Scotch-Irish-L Archives

Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2008-04 > 1207852494

From: "Edward Stephenson" <>
Subject: [S-I] Irish Surnames
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2008 14:34:54 -0400
References: <>

>The first thing I did, which turned out to be KEY (I am amazed myself) is to look the surname up in an Irish surname book.<

Was this surname book online?

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2008 3:02 AM
Subject: SCOTCH-IRISH Digest, Vol 3, Issue 41

Today's Topics:

1. New Irish genealogy Resources ()


Message: 1
Date: Mon, 07 Apr 2008 13:26:55 +0000
Subject: [S-I] New Irish genealogy Resources

Content-Type: text/plain

Hi folk,

Some of you may know this but in case you don't, here's some resources. Most will let you search free. You pay for records but you can avoid paying a lot for the wrong records.

1. I've mentioned before. Northern Ireland. Free searches. Civil Registration indexes on line.

2. agregates stuff on the web.

3. The Irish Family History Foundation has been combining the indexes from all the county centers so you can search. You are then directed to the ones with the records. In some cases at least you can order on line or view the record. Not all counties are on line. It changes almost daily. Sub to their eletter. They'll be glad to alert you to new counties. I'm waiting on Derry.

4. also has on line search of indexes. Gotta write to get the actual info. Check 3 before you do.

Anyway, using these (well, 3 and 4) I am making headway on a problem. The problem was declared unsolvable by a very well known researcher 5 years ago in Salt Lake who doesn't do Irish genealogy but felt he/she could voice the opinion that this problem was unsolvable.

The first thing I did, which turned out to be KEY (I am amazed myself) is to look the surname up in an Irish surname book. There I learned that the surname, which seems as English or Scots as one could get, had an Irish source. It is a Connacht name and the immigrant claimed to be from Limerick. I learned it is known to be a Connacht name, the Englished version of an Irish surname. At this point I didn't know a lot about the family except that they had come over to the US about 1860 and were Catholic. They were well educated people who quickly obtained middle class jobs at a time when discrimination against Irish was rampant. Descendents believed they were Scots.

I searched 3 weeks for a birth record in 1860 -- nada in Limerick. I found 2 instances of the first and last name in Galway. Thought maybe ancestor was wrong about birth county as they left the following year. In this case I was just ascertaining if any records could be found. Decided yes and agreed to work on it.

Went back to American issues: highly paid Salt Lake person who doesn't do Irish genealogy could find them in the 1870 census but not the 1880. Salt Lake did find in 1900, in nearby county. Thirty year gap.

I decided to try the Irish verson of the name. BINGO! There they were in the first county. Other thing noticed in various censuses that was not conveyed to client by Salt Lake: family indicated Irish spoken at home. Asked client. Father did speak Irish. Later censuses got confused (immigrant long dead). One dau claimed her father was born in Northern Ireland in the 1930 census. There are some Scots of this surname in Ulster but probably Protestant (surname associated with Reformation and titled in Scotland). So.... thinking she is wrong. Now sure of it. Think she bought the line that the family was Scots (no doubt told to deflect bigotry) and figured he was from Ulster.

However reason no records were found in Limerick 3 weeks ago was it wasn't on line. Limerick came on line April 3 at Guess what? NO birth records of Englished surname. Are a couple at the other site indicating indexing irregularities (illegible or hard to read--always find these). However when I searched the Irish version of the surname.....a gazillion!!! They were there but hiding from us.

Four possibilities for ancestor's birth record in Limerick about 1860. Immigrant WAS born in Limerick, I'll wager. We got the names of his parents so we can check certificates.

So! Had I NOT looked up the surname in my handy-dandy Irish surname book, I'd never have found these guys in Ireland or the 1880 census. Had I not rechecked the on line indexes I'd not have realized Limerick was now on line.

So I conclude -- don't believe what you are told by people who don't do Irish genealogy even if they did just lifted a large sum of money from you. And always, always look up the surname in a surname book. A surname book and on line indexes can get you further than a high paid Salt Lake genealogist (who doesnt' do Irish genealogy and so shouldn't be telling people what is and isn't impossible to do). If you've been told such, you can always ask us here, by the way. Our opinons are free, if not always correct either <grin>!!

Bad news for the Scotch Irish: this sept also lived in west Ulster where they became Mitchells. Arrg!! There's a zillion of them everywhere it seems. I got them in Stirling, Scotland, where there's so many you can't sort out the ones in just that county. My Scottish ones are probably Scots though.

So God bless this family for spilling the beans to the census man about their real surname one time. It showed they did know the Irish version of their name. Nothing like cutting ties...... emigrate and change your surname and claim you are Scots. No wonder we can't find our ancestors <grin>!!
They didn't make it easy.

Hope your day is as good as mine ....and it's only 9:19... I just hope I don't go outside and get run down by a bus as punishment for clicking my heels.

Linda Merle


To contact the SCOTCH-IRISH list administrator, send an email to

To post a message to the SCOTCH-IRISH mailing list, send an email to .

To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to
with the word "unsubscribe" without the quotes in the subject and the body of the
email with no additional text.

End of SCOTCH-IRISH Digest, Vol 3, Issue 41

No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG.
Version: 7.5.519 / Virus Database: 269.22.9/1364 - Release Date: 4/7/2008 6:38 PM

This thread: