality in which the birth occurred was stated, a special examination was made of the records themselves, with the view of ascertaining whether there was any entry at all corresponding with the particulars furnished, and then it was discovered that the child had been registered under the surname ” Dermody,” which is known to be a synonyme for the name ” McDermott.”

25. [image 31]

The Registrar of Killeen District (Dunshaughlin Union) reports that ” Tiger ” is used in his district for ” McEntegart.”

A Registrar writes : — ” ‘ Hayes ‘ and ‘ Hoy ‘ are used indifferently by one family connection. In the Registers, at their selection, ‘ Hoy ‘ is entered. I requested them to select.”

In another District a Registrar reports ; — ” McIneely, Conneely, and Connolly are written indiscriminately by the same family.”

The names “Halfpenny” and ” Halpin ” are reported to be interchangeably used in several Districts. A search was recently made for the entry of the birth in Drumconrath District (Ardee Union) of a ” Joseph Halpin,” and he was found to be registered as ” Joseph Halpenny.”

The Norman name ” Petit ” or ” Pettit ” is, in one District, stated to be used synonymously with its English translation, ” Little.”

The Alphabetical List contains a record of numerous other cases falling within this category.

Irregular Use of Maiden Surnames.

It is a common practice for mothers of children, when registering births, to sign the entry with their maiden surname. Cases have also frequently come under notice where in death entries deceased widows are registered under their maiden name, instead of their married name, the maiden name having been resumed on the death of the husband.

The Registrar of Tuam No. 2 further reports that in some cases in his District the mother’s maiden surname is used by the children, instead of the father’s, as — ” John Keane’ real name — ” John Dunne.”



Christian Names.

Although variations in Christian names are not so likely to mislead as variations in surnames, yet in many cases the difference is of such a nature that names of common occurrence would be thrown out of their proper place in the Index and escape notice altogether, or if seen, might be taken to refer to other persons.

The peculiarities in Christian names which may affect the Index may be divided into six classes.

Names applied to both Sexes.

The following may be mentioned as commonly in use : —
Sydney or Sidney.

” Cecil ” may now be placed in the same category, reports having been received from Registrars in various parts of the country of its use for females as well as males.

In certain parts of County Donegal ” Giles ” is applied to both males and females. It occurs also as ” Giley ” and “Jiley.” A marriage record from Milford Union, in that county, came under my observation, in which the bride, and one of the witnesses (a female) were named ” Giles.”

Sometimes ordinary Christian names distinctively belonging to one sex are given to the other. Thus a child named ” Winifred ” was recently registered in Cork as a male. On inquiry it was ascertained that the name and sex were both correctly entered. This name contracted to ” Winfred ” has also been found applied to a male. ” Jane ” has also been notified as applied to a male, and ” Augustus ” to a female.

” Nicholas” has been reported from two districts as applied to females, and ” Valentine ” from another district. In Belfast a female child was lately registered from the Maternity Hospital as ” Irene,” but the name was subsequently corrected by the father, on statutory declaration before a magistrate, to ” Robert.” In reply to a query on the subject, the Registrar stated the name given to the female child being a male name (Robert), he called the attention of the father to the fact at the time, and the father replied it was his wish to have the child called ” Robert.”

The names of saints are frequently given to male and female children as Christian names without reference to the sex, for instance, ” Joseph Mary,” or ” Mary Joseph,” for a male ; ” Mary Joseph,” or ” Johanna Mary Aloysius,” for a female.

There are some names similar in sound, where the sex is indicated only by a slight difference in spelling, which, when badly written are liable to be mistaken, such as Francis — Frances, Olave — Olive, Jesse — Jessie.

Occasionally surnames are used as Christian names, and applied to either sex.

27. [image 33]

Abbreviations applicable to both Sexes.

The following abbreviations are applicable to both sexes : — “Joe” for “Joseph,” “Josephine,” and “Johanna”; “Phil “for ” Philip ” and ” Philomena ” ; ” Fred ” for ” Frederick ” and ” Frederica ” ; ” Matty ” for Matthew ” and ‘ Matilda ” ; ” Jemmie ” for ” James ” and ” Jemima” ; ” Harry ” for ” Henry ” and “Harriett”; “Ally” for ” Aloysius ” and ” Alice.”

