Do You Have an Irish Surname Question?

Do you have an Irish surname question? Well, you've come to the right place.

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Do You Have an Irish Surname Question?

This is the part of the YourIrishHeritage Blog where I (Mike) will attempt to answer all your Irish surname questions – or at least steer you in the right direction.

All you need to do is to write out your question in the comments section at the end of this page – and I’ll get back with an answer as soon as I can. And the nice thing is that lots of answers will gather up here over time for other people to see.

Irish Roots and Irish Counties

Do you know which county your Irish Ancestor came from?

You may also be interested in reading the following posts. They aim to give you a better understanding of Irish surnames and what you need to know when you are tracing your Irish Ancestors – or when you just want to discover more about their world:

  1. Our Favourite Online Resources –  A list of our favourite (free) online resources. These are the resources I use all the time when I answer your questions.
  2. The Origins of your Irish Surname – This is a biggie, but if you read this post, it will clear up many of the misconceptions about Irish surnames you may come across on ancestry sites.

And now for the questions – have a look through some of the questions and answers below – or ask one of your own! Mike.

  • Suzanne says:

    I’m trying to locate my 3rd greatgrand father who came over to america by way of Scotland. His surname is Devine. My question is is there an area of Ireland that the surname Devine is more prominent?

    • Mike says:

      Hi Suzanne,
      Devine comes from the Irish Ó Daimhín and comes from County Fermanagh originally, however it is found in many Ulster counties. Mike.

      • Mike Weatherhead says:

        Mike, In doing geneological research, I found a person who married a woman with the surname of McGuillan. I only found this name once. I wonder, however, if the name should be McQuillan. I do find that name quite a bit, if I enter the latter name, in place of the former. What do you think?

    • jacqueline mcguckin says:

      I do not see the name McGuckin from Derry

  • Paulette says:

    Trying to find information on my great great great grandfather Richard Jacob Jordan of Kilkenny. His son, my great great grandfather imigrated to the US. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Paulette – I can only help on surname origins etc – for specific records and individuals I suggest you contact Noreen at, she should point you in the right direction. Mike.

    • Margaret Flood says:

      Hi Mike,
      I enjoy reading your info about Irish surnames. My family’s family’s last name was FLOOD. I don’t know what part of Ireland they originated from. I believe my great-grandfather JOSEPH FLOOD (approximately 1848-????) came over first to New York City. From my research the Gaelic name for FLOOD is TUILE which is a translation into English. I know other variations of FLOOD are TULLY, TALLY, O’TOOLE. FLOODS are prominent in Ulster and
      Connacht . Could u give me info about “translated into English” Irish names?

  • Mary Cornell says:

    Hi Mike

    I have been looking for my ancestors with no success. The paternal side the family name was Cornwell/Cornwall. I believe they were most likely from the Artrea or Lough Neagh area of County Tyrone. On the maternal side, the family name was Tygart which eventually became Taggart in the States. They both came over very early. The Tygarts fought in the American Revolution. And my gggg grandfather was born in New York State in 1809. I believe I found both families in the 1769 Census for the Artrea area. In the States, their religion was Methodist Episcopal not sure if in Ireland that it was the same. Am I looking in the right area? Am I also right in believing that the Cornwall side were from the Cornish Celtic tribe? And finally, was Scotland the original home of the Tygarts?

    Hope you can read this jumble…

    Many thanks,


    • Mike says:

      Hi Mary,
      The surname Taggart/McTaggart can be of either Scottish or Ulster origin (County Fermanagh). Both come from “son of the priest”. However, since your folks were methodist the chances are high that it was of Scottish origin.

      Cornwell/Cornwall – you can see more on this English name here: and you can see where they were in Ireland in the 19th century here (just type in Cornwall):

      Hope this helps – Mike.

      • Mary Cornell says:

        Many thanks, Mike. The Surname Database was very interesting. What a tangled web we weave, when we first set out to “leave!”


        • Mike says:

          That’s for sure Mary 🙂

          • Patrick W McTaggart says:

            My Grandfather, George McTaggart, along with bros. John, James, and William came to America around 1885 from County Tyrone. They settled in Iowa and Nebraska.

  • Debby says:

    I think County Cork is the area I’m looking for but if not maybe you can put me in the right direction…. Sliney, Walsh and Dunn are the names I’m looking for. Thanks.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Debby,

      Sliney – a Norman name from County Cork
      Walsh – found in quantity in County Cork as well as Mayo and Wexford.
      Dunn/Dunne – found all over the midland counties but from County Laois (Queens County) originally.


  • Patricia Ferneding Hamilton says:

    My paternal great grandmother came from County Cork. Her name was Mary Davis.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Patricia – Davis is a welsh name originally that can be found around the Mallow area in County Cork. Mike.

      • Chris Hawkes says:

        My mother’s family were Davis’s from County Sligo. Apparently there were Red and Black Davis families in the area. Don’t know how far back they’d have to go to find Welsh Roots.

        • says:

          Hi Chris – Davis can have arrived in Ireland anytime from the 1200s onwards. I’m not sure of what you mean by “red and black”? Mike.

  • brenda says:

    Seeing place names with “Caher” and “Cahir” makes me wonder what these mean. My ancestor came from Clare or Tipperary, depending which family member you ask! Thank you, just got my copy of your book last week, on my summer reading list, can’t wait!

    • Mike says:

      Hi Brenda – Cahill and Caher are not connected. Cahill comes from “the son of Cathal” whereas Cahir comes from the Irish for Seat. Problem is that Cathal was a popular first name so there are a few seperate branches of Cahill in different parts of the country.

      Great that you’ve got the book – there is a lot of background information that should help you there. Mike.

  • jeff says:

    Know my Great Grandfather Michael Felix Rourke (O’Rourke?) immigrated to the USA around 1868 at age 20. Trying to find more info on where in Ireland he came from and any info on his parents etc. At a standstill trying to locate more info than I have.

  • Dalton says:

    Hello there,
    My last name is Allen. My father’s side had always been poor farmers. Where in Ireland is Allen most prominent? Is it accociated Clan MacFarlane?

  • Catherine says:

    I have been told my ancestors come from County Cork and Bellamena. I have surnames of McGuire, Parker, Goodman, and Kelley. I am looking for more info on all of them.

    • Mike says:


      McGuire – from County Fermanagh originally
      Parker – Mostly an English name found in the counties of Ulster
      Goodman – Can be a version of McGuigan in Monaghan – but often an English name found around Dublin
      Kelley – can be from a number of distinct places in Ireland – most famously from the Galway/Roscommon area.


  • Rae Pelleri says:

    My maiden name is Quirk, growing up from the 60’s to the 90’s there were very few Quirk’s in North Queensland. But these day’s there are quite a few. I am told my family came from Kilkenny, any information about the origin of the Quirk name would be greatly appreciated.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Rae,
      Quirk/Quirke comes from the Irish Ó Cuirc – it is found in County Tipperary mainly (and next door in Kilkenny) but is also found in the Isle of Man with the spelling Quirk. It is probably Viking in origin. Mike.

    • Dena Darrah says:

      I’m also from the surname Quirk, however my great grandmother arrived in USA from County Cork when she was a child. Perhaps we are distantly related?

  • cara flynn says:

    I was told that my family came from Belfast. My surname is Flynn, i would like to know weather or not this is true

    • Mike says:

      Cara – Flynn comes from a number of different places in Ireland including Cork and Roscommon.

      Flynn/Lynn is also a leading family of West Antrim – that is probably your group. Mike.

  • Dolores Burton says:

    History of the family name Cullinan. I found connection in County Tipperary, but only once. Thank you. Dolores

    • Mike says:

      Dolores, Cullinan came from Cork originally (a family of the Corca Laoidhe tribe) but branches moved to Tipperary and Clare. In tipperary, the spelling usually is Cullinane. Comes from the Irish Ó Cuileannáin. Mike.

    • June Wallace says:

      Hi Dolores
      My husband’s g grandfather was Daniel Cullinan, we think from Cork. He was born 1818 and transported to Aus when he was 14 . If you can help with any family history, we would love to know.
      Regards June

  • Maggie Gordon says:

    I know where yhe Gordons were from , but looking for O’KIERAN. .family from Donegal , close to the 6 counties. Lived by the sea in the north , fished and others boating “activities”… I am fourth Maggie with red hair , but due to family death and split up do not know more

    • Mike says:

      Hi Maggie – O’Kieran/Kerin/Kearns came from around Mayo/Sligo originally – but is found throughout Fermanagh, Donegal and Monaghan. Mike.

  • Dorothea says:

    Interested in learning where in Irelandt, the name Tracey is prominent. Also Hurley, Flynn and Downey. Thank you!

    • Mike says:

      Hi Dorothea,
      Tracey – from two seperate places originally – Counties Galway and County Laois (Queens County)
      Hurley – Mostly found in Cork, a smaller number in Limerick.
      Flynn – from a number of seperate places. But the bigger sources were County Cork and County Roscommon. In Antrim, Lynn is sometimes known as Flynn.
      Downey – Cane be from either Kerry or Galway.


  • Barb says:

    Hi Mike,
    My mother’s maiden name was Grace and they were from Kilkenny. Do the Graces come from any other places in Ireland?

    • Mike says:

      Hi Barb – they are a Norman family that settled in Kilkenny where you will find the majority. Smaller numbers are sprinkled through the south half of the island. Mike.

  • Oona says:

    If you please, I would love to know anything about my family’s history. Name of Mulheron on my father’s side & Murry or Murray on my mother’s side. Many blessings to you and yours dear sir!

    • Mike says:

      Hi Oona,
      Mulheron/Mulhern is found in the northwest of the country – DOnegal/Tyrone/Sligo etc.
      Murry/Murray can be Scottish or Irish. When Irish it is often from COunty Donegal – but is spread throughout the country. Mike.

  • Oona says:

    I know some came over to the States around the time of the famine, believe those are my ancestors.

  • frankie michelle dennison says:

    When I was in Ireland I was told Kelley was most likely from Galway area (my moms side). I don’t have any history on my dad’s side so wondered if Dennison is possibly Irish and if so what area?

    • Mike says:

      Thats usually right about Kelley Frankie.

      Dennison is an English name BUT when found in Ireland it can be a version of MacDonagh from Connaught. It can also be found as Dennis/Dennison in Dublin and Cork. Mike.

  • Jennifer says:

    Looking for information regarding the surnames: boynton and cannon (o’canain). Please and thanks

    • Mike says:

      Hi Jennifer,
      Boynton – is usually Boyton – can be a Norman name from Tipperary or and Irish Gaelic name from Galway/Mayo.
      Cannon – Usually from Donegal but can also be from Galway.


  • Annette Ennis says:

    I am looking for family surname of Needham and Naughten (Naughton) – been looking for these irish families for many years. Any insight would be wonderful! Thanks in advance.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Annette:
      Needham – is an English name BUT in Ireland it is often an english version of Ó Niadh which is often also anglicised as Nee. From Galway/Mayo.
      Naughten – is Irish Galeic and can come from either County Clare OR County Galway/Roscommon.


  • Melonie Shockley Wright says:

    Hi, loving your site. Any info on the name Shockley? Thanks so much.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Melonie – thanks for you kind words. Shockley does not show up on my records, but I believe it is an English name. Did your folks come from Ireland originally?

  • Teishia Sheehan Doucette says:

    Believe the original spelling of Sheehan was Sheahan. Altered when my Grandfather was in the U.S. military. I was told we originated in Cork. Would love to find family on my trip back. Thank you for your time.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Teishia,
      The surname Sheahan/Sheehan came out of Limerick originally but is found throughout Limerick, Cork and Kerry. Mike.

  • Trish Reed says:

    Hi Mike
    Thanks for what you do.
    I’m looking for the surname Shannon. I looked when I visited Ireland and found nothing, which I found strange. Even by the River Shannon, I found nothing.
    I plan on returning to Ireland next year and am hoping to find family….although I believe the Shannon name is fairly common I’d love to find others.
    thanks again…

    • Mike says:

      Hi Trish – as it happens, the surname Shannon has nothing to do with the river.

      It is found throughout Ireland as it comes from a variety of names in Irish.

      You need to track down some records on your side to see where in Ireland your Shannons originated. Mike.

    • Sinéad says:

      Hi Trish, I’m from Dublin but family originate from Ennis Co Clarence the name Shannon is very common.

    • MissJJx says:

      Dublin…. lots of us Shannons around!! Ballymun area!! 🙂

  • Patty McCoy says:

    Hi, Mike. I’m trying to trace the surname Newlin. May be from the Mount Mellick area of Co. Laois.

    • Mike says:

      Thats a hard one Patty – originally from England/Cornwall – but I don’t have any in Ireland on my records. You may have to look for spelling variations. Sorry – Mike.

      • Patty McCoy says:

        They were Quakers. According to the Quaker Meeting Minutes of Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA, Nicholas and his wife Elizabeth (Paggott) married and lived “within the bounds of the Mountmellick Meeting in Mountmellick, Queen’s County, Ireland” for many years prior to their emigration to the US in 1683. They had 5 children: Nicholas, Elizabeth, Nathaniel, John and Rachel; all born in Ireland. Nathaniel (born 1665) and Rachel (born 1674) were the only two children to emmigrate with their parents. The others remained in Ireland. Not much is mentioned of son Nicholas as he appeared to have died very young. Son John has no marriage or death dates so it is assumed he died before the family emmigrated and left no family. Elizabeth married Thomas Burton, a resident of Rosenallis. I don’t know if they remained in the area of Mountmellick. If so, there may be records with the Quaker meetings there. The US Quaker records have a couple of other spellings of the name: Newland and Newlind but almost all of the signatures in the meeting minutes spell the name Newlin.

        As you can see, I have quite a bit of information on the Newlin family once they came to the US. I hope to find out when and where the family arrived in Ireland. Thanks!

        • Mike says:

          Hi Patty – thanks for getting back with that. My own records show no records of the Newlin name in Ireland by the mid-1800s. Queens county is the modern County Laois. Newland is a spelling that is used however, I know the infamous traffic interchange called Newlands cross in Dublin well! If you look for Newland at you will see most of them located in Dublin. You may have to trace the family back to England to find records. Seems like they were a family involved in the first plantations of Ireland which were the Queenstown/Laois. Hope this helps – Mike.

  • Mary Penedo says:

    I’ve been trying to find out more about the surname Dinnany. Ancestors lived in County Clare, Mayo, Roscommon. I have a feeling that the surname was changed to the phonetic spelling of Dinnany from something very close to it when my ancestors arrived in Boston and Ellis Island. Thank you!

    • Mike says:

      Hi Mary – Dinnany sounds like Denneny which comes from Counties Cavan/Leitrim originally. Mike.

      • Mary Penedo says:

        My mother did mention Leitrim! My mom passed last year. My maternal side is Fitzpatrick, Dinnany (Denneny), Dugan, Hunt, Cummins or Cummings. My paternal side is Kilpeck. Thanks for the heads up on Leitrim.

  • Sally McCarthy says:

    My husband and I went to Ireland a few years back and spent time in Blarney and stayed a a beautiful bed and breakfast almost across from the Blarney Stone it was so beautiful there I would move there in a minute. I would like to know where the name McCarthy comes from. Everyone there says it is from Blarney and that McCarthy owned alot of things there. We are from Boston, MA and now live in Arizona. Thank you.

  • Bobbie Hively says:

    Hello Mike,
    I have recently found my irish ancestors who came from Wicklow Co. My great 2nd grandparents. Peter Quinn born 1840 or 1841. His wife was Bridget O’Connor born also 1840 or 1841. Not sure they were born in Wicklow area but that’s where they came from when they took the two children they had to the USA and settled in Pennsylvania around 1860s or 1870s. Somewhere in between because my mother’s grandfather was born her in the USA in 1876. The two children born in Ireland were John Quinn 1866 or 65, and Annie Quinn born 1868 or 67. Because the name Peter Quinn is so dominant over in Ireland I can’t find his background. Bridget O’Conner is also to many. I found one record under Connor instead of O’Conner around her birth year of 1840. Don’t know the birthday just the year. If I could find her birthday I would know if that one record I found was hers. I found her maiden name off my great grandfather’s death records. His name was Peter Aloysius Quinn. He was the third child born in USA. So it goes Barnard Quinn 1862, John Quinn 1866 born in Ireland, Annie Quinn 1868, Bridget Quinn 1873, Peter A Quinn 1876, Mary Quinn 1878, Thomas Quinn 1880, and Nannie Quinn 1883 were born in USA.

  • tera says:

    Looking for info on O’Neal or Moultane please.

  • amanda mizell says:

    My whole life I was told we were part Scottish and part Irish on my real dad’s side of the family. My Grandfather was a Hutchinson( comes from Scotland). My grandmother was a Long and that is where I get confused. The family tree I have says that the Long’s were born in Ireland & Scotland. I really don’t have a whole lot on that side of the family. There is a William Henry Long born in Ireland 1727 and if the tree is correct his father Andrew Long born in Scotland 1689. How do I go about finding out exactly where we came from and when we came to the states.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Amanda – Long is one of those names with different sources in Ireland. It can be an original Irish Gaelic name OR a Norman name OR an English name. You need to know where in Ireland your people were to find out which is more likely. However, if your relatives came from Scotland then England/Scotland were most likely the source for you. If you wish to track down further then a professional genealogist in Scotland may be your next approach. Mike.

      • amanda mizell says:

        Thanks Mike. I will keep that in mind. Looking at the family tree I didn’t find any from England, but I know that that does not always mean anything. I will keep digging.

  • Paul Tramp says:

    I’m interested in the background of the McGonegal name.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Paul – McGonegal is from the Irish Mag Congail and is a name from County DOnegal originally. Mike.

  • melissa says:

    Hi, Mike!

    I’m so glad you’re doing this!

    Do you have any insight into the names Hayes and Boyce?


    • Cyndy LEmmon says:

      I am also searching for Hayes, particularly George Roche Hayes, he constructed Castleview Mill… Looking for any living relatives still in Ireland for my upcoming visit….. did you find anything?

    • Margaret Boyce says:

      Boyce is my family name. I am also looking for information about place of origin of my Irish Ancestor

      Margaret, Canada

  • Patricia Kelley says:

    I’m interested in information on my grandfathers name CARMODY and grandmother FITZGIBBON. Thank you

    • Mike says:

      Hi Patricia:

      Carmody comes from the Irish Ó Cearmada and comes from County Clare and Limerick originally where it is still mostly found.
      Fitzgibbon was a Norman name in Ireland since the 1200s – however, there are two entirely different branches. One is from Mayo and the other from Limerick.

  • jeff edge says:

    on my Mom side of the family we have the Nichols and the McCarrols and on Dads side we have Leggett n of course Edge were all of these families from the same region , or did they just get together here in the states

    • Mike says:

      Hi Jeff – thats a tough one!

      Nichols – Can be from COunty Tyrone OR an English planter name.
      McCarrol – Can be from Wicklow/Wexford OR a few different counties in Ulster.
      Legget – An English name found in the counties of Ulster mostly in Ireland
      Edge – I don’t have this on record. It could be a version of Edgeworth?


  • John B. Patterson says:

    My surname is Patterson. I have several names in my ancestry that I need help on. I am interested in the name Sullivan from County Cork ( my great great grandfather). Thank you in advance.

  • Jamie says:

    My grandmother is a Kehoe and grandfather was a West. They met here in america. I have been told my mom is 97% Irish. I wonder where their families were from in Ireland?

    • Mike says:

      Hi Jamie – lots of Keohoes in south Wicklow and Wexford.

      West is an english name originally and is “sprinkled” across lots of seperate parts of the island. Mike.

  • Bruce Feely says:

    I’m looking for any information you can give me on my surname Feely and my mother’s surname McCullough.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Bruce:

      Feely is typically from County Mayo/Sligo with that spelling.

      McCullough (son of the hound of Ulster) is found throughout many of the counties of Ulster. In Scotland it is known as McCulloch.


  • Patty McCoy says:

    Hi, Mike. Thanks for your reply re my Newlin ancestors. Guess I’ve got lots of searching left to do on that. I’d like to ask your help on surname McCoy. I know it’s originally from Scotland and I think came to Ireland as gallowglass soldiers for hire. Most settled in the northern counties. I’d like to narrow it down to which county(s). I’ve been told probably Antrim, perhaps Armagh. Any way to verify? Thanks, Patty

    • Mike says:

      Hi Patty – McCoy appeared in Ireland as a Scottish Galloglass family around the 1300s. They are found throughout the northern counties of Ulster. Mike.

