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Archiver > DNA-R1B1C7 > 2009-12 > 1260477032


From: Bernard Morgan <>
Subject: [R-M222] Baile Biataig and the surname
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2009 20:30:32 +0000
References: <000801ca74ec$30b93b30$e9cc464a@terry><SNT128-W104F1DED6039BC5B24572BBB920@phx.gbl><000901ca75a5$8bd29d90$e9cc464a@terry>,<9d89b8bd0912050849r48cf5a11i22fcd320d2fed6ec@mail.gmail.com>,<001401ca79a2$014914f0$e9cc464a@terry>
In-Reply-To: <001401ca79a2$014914f0$e9cc464a@terry>



To throw gas on the fire of STR matching. I would like to share some gleanings from "Medieval Ireland: Territorial, Political and Economic Divisions" by Paul MacCotter.

Native Gaelic land divisions seem to have been lost in the English reform of Ireland, 16th and 17th centuries. The base native unit was the “tuath”; which Ireland was said to consist of one hundred and eighty five of them.

McCotter finds one hundred and eighty four of them and use the later term “Tricha Cet” (thirty hundreds), each was ruled by a “Ri” (king). These Tricha Cet where combined and ruled over by a sub-provisional king (i.e. Ulaid etc). Then these are combined into great provisional kingship and final to the High-kingship of Ireland.

The interesting part is the sub-division of the Tricha Cet. MacCotter divides it into “later Tuath” which are typical similar to the old Gaelic parishes, and ruled by a Taisech (leader). Division under the “later Tuath” is the “Baile Biataig” (thought of as an estate) ruled by the “Fir baile” (there are a number of variants to the tile; in Scotland “Fir baile” is translated as “Tacksman”.) The “Fir baile” is the head of a kinship (sept) and the “Baile Biataig” is typically only associate with one surname.

At this point we have reached the level that our surnames represent. This gives roughly five thousand five hundred units each with an associated kin-group and surname. (Cet is equal to a “Baile Biataig”). I don’t know how many Irish surnames there are, but it does seem to me that Irish surname could be repeated as high as ten times across Ireland.
(Fr Paul Walsh wrote that many of the “Baile Biataig” (estate) names where lost in the English reforms of the 16th and 17th centuries.)

Assuming Ireland’s population was around half a million at the twelfth century. Then each “Baile Biataig” consisted of a hundred persons? A “Baile Biataig” was divided into quarters called “Saertach” (freemen) and then again divided into quarters called “Dimain” (“wasters”, tentants at will).

So bottom-line there are likely to be multiple M222+ kindreds with identical surnames.


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