In some cases contractions usually applied to one sex are
applied to the other, such as —
” Edie ” (usual contraction for “Edith” female name) ” Adam,” male.
” Elly ” (usual contraction for “Ellen” or “Ella” female name ) for ” Oliver,” male.
” Kitty ” (usual contraction for ‘Catherine” female name) for ” Christopher,” male.
” Amy ” (usual contraction for “Amelia” female name) for ” Ambrose,” male.
” Jerry ” (usual contraction for ” Jeremiah,” male name) for ‘ Gertrude,” female.
” Lotty ” (usual contraction for ‘ Charlotte,” female name) for ” Laughlin,” male.

Abbreviations materially differing from the Original Name.

The following may be mentioned in illustration : —
Males — Bartly, Bartel, Bat . . . for Bartholomew,
Tatty . . . for Clotworthy.
Criddy . . . for Christian.
Larry . . . for Laurence.
Rody, Rory . . . for Roderick.
Lack, Lacky . . . for Laughlin.
Moss . . . for Maurice.
Mundy . . . for Redmond.

Females — Nancy, Nanny . . . for Anne.
Bessie, Lizzie . . . for Elizabeth.
Cassie . . . for Catherine.
Honor, Norah, Noey, Onny . . . for Hanorah.
Polly, Molly . . . for Mary.
Jugge . . . for Judith,
Nappy . . . for Penelope.
Shibby . . . for Isabella.
Sia . . . for Cecilia.
Louie . . . for Lucinda.
Peggy . . . for Margaret.

The Registrar of Toome District (Ballymena Union) reports : —
” As a Christian name ‘ Clotworthy ‘ becomes ‘ Tatty.’ Two men called ‘ Clotworthy ‘—Livingstone, are known respectively as ‘ Black Tatty ‘ and ‘ Red Tatty ‘ Levesen.”

28. [image 34]

The Registrar of Westport No. 2 District observes—” ‘Nappy’ is a very common name in the Leenane District, and the people generally are unaware that it is ‘ Penelope’; the latter is obsolete.”

Different names used interchangeahly.

The following may be instanced : —
Males — Alexander . . . Alaster, Sandy.
Edward . . . Edmond.
Florence . . . Finian.
Gerald . . . Garrett, Garret, Gerard.
Owen . . . Eugene.
Hugh . . . Hubert.
Moses . . . Aidan.
Peter . . . Pierce.
Ullysses . . . Ulick.
Connor . . . Cornelius.

Females — Bridget . . Bedelia, Delia, Beesy.
Gobinet . . . Abigail, Deborah.
Johanna, Joanna . . . Jane.
Julia . . . Judith.
Julia . . . Johanna.
Winifred . . . Unity, Una, Uny.

An application was recently made to me for the correction of the age of an ” Aidan Dillon ” in a death entry. On investigation it transpired that his birth, which occurred in Camolin District (Gorey Union), was registered under the name ” Moses Dillon.”

Not only are the names ” Gobinet ” and ” Abigail ” used interchangeably, but their contractions, ” Gubbie ” and ” Abbie ” or ” Abby,” are similarly used.

In the certificate of a marriage in Darrynane District (Caherciveen Union), the bride’s name was given as ” Gubbie ” in the body of the record, while her signature appeared as ” Abbie.” The Registrar reported — ” I find that ‘ Gubbie ‘ is really a contraction of ‘ Gobinet,’ and ‘Abbie ‘ a name in itself ; but the custom among the people here appears to be to use the names ‘ Gubbie,’ ‘ Abbie,’ and ‘ Webbie’ as if they were diflferent forms of the same name.” In Emlagh District, in the same Union, the forms ” Gubby ” and ” Deborah ” or ” Debbie ” have been found to be used interchangeably.

The Superintendent Registrar of Castlecomer Union reports —
” the people of the County Kilkenny and some other places consider the names ‘Johanna,’ ‘ Judith,’ and ‘ Julia ‘ to be the same.”

Irish Equivalents for English Names.

Several such cases have been found. The following may be mentioned ; —

English Names. Anglicised Irish Forms.
Males— Bernard . . . Bryan.
Daniel . . . Dhonal.
Edmond . . . Aimon, Eamon, Mon.
Jeremiah . . . Darby, Dermot, Diarmid, Diarmud.

29. [image 35]

English Names. Anglicised Irish Forms.
Males — John . . . Shane.
Moses . . . Magsheesh, Mogue.
James . . . Shemus, Shamus.
Timothy . . . Teigue, Thiag, Thigue, Theigue.
Michael . . . Meehal, Meehall.
Patrick . . . Paudrick, Phadrig.
Cornelius . . . Nahor.
Philip . . . Phelim.
William . . . Laymeen, Learn.
Dudley . . . Dualtagh.
Francis . . . Phrinchas.
Denis . . . Dinogha.