      • Patty McCoy says:

        Thanks for the McCoy info, Mike. I hope you know how much we all appreciate everything you do halping us trace our Irish surnames. The information you provide gives us a closer attachment to our ancestors and the places they came from. Patty 🙂

        • Mike says:

          You’re welcome Patty 🙂

          • Brigid says:

            I have been told my Gollogly’s from Keady Armagh orginate from the Gallowglas. I assumed the farther my ancesty research took me, I would find the spelling Gallogly but surprisingly in the early 1800’s it was spelt Golligly and I seem to come to a dead end.
            What would be my next step as far as not seeing any records through ancestry websites before the 1800’s to find my connections to the surname Gallowglas?
            Have a Good Day Brgid

  • Lisa Branson says:

    My maiden name is Durkee which was changed from Durgey. I can go back to William Durgey marrying Martha Cross in the 1600’s. Where were they from? My other surnames come in the form of McCann and McKinney (Paternal father and mother, respectively). What area would they have hailed from? Thanks for your help.

    • Mike says:

      Lisa – I’m not sure but I think Durkee was Scottish originally – which would probably place them in the Ulster counties.

      McCann is from County Armagh originally.

      McKinney can be either Scottish or Irish Gaelic in origin. The Irish Gaelic sept is from Fermanagh and Tyrone originally.


  • Karen Jean-Reese says:

    Hello Mike,

    I have two names I’m looking for. One is Bergin. I was told it may be from Offaly. The other is Mc Elroy. Mc Elroy is a puzzle because this generation had heard it was Mc Enroy or Mac Enroy, but it was changed in America. We since found a birth certificate with my grandmothers maiden name of Mc Elroy. Now we are very curious. Thank you!

  • Barb says:

    I am looking for info about the Coberth name. My mother remembers a tall red haired Irishman who was her grandfather. She only saw him once or twice as a child. She was separated from her natural family. We would love to know more about this side of the family. Thank you!

    • Mike says:

      Hi Barb – I don’t actually have that name on my records. I wonder was it a form of Coburn from County Down/Louth? mike.

  • Kira Cummins says:

    not to sure on the areas but I have Irish relatives on my mums side O’Connell and on my dad’s side Cummins and would love to know where they originated from

    • Mike says:

      Hi Kira
      O’Connell is from Kerry originally
      Cummins is usually from County Cork with that spelling.

  • mary bilderback says:

    My great grandfather was John Boyles. I was told they changed the name when he came over from O’Boyle or Boyle. I think it’s from Roscommon, but I’m not sure. And I know there were Boyles in Cork. So where exactly is it from? Also my grandmother was a Taggart, which you explained. I also know that there were Profitt’s and Milby’s somewhere along the line.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Mary – I get asked that Boyle question quite a lot would you believe!
      First of all – Boyle is a town in Roscommon, which has nothing to do with the surname so thats an association a lot of people make by mistake.
      Second – Boyle is both an English and Irish Gaelic surname.
      Boyles in Cork are often of English extraction as this is where Richard Boyle and his family lived.
      Most of the Boyles in Ireland, however, come from O’Boyle in Donegal where they were a leading family.

  • Gayle says:

    Looking for information on the last name Dunmire or Whitham and from which county they would have come from.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Gayle,
      Dunmire and Whitham would have been English/Scottish names originally and so would not be associated with a particular part of Ireland – but found in a few individual locations. Mike.

  • Pinson says:

    Hello Mike. What can you tell me about my name, MacNaugher. I’ve also seen it spelled MacNaughton or McNaughton. I have been told by geneology expert that the name is Scottish. Don’t know for sure as the name is in Ireland as well. If it helps any I’ve been told my gg grandfathers family were Scots who lived in Ulster for a generation before coming to America. Any help is appreciated!

    • Mike says:

      Hi there, when the name is O’Naughton it is Irish Gaelic – and when MacNaughton it is Scottish in origin. It would have arrived in some of the counties of Ulster from the 1600s onwards. Mike.

  • Cathy Duffer says:

    Hi Mike. I would love some information on the last name Duffer. Some spellings of this are thought to be Duffe or Duffoe. Where in Ireland is this name from? We plan to visit Dublin at the end of August and wanted to see where to start looking. Thanks!


    • Mike says:

      Hi Cathy – if Duffer is a variation of Duff – it can be found mostly along the east Coast from Dublin to Antrim.

      There is also a chance it could be a shortening of Dufferly from Roscommon.


  • Woody says:

    Hi Mike I’m trying to find out more about my family my great grandfather came from Ireland but I’m not 100% sure my last name is Miller, and I believe his name was Edger, just wondering if you could find out if my family did come from Ireland and if so what is my family crest? thank you

  • colleen wheeler says:

    Greetings! Am tracing family back to County Louth. Surnames: MOYLES & CURRAN.

  • margaret says:

    Do you know where the O’Shaughnessy or Shaughnessy came from in Ireland? My great grandfather, Martin, immigrated to the US in the late 1800′, however we can’t find his town or county of origin. Thank you so much

    • Mike says:

      Hi Margaret – the O’Shaughnessy name originated in County Galway – you will find most of them still there. Mike.

  • Donna Harney says:

    I am trying to find information on the following family names: Mulchinoch, Harney, Collins (family says it was formerly Kilcullen, possibly from Sligo) Dinan. Thanks for your help

    • Mike says:

      Hi Donna
      Mulchinoch – Counties Cork and Kerry
      Harney – Roscommon originally – but later other counties in Connaught and County Tipperary
      Collins – Limerick and Cork – Kilcullen being a different Sligo name.
      Dinan – Can be County Clare, Cork or Tipperary.


  • Rita Ponce says:

    Hi Mike,
    Iam looking for the Irish names: Fitzgerald and Costello. I was told County Limerick and Tipperary, but wasn’t sure which family went with which county! I am also interested in Gleason/Gleeson, and Burns but not sure about what county. Also the name Havey and Maher, possibly County Cavan? Thanks for any help.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Rita – I’ve sent you a seperate reply by email.

      Fitzgerald is more likely Limerick.

      Gleason and Maher are usually Tipperary

      Havey is unusually – this may be Hanvey?

      Burns can by Scotland but is often Mayo or Wicklow


    • June Wallace says:

      Hi Rita
      My grandfather was Thomas Costello from Cork born 1883. Are your Costellos from Cork?

  • Brian says:

    Hi Mike,
    Located my great-grandfather, James O’Donnell via the ship’s manifest when they left Cobh. Any hints as to locating his town or County of origin? Believe date on manifest was 1905 or 06.
    Appreciate any assistance!
    Love your blog and photos,

  • Linda says:

    Hi Mike! I am at an end. My great,great,great grandfather left Dublin in 1750 for Pennsylvania, USA where we have flourished. I want to know about my family in Ireland but can not even find my name listed as a surname. His name was LAUGHLIN McELYEA. Any suggestions? any old Gaelic way ?? Please help so I can continue…THANK YOU!!

    • Mike says:

      It may be McElwee Linda – but I get the feeling that your McElyea was Scottish originally? Mike.

      • Judy Finley says:

        Responding to a discussion from July of 2014 that I just ran across. My maiden name was McElyea. I know my dad’s ancestors came from Ireland after the potato famine, but I’ve always been convinced that they were originally from Scotland. In 1999, I was fortunate enough to be able to tour the British isles, and while in Scotland, did my best to track down our name. At first, I thought it might be a corrupted spelling of MacAulay, but then ran across Macleya. I think this last is probably the original spelling.