Females — Susan, Johanna . . . Shovaun.
Bridget . . . Brideen, Breeda.
Mary . . . Maura, Maureen, Moira, Moya.
Maud . . . Meav.
Mabel . . . Nabla.
Celia, Cecily or Cicely . . . Sheela, Sheelah.
Sophia . . . Sawa.
Julia . . . Sheela.

The Registrar of Stewartstown District, Cookstown Union, reports: —
” Darby Martin lived in Brookend and his son is called Jeremiah Martin, after his father.”

The name “Mago” has been observed in Kiltegan District (Baltinglass Union), in Kilrush District, and in Annascaul and Dingle Districts, in Dingle Union. To a query addressed to the Registrar of the last-named district, regarding the origin of the name, the following reply was received : — ” From all the information I could obtain it appears that ‘ Manus ‘ is the Irish anglicised into ‘ Mago,’ or, in some families, ‘ Mane.’ When the father’s name is ‘ Mago,’ and a child is called after him, the latter is generally called ‘ Mane,’ to distinguish him from the former. The name is very general in two families in this Barony.”

Cases of Incorrect Spelling.

The under-mentioned, amongst others, have been met with ; —
Males— Philip . . . Filip.
Sylvester . . . Cylvester.

Females — Alicia . . . Alisha, Elisha.
Cecily . . . Sicely.
Charlotte . . . Sharlot, Sharlotte
Elinor . . . Elnar.
Esther . . . Osther, Easter.
Harriett . . . Hargot, Hargate.
Kate . . . Cate.
Magdalene . . . Magdillon.

30. [image 36]

Peculiar names found in the Indexes.

It only remains in conclusion to refer to some peculiar names, many of them the names of local patron saints, which are liable to be mis-spelt, or otherwise metamorphosed, so as to be thrown out of their proper place in the Indexes. Thus, the name ” Ailbe,” the patron saint of Emly diocese, has been found in the forms, “Elli,” and “Elly,” as well as in its proper form ” Ailbe.”

Two cases recently came under notice in Kilrush Union where the Christian name ” Sinon ” was given to males. This name is taken from the name of a local saint — St. Senan — and has been met with also in the forms “Senan ” and ” Synan.”

The name ” Gourney ” for a female was entered in the Register Book of Deaths for Ardrahan District, in Gort Union, County Galway. In reply to a query, the Registrar stated — ” This is the only Christian name I could obtain for this woman after a considerable amount of trouble. It is pronounced ‘ Gurney,’ but I believe it is spelt with an ‘o.’ It is a very uncommon name, but on inquiry I found that St. Gourney is considered the patron saint of a locality not far from here.” This name has been reported from Kinvarra District (Gort Union), as ” Gurney.”

The names ” Gillan,” ” Geelan,” and ” Keelan,” have been reported by the Superintendent Registrar at Mohill, as forms of the name ” Kilian,” from St. Kilian.

The various forms ” Cairn,” ” Cairan,” ” Kiaran,” ” Keiran,” ” Kieran,” and ” Kyran,” which occur in many parts of Ireland, and are derived from the names of local saints, are very liable to cause confusion in searching. They are sometimes found under the letter ” C ” and sometimes under the letter ” K.” Several Registrars report their use under both initial letters in the same locality.

Two entries of birth came under observation in which the name of the child in one and the name of the father in the other were given as ” Maur.” It was supposed tliat this was an error in copying for ” Maurice,” and the Registrar was asked for an explanation. In reply he stated—” Maur, for all I can find out, may be an abbreviation of ‘ Maurice,’ but in this town (Rush), they are looked upon as entirely distinct. Rush, being a fishing village, it was dedicated to St. Maur, who is the patron saint of the place.” The Registrar adds that St Maur is the original of the name ‘ Seymour,’ and it might readily assume that form as a Christian name.

A Registrar reports — ” Some years ago a man gave me ‘ Eden’ (pronouncing ‘ E ‘ like the long English ‘ A ‘) as the name of his daughter. I told him I knew no such name. He rather indignantly asked me did I never hear of the Garden of Eden, and said he called her after that.” In this case had the Registrar entered the name as pronounced by the informant it would have appeared in the Index as ‘ Adan ‘ or ‘ Aidan,’ a well-known male name, and thus, probably, altogether escaped observation.