        • Mike says:

          Sounds like Mac an Leagha – which was anglicised as MacAlee/MacClay/MacLea – an Irish name from County Antrim. Mike.

  • Catherine says:

    I have started to trace my family foot print. My great grandparents are both listed as being born in Ireland. Names are Andrew and Elizabeth Stines. Not sure if the were married before coming to the US.
    The name Stines does not seem to be popular or easy to find. Can you help with this?

    Thank you,

    • says:

      Hi Catherine – I think Stines came from England originally and is very rare in Ireland. As you may know, it does not show up in the 1901 census or Griffith Valuation. That suggests that they may have dwelled in a city e.g. Dublin prior to 1901. It may be worth progressing your search at

  • William says:

    Mike: Great site! I’ve managed to track my great-great grandfather who arrived in New York during the great famine (1846-8) and whose surname was Kennelley. My grandfather changed the spelling to Kenealy around 1910, so tracing back was a bit difficult, Do you know which county that name is most likely from?
    Someone had suggested County Offaly to me in the past as a possibility.


  • I have little to no information on my paternal side to include my own father as a child (except one document). I believe both grandparents were born in Ireland, yet no proof. My father was placed in a Catholic ophanage in the US but no record of which one. I found him and one brother listed as a “boarder” with a family. Ditto for one of my uncles. Only one record by my father listing his father as next of kin on a shipping record. Nothing more on the grandparents, nor two of my father’s siblings. It is very sad and frustrating. Such is my story so…with that… My father was Cornelius Patrick Shanahan and my grandmother was a Cavanaugh (no first name confirmed) and not clear if it was spelled with a “C” or “K.” My DNA results confirmed 98% Ireland/Great Britian with 2% trace elsewhere. No confirmation of region. My question is this: the one and only document completed by my father listed his father also as Cornelius Shanahan. Why would my father as the youngest be named after his father? Why not the oldest? I have the two first names of the brothers and they were not Cornelius. Any history of Shanahan and/or Cavanaugh. As far as I can tell they were very poor imigrants. My father was born in 1911. Thank you for any assistance you can give me; I appreciate it tremendously. Jamie Patricia Shanahan

    • Mike says:

      Hi Jamie – naming conventions were usual but not set in stone.

      Cavanaugh is from Waterford/Wesford.

      Shanahan came from Clare originally but is spread through the counties of Munster now.

      P.S. Be sure to sign up for our free Letter from Ireland to find out even more about the Irish surnames in your family.

      • Nikki Shanahan says:

        Glad to see some other Shanahan’s are out there! I’ve never personally met anyone else with the name aside from my family. I’ve been trying to trace my family, but I have little information as my dad didn’t even know his grandparents names.

  • I have very little information on my paternal side to include my own father as a child (except one document). I believe both grandparents were born in Ireland, yet no proof. Only one record by my father listing his father as next of kin on a shipping record. Nothing more on the grandparents, nor two of my father’s siblings. My father was Cornelius Patrick Shanahan and my grandmother was a Cavanaugh (no first name confirmed) and not clear if it was spelled with a “C” or “K.” My DNA results confirmed 98% Ireland/Great Britian with 2% trace elsewhere. No confirmation of region. My father listed his father also as Cornelius Shanahan. Why would my father, as the youngest, be named after his father? Any history of Shanahan and/or Cavanaugh? As far as I can tell they were very poor imigrants. My father was born in 1911. Thank you for any assistance. Jamie Patricia Shanahan (I retained my maiden name).

    • says:

      Hi Jamie,
      A couple of things:

      Cavanaugh is from the counties of South Leinster. C and K are both used in Ireland today (Wexford, Kilkenny etc)

      Shanahan can come from a number of places – but is mostly found in County Clare.

      On the youngest name – that can sometimes happen because the eldest died before the youngest was born – Or that’s just the way they chose to do it!

      All the best – Mike.

  • cindy summerville says:

    Hi Mike!

    I have O’Connell and O’Leary 2x grandparents and would love to know exactly from where in Ireland they come. Have dug and dug and that ole brick wall just won’t budge.

    Many thanks,
    Cindy Summerville

  • Mitzi Britt says:

    Hi, I am just getting into our ancestry and looking up our surnames. Any help would be greatly appreciated. My maiden name Shelton has been hard to find once I get so far back or my fathers line of Sheltons and my mothers maiden name of Dalton. Then there is my married name of Britt. Some sites say French and some Irish, just not sure. Thank you so much for any info you will be able to share with me.

    • says:

      Hi Mitzi – the surname Shelton came to Ireland in the early 1600s and is found mostly in the South of County Limerick.

      Dalton – when found in Ireland – arrived with the Normans and settled in a number of places. It is found in quantity in Limerick, Tipperary and mostly in Kilkenny.

      In Ireland – Britt is a form of the Norman name Brett – and found mostly in Kilkenny and Tipperary. That could be the confusion with the French/Irish as it comes from le Bret – meaning a man from Brittany in the northwest of France.


  • Kerry says:

    I am adopted and my birth name is Hard. Don’t know if that is Irish or not

    • says:

      Hi Kerry – Hard could be a version of the Scottish name Heard – some of which settled in Ireland in the 1600s. Mike.

  • Ann Ahern Hanson says:

    I have three Irish surnames — Ahern, Barry and Healy. I know my grandfather was born in Whitegate, County Cork, and I am still working on geneology for him. My G-Grandmother’s maiden name was Barry and her family may also have been from County Cork. Definitely not sure where my grandmother’s family are from. Hopefully soon I will begin researching the Healys.

    Thanks, Mike. Your information always helps in researching family names!

    Take care, Ann

    • says:

      Hi Ann – three surnames that are prominent in Cork but can also be found elsewhere.

      Barry is usually from County Cork – and old anglo-Norman family who settled in a number of places around Cork County.

      Healy can be from Cork or County Sligo – seperate families.


  • Rose says:

    My maiden name is Inglish. I have seen it spelled English also. Can you tell me where it originates from. I was told that my grandfather’s ancestors immigrated from Ireland in the 1770’s but don’t know where.

  • Joann Russell says:

    I am looking for information on Bernard Salley , born around 1825, from County Tyrone . I think his father was James Salley. Bernard emigrated in 1840s to USA. Also trying to find more information on his wife’s family, Bridget Fitzpatrick. The families were from the Glenadush area, near Tyrone. Is there an area in/near County Tyrone where the family name Higgins is from?

  • Lara Griesemer says:

    Wondering if you could tell me anything about the name Mathenia.

  • Jackie Smith says:

    Hi Mike,
    My mothers Surname was O’Byrn. My great grandparents changed to Burns when they came to USA. I am trying to plan a trip to Ireland,with I. The next 24 mon and would love to see the area my family originated from.
    Thank You Jackie Smith

  • Georgia Miller says:

    Looking for a connection and location between Frehilly and O’Friel or Friel. Appreciate your help.