Other peculiar names have been found, such as ” Kado,” ” Gamuel,” ‘ Dill ” (in various districts in County Donegal), and “Flan,” for males; also ” Coosey,” and “Afrie” (in various parts

31. [image 37]

of Donegal), for females. As, however, such names, if correctly written, do not affect searches, it is unnecessary to refer further to them.

Memorandum Explanatory of Alphabetical List.

It now remains to add a short explanation of the structure of the Alphabetical List.

It has been compiled from (a) office notes made from time to time for many years past of cases actually coming under observation in the examination of the Records and preparation of the Indexes ; (b) from special reports received from the Superintendent Registrars and Registrars of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, and the District Registrars of Marriages, under the 7 and 8 Vic.,_ cap. 81 ; and (c) from the results of a special examination of the printed Indexes in the General Register Office.

The list does not profess to be a complete list of surnames, but only a list of those surnames of which varieties have been met with or reported by local officers to be used in their localities, The principal names are printed in capitals and numbered throughout consecutively. It is not to be understood that these are the original forms of the names, but the forms which appear to be now most commonly in use.

The names following each of the principal names are the varieties and synonymes of same stated to exist. Where printed in italics they have been reported to be Irish forms (or equivalents) of English names, or vice versa. Where a variety is placed in brackets, thus ” [Cromie],” it will be found also as a principal name, and where given thus : —
” Archbold or ” Snowden (Snedden) ”
the second name has been reported as a variety of the form of the name immediately preceding it.

It is not intended to convey that the names appearing under the principal names are in all cases forms of the same name, but only that they have been found to have been used interchangeably in the examination of the registration records, or that they have been reported to be so used by local officers.

Neither is it to be inferred that the use of a particular synonyme is general throughout the country. In many cases it is only local. On the other hand, in some cases, the same peculiarities have been observed in many different parts of the country. Frequently the same name appears as a variety under different principal names. Thus ” Cahan ” is used as an alias for ” Kane,” and also for ” Keohane.”

In many instances numbers have been added after the name to denote the districts from which the variety has been reported. The key to these reference numbers is printed after the list. In cases not so marked, the variety has been met with in the examination of the records in this office.

With the view of curtailing the size of the list, the following will generally be found under one form only: —
1. Names ending in ie, y, or ey, as Dempsie . Dempsy . Dempsey.
2. Names terminating with double consonants, as Farrell . Farre.

NOTE :: I haven’t transcribed the rest of the book because the next pages are tables – and I felt faint at the very idea of transcribing so many thousands of names that mean absolutely nothing to me – even for you Dear Reader!! However, here is a breakdown of the 63 pages that I haven’t transcribed….
Pages 32 [image 38] – 63 [image 69] contains a numbered cross referenced list of 393 surnames with their synonyms and variations which (all included) amount to 2091!;
Pages 64 [image 70] – 67 [image 73] list the Registrars’ Districts and the Unions where situated (this will be where this wonderful book breaks down for the uninitiated in Irish geography. (More help will follow! at some point!!);
Pages 68 [image 74] – 94 [image 100] contains an A-Z listing of every name mentioned in the book.

If you do the right thing and download this invaluable book you too will become an Irish given and surname INTELLECTUAL GIANT! Really!!

ANOTHER NOTE :: The images from 103 to 220 actually belong to another book – a bonus if you are planning on writing and publishing. The title is AUTHORSHIP AND PUBLICATION [published 1884] – and if you ever want to make books and booklets yourself and would like to understand how a Folio differs from an Octavo and how a sheet of paper folded 4 times can give 32 pages and folded 5 times can give 64 pages – well, this book’s for you! I make books as a hobby for birthdays and Christmas, and have used the instructions to advantage.

Varieties and Synonymes of Surnames and Christian Names in Ireland
for the Guidance of Registration Officers and
The Public in Searching the Indexes of Births, Deaths, and Marriages.
main page for file selection

Author: Matheson, Robert E. (Robert Edwin), Sir 1845-1926
Subject: Names, Personal
Publisher: Dublin : Printed for H.M. Stationery off. by A. Thom
Possible copyright status: NOT IN COPYRIGHT
Language: English
Call number: 31833006692781
Digitizing sponsor: Internet Archive
Book Contibutor: Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center
Collection : americana

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