    • says:

      Hi Georgia,
      Not sure about Frehilly – but Frehill and Friel both come from the Irish Ó Frighil. Mike.

  • Daniel McGee says:

    My last name is McGee. As we dive deeper into our family heritage, we have found it may have been previously Magee. Most information I have found on either spelling places us in Northern Ireland.

    I was looking up info on kilts, and I could find neither McGee or Magee. However, it said both may have come from the origin name of MacKay.

    I am just attempting to sort all this out.

    Thank you.

  • Daniel O'Regan says:

    Good morning,
    My grandfather Michael Regan was from west cork and emigrated to the USA in 1907 adding the O’ once here. I would like to be able to track down any living relatives in Ireland but as you can understand, there are a lot of Regans! I have not been able to trace his family members after the 1901 census, any ideas on where to turn to next?

    • says:

      Hi Daniel – as you say most Regans in West Cork are without the O. I would go to the 1911 census and continue to track from there to find homesteads/living relatives etc. Mike.

  • Lori says:

    Hi Mike. I’m interested in the surname, Finley. I have traced to a John Finley of Fife, and am wondering if he is truly Irish, or a bit of Scott as well. Thank you.

    • says:

      Hi Lori – Finley/Finlay is a Scottish name, but arrived in Ulster in the 1600s. As you may know, Fife is in Scotland.

      In Ireland Finley can occasionally stand for Finnelly. Mike

  • Linda Natzel says:

    Hi Mike, hopefully you can answer a “long” dispute over the name Kelly/Kelley………..where in Ireland does it orginate and some are saying that “Kelley” is german ?

    • says:

      Kelley German? Maybe thats a reference to the Irish/German Kelley singing family but it is certainly Irish.

      It can be from any one of the following:

      Galway/Roscommon (most common)


  • Judith says:

    I am interested in my family name of Normile. John Normile immigrated from County Clare in 1863. Another ancestor was James Marum. I haven’t seen these names on your lists. Any information you could provide would be appreciated. Thank you

    • says:

      Hi Judith – Normile / Normyle is from Counties Clare/Limerick.

      Marum can be found in County Kilkenny. Mike.

      • Judith says:

        Thank you very much for your prompt reply, Mike.

        • Judith Sullivan says:

          Well let’s not leave anybody out. Can you tell me about the names of:
          Commoners all or can we claim royal blood?

          • says:

            I let you search on this site for info on McCarthy and Sullivan – lots of info.

            On the others:

            Hayden – Irish Gaelic from County Carlow originally.
            Beard – From England
            Gregory – English – in County Kerry from the 1600s
            Gorman – Irish Gaelic – Can be from County Clare or Monaghan typically
            Callaghan – Irish Gaelic from North County Cork


  • Judith says:

    Thank you for your guidance. I have learned so much from your articles and from your responses to all of the inquiries sent your way. I don’t honestly know where you find enough hours in the day…

  • Mary says:

    I hope you can help. My mom’s father surname is Peter McManus. Her mom surname is Mary Elizabeth Mallon. I was told she might be from Armagh but not sure. Which county they may be from ? I plan to visit Ireland and see if I can find other member of the families there. Is McManus from Dublin?

    • Mike says:

      Hi Mary – very few names are originally from Dublin, but a lot of them ended up there!

      McManus is from County Fermanagh originally. Mallon is from Tyrone originally – but many of them moved to Armagh.

      Hope this helps – Mike.

  • Pauline says:

    GG Grandmother Frances Keane born in 1834 in Wicklow. Daughter of John Kean a Dublin Doctor she Migrated to Tasmania in 1856. She sailed on the ship “WOODCOTE” arrived in Hobart 29 Dec 1856. Employed by Sir Francis Smith who became Premier of Tasmania. Moved to the country at Campbell Town to the Property “Camelford” owned by the Nicolson Family and here she met and married Samuel Smith. I have nothing on her life in Ireland at all.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Pauline – thanks for sharing – I have added your Irish name to our list. If you wish to track down more detail on a reliative from that time, you may need the help of a Geneologist. You could try Noreen at for some specific pointers. Mike.

  • shane maree keenahan says:

    Hi, my great grandfather came from King’s County, Kilbride Ireland.Any Information on our last name Keenahan would be much appreciated as it is an unusual name .
    My GGG grand parents were Patrick & Mary Keenahan, born around 1780
    Cannot find any thing on them.

    Kind Regards

    • Mike says:

      Hi Shane – name now added to our list. Hard to find specific records in Ireland going back that far. Kings County is now called County Offaly.

      Keenahan (also Kinahan) is originally from County Westmeath (just north of Offaly). Mike.

  • Diane Harris says:

    would like to know the origin of Deeds, was told I am Irish but
    cannot find the name!

    • Mike says:

      Hi Diane, sorry, but I don’t know that name in an Irish context. It may be a changed spelling but it is hard to get info on it as it is also the spelling of an English word. Mike.

  • Karen says:

    Hi Mike, I was looking for info on the surname McCamley from Co. Armagh. Is it a synonym for another name and which area is it found predominately? Also, I’m looking for info on the surname Killen ( I don’t know which county it is from). Thanks.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Karen – McCamley is a synonym of McCauley – it is used mostly in COunties Armagh and Antrim.

      Killen/McKillen came from Scotland in the 1400s and settled in the Armagh area also.


  • Michael Britton says:

    Hello Mike, my family name is Britton on my fathers side and Hall on my mothers. Not sure where they come from, please help.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Michael – Britton means someone from Brittany in northwest France. They arrived in Ireland from England mostly after 1200 and is found in a number of locations through the country. No particular settlement pattern.

      Hall is one of the most common names in England – but found in the counties of Munster since the 1300s – and very numerous in Ulster since the 1600s. Mike.

  • Barb Kerry says:


    The family name I am searching is McMyler. One family here in Canada, and I think they were from county Mayo. I have also seen it spelled McMylor. Any suggestions on an origin and timeline for it?


  • Kathleen McFarland Holderby says:

    You are a dear to spend so much time assisting so many people with their family origins. God bless you, sir. I have much to research in Ireland Census records as I have stalled with my Great Grandfather James H Cleary born in 1833 In Ireland. His death certificate states his place of birth to be Tiperary, according to one of his sons. My research shows he returned to Ireland with his wife and settled in Sligo. The name James Cleary is so common and I am having difficulty locating information regarding his parents. Any ideas or direction you can advise?
    Many thanks in advance,

  • Robin says:

    Looking for Owens, Crow and Bloomer. Would any of these be from Ireland?

  • Looking for information on the last name BURKE and from which county they would have come from.
    On my mothers side is the BURKE surname. My great-great-great-great-grandfather Cornelius Burke came to America in 1850 and settled in Preston County, VA (then)/WV (now). He had his son Hiram and 4 daughters. I do not know where Cornelius came from or where he went. All I have been told is that his son Hiram was born in Monongalia County, VA (then)/WV (now) in 1822. I can only guess how old Cornelius was when he came to the states. Cornelius Burke is a very common name. So any clues as to which county besides Galway that I should check would be most helpful and very kind of you to guide me in what direction. ———–Ironically my fathers Clerk ancestor is from Kilsarin, Darver Civil Parish, County Louth, Republic of Ireland. My great-great grandfather Loughlin Clerk aka: Laughlin Clarke aka: Laughlin Clark aka: Lockey Clark. His parents were Thomas Clerk and Rose O’Riley. Now Laughlin Clarke was one of 5 sons baptized in April 1815 and he came to Pennsylvania in 1836. I do not know what ship he was on. He settled in Maryland and married his first wife Sarah Diehl. They had 3-4 children. Then he became naturalized and came on into Preston County and Sarah died and by 1869 Feb. 16th Laughlin Clarke married a 2nd time to my great-great grandmother Mary Catherine Stemple (German immigrant).

  • Mary Lou Kator says:

    The story is that my 6th GGrandfather, Michael Coffeen, emigrated to the U. S. between 1702 and 1720 from Dublin and married here, but no further information of his Irish family previous to coming here is known. Does such a surname exist in Ireland?

    • Mike says:

      Hi Mary Lou – I think I remember us talking about this before.

      Coffeen sounds like it may be a version of the common surname Coffey.

      The other possibility is that it is a spelling variant of Coffin which is very rare also.

      Hope this helps, Mike.

  • Nick Fionnlagh says:

    I am trying to find out more about my ancestor Charles Finley who left Wicklow around 1835-1845 for Westminster, London where in 1847 his wife gave birth to a son Nicholas Finley. The dates are supposition as I don’t know when he was born or where, was he married before he went or did he marry an English girl? I really don’t know. Any help would be great to point me in the right direction.


  • Cindy Gillum says:

    Hello! I recently obtained a copy of my grandmothers genealogy after her death, this is where it started and wondered if you would know anything of this Patrick’Peter’ Jordan….this was where our American tree started and would love to find more of the Irish tree….
    1. PATRICK ‘PETER’2 JORDAN (UNKNOWN1) was born Bet. 1724 – 1725 in County of Mayo or Sligoe, Ireland, and died August 09, 1798 in Mercer County, near Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

    Burial: near Harrodsburg, KY 73y
    Emigration: 1792, to Mercer Co., KY to his sons.
    Immigration: 1742, Prisoner from Co., Sligoe in Ireland?
    Indentured Servitude: Bet. 1742 – 1777, Frederick Co., VA to Zane’s Iron Works?
    Land Transactions: Bet. 1777 – 1791, Frederick Co., VA?
    Occupation: Forager and Hammersmith at the Isaac Zane’s Ironworks / Marlboro Works and Farmer in KY?
    Property: March 1799, Will Proved
    Residence: July 24, 1758, Frederick Co., VA
    Will: May 1805, Probated, Mercer Co., KY

    • Mike says:

      Hi Cindy – very interesting – there are many Jordans in Mayo especially. There is even an area called “Jordans Country”. It is, however, extremely difficult to find records in Ireland from before 1820. I have the feeling you may need the help of a Genealogist – and even then they will probably have a hard time coming up with records. Good luck! Mike.

      • Cindy says:

        Thank you , Mike! I was very happy to find what I did of my Jordan side, we have a very large family of Jordan’s here in Ohio and seeing it all began with an indentured slave from Ireland fascinated me…my grandma said we had Irish roots, but seeing it laid out made my day!
        Thank you,

        • Mike says:

          You’re welcome Cindy! Mike.

          • Cindy says:

            Hello Mike,
            Well as I showed you earlier, my Jordan side was Irish from Mayo, my great grandmother who married a Jordan, had the maiden name “Smith” I always assumed was English… Well my “Smith” side was Irish too:
            ​1. Robert First2 Smith (Unknown1) was born Bet. 1733 – 1741 in County Armaugh, Ireland, and died July 04, 1798 in Ireland or Kentucky. He married Mary J. Houston McDonald Abt. 1765 in Ireland. She was born Abt. 1745 in Ireland, and died Abt. 1815 in Ireland.

            Child of Robert Smith and Mary McDonald is:
            +​2​i.​Robert II3 Smith, born January 20, 1766 in County Armaugh, Ireland or Huntingdon, PA; died June 06, 1842 in Sunfish Twp., Pike County, Ohio 76y4m17d.

            Generation No. 2

            ​2. Robert II3 Smith (Robert First2, Unknown1) was born January 20, 1766 in County Armaugh, Ireland or Huntingdon, PA, and died June 06, 1842 in Sunfish Twp., Pike County, Ohio 76y4m17d. He married Elizabeth McAlvey Abt. 1789 in Barree Twp, Bedford Co, PA, daughter of William McAlvey and Margaret Harris.
            Thanks again, Cindy

          • Mike says:

            Hi Cindy – nice catch! I’ve now added the extra names to our list. There are lots of Smiths in the north part of the country. Some are of Gaelic extraction – McGowan/Smith – and some are later Scottish/English planters. Mike.

  • Karri Ashford Veach says:

    I have been looking for my daddys side. Ashford and Mathews and moms side Kelly and Rhyns any suggestions?

  • Kimberlee Trainor says:

    I don’t see the Trainor surname anywhere in the info related to Ireland surnames. I am pretty certain my family came from County Monaghan .. Can you give me any more information ?

  • Allison says:

    My last name is Hurley and I was always told that it is an Irish last name and I would love to know more about it. What can you tell me about my last name? Any and all information will be appreciated.

  • Brenda Riley says:

    I would greatly appreciate any information on my surname Riley. I was told that all the variations and spellings were derived from O’Reilly is that true?

  • Nelson Madigan says:

    My oldest ancester, so far, James Madigan lived in townland of Carheeny, county Limerick circa 1850. I’d like to know when the surname Madigan appeared in Ireland and its origine ?
    Thank you in advance

  • Kirk Arbuckle says:

    Can you point me in the direction fo finding information on the surname ARBUCKLE

  • Kevin says:

    I ma interested in learning as much as I can about the Gunning’s of Ireland, specifically around the Riverstown area. I think it was Kilcommon area? Thank you Mike.


  • linda james says:

    wow this is interesting Mike …i am trying to do my family tree ..and i am having trouble ..the two names that i am looking for are ..MULDOON and HANNON …..i was told that Muldoon could be Sligo..but i am going round in circles ….any idea where these names originate as ggggrandfather born approx1799..i think i am looking wrong places …please enlighten me …he was married ..i think.. to Hannon. .ALSO APPROX1799…they had at least 6 children ..and travelled a lot he was a Farrier thier children born uk and Ireland ended up in Wales ..i hope you can be of help …..many thanks …Linda x

  • Geraldine says:

    Hi there Mike, some very interesting tid bits here….my maiden name is O’Neill (my grandfather from County Antrim) but there is a lot of secrecy within the family so finding it hard to find the exact info. Any light you can shed or suggestions greatly appreciated. Thank you

  • Kathleen says:

    I am interested in McGrath and Ferguson. I have some information about McGrath but when it comes to Ferguson I am completely in the dark.

  • Hi Mike, My maiden name is Gallery. I do not know where my ancestors resided in Ireland. went to Ireland last year and never saw the name listed anywhere. One time, I met some Irish tourist and they insisted the gallery family came from County Cork. I would love to know. Thanking you in advance and wishing you well.

  • Cheryl Louise "McKee" Weisz says:

    Hi Mike,
    Wondering if you could steer me toward the “McKee” county. I’ve been told we were originally part of the “MacAuld” (sp?) tribe.

  • linda james says:

    okay MIke….thank you the SUBSCRIBE bit …stopped me in my tracks i will look again …many thanks …Linda

  • Henry L. Gleason says:

    Why are some Gleason’s spelled with an “ea” and others with “ee”. (Gleeson)

  • Laynee Moore says:

    Hi Mr. Collins!

    So I have been doing some research into my family history (as much as I can with as little resources as I have) and I have an ancestor who came to the US from Ireland in the late 1800s I believe. We know where he immigrated to here in the states (which I can’t quite remember right this moment), but we don’t know where in Ireland he came from. I have searched many sites like but I can’t find any records. Our last name is Moore. I’ve heard of Moore being a common name in Ireland, but is there a specific region the Moores originally come from? And I looked it up and from what I read, the Irish Gaelic version of my name is O’Mordha. Is that correct? Thank you! And by the way I love reading your blog. It is a very enlightening and interesting read. Thanks again!
    L. Moore

  • Pauline Slack says:

    Hi Mike, I am finding your letter very interesting as I find Irish research from England very difficult. Wonder if you have come across the Crean/Crane surname, my Martin came to Yorkshire in or around 1870 and one census says he was from County Mayo. Would also like to know, if you have time, where the castles built by Brady, Bellew and Carlin are in Ireland. Many thanks. Pauline

  • Timothy Bowman says:

    My mother’s parents were Hanlin and Ellis of Ireland or Wales decent. My father’s parents were Bowman and Dollarhyde. I was able to trace back the Hanlin name to Ulster. Dollarhyde was Scotish/ Viking surname. Bowman was English

  • Bonnie says:

    Hi Mike! I have hit a roadblock in researching my great grandfather Robert Balmer Hanthorn born in Co. Armagh, Ireland Sept 1833 and his father John Hanthorn born in Ireland Feb 1802. John and his brother James Trotter Hanthorn (b. 1804) and James’ wife Mary Beattie emigrated to Canada with what remained of their families around the late 1840’s. They show up on a census here in 1851 as farmers and carpenters and then Robert with his own land on a census in 1878.
    I have actually found a couple of Hanthorns living in Northern Ireland now but they say they are a small family and know of no other relatives, past or present. Is Hanthorn an Irish name and is Armagh the right county? I have encountered other spellings like Henthorn and Hawthorne. Also, is Balmer an Irish surname ? It keeps showing up down the line.
    Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  • Rose says:

    Hi, any info on the surname Bardin from Westmeath?

    Cheers, rose

  • Maggie Colvin says:

    My great grandfather Patrick Mullin married my great grandmother Catherine Vallelly.

    Where would the surname Vallelly come from?

    My great great grandfather was Michael Mullin. He married Elizabeth McEwan and their son was Patrick. We don’t know if there were any other siblings. Our research has showed that Patrick and Catherine were married in Airdrie, Scotland.

    Thank you.


  • Margaret M Roth says:

    my mother and her entire family was born in county mayo with the surname Mullee, her father being John Mullee , Mulle doesn’t seem to be a very common irish name even my cousins and aunt that remain in Ireland cant give any ideas to the origin of the name was wondering if you could give me a direction to go with the name. Thanks!

  • Heidi Vaughn says:

    Hi Mike.
    My family history on my father’s side says that a Vaughan ancestor came to America from Ireland in the 1600s. During the U.S. Civil War, it looks like my branch dropped the last “a” because they fought for the Union army and did not want to be associated with those who fought for the Confederacy. I’ve looked up the surname and it always comes up as a Welsh name. Can you tell me if it is truly Irish and, if so, where in Ireland the Vaughan’s come from?
    Thank you very much.

    • Barbara Vaughan says:

      There are a lot of Vaughans in Ireland. My family is from County Fermanagh. There is a concentration of Vaughans in County Donegal, and another in County Clare. Some Vaughans descend from an Irish family originally named Mahon. Others are probably immigrants to Ireland in the 16th and 17th century.

      I’m not an expert, but I see no one has answered you, and I’m just sharing what I’ve picked up in researching my own family.

  • Geni says:

    My great grandfather’s name was Carr, no information as to his first name or where in Ireland he hailed from. I have no known living relatives to obtain this information from. If you have any information about the name Carr, I would like to know where in Ireland the family name originated.

  • Rosemary Omar says:

    Hi Mike,
    My Great grat grandparents Susan Nocher and Thomas McGeoch are listed as being from Ireland, but were living in Stranraer, Ireland, where he was a cattle/ horse dealer. His parents were Terrance McGeoch and Elizabeth McIlgrew, also from Ireland . And Susan Nochers parents were a Bernard Nocher and a Bridgit Cain , from Ireland.

    Thanking you for any help you can give 🙂

    • Rosemary Omar says:

      Also a Peter Moore, my gt gt grandfather, a blacksmith from Ireland, living in Stranraer married to Thomas McGeoch’s daughter Mary.

  • Rosemarie McLeod says:

    Looking at the Kain/Cain and Harrington names from Roscommon , John Cain/Kain and Mary Harrington had my 3rd Great Grandfather Patrick Harrington Kain in 1824 in Roscommon and also the Brennan Family from Antrim

  • Betty Henning says:

    My surname is Henning. My great grandfather and great grandmother emigrated to Canada from Kilkeel, County Down. My GGGrandfather and GGGrandmother were also in County Down. There are Hennings in Kilkeel that we seem to not be related to though. Is Henning an Irish surname, or did we come from Scotland etc?

  • Ann Griffiths says:

    Hi Mike,
    Lannan/ Lannon, My G/G/Grandmother immigrated to Van Dieman’s Land 1854 with her sister & sisters husband from Garryduff, Kilkenny. Luckily I have the three generations back to the first marriage of Andrew Lannan in1759 in St, Mary’s Kilkenny. I am interested in knowing where these Surname’s originated in Ireland.
    Wives/ Dillon/ (St Mary’s had children bpt)
    Whelan & Brennan (Both at Leighlin Bridge/ Brennan, Paulstown had children bpt)
    Thank You,
    Kind regards,
    Ann (Tasmania- Australia)

  • Candace Cross-Drew says:

    My great grandfather was John Giblin and he arrived with his parents in 1830 in Vermont. I don’t know where he was born or where in Ireland he & his parents came from. His father was Patrick Giblin and his mother was Margaret O’Brien. Some of the people they immigrated with came from Leitrim. So, my questions are 1)is Giblin an Irish name? and 2)what counties in Ireland would be likely homeplace for my Giblins. Thanks! Candace

  • Jacqui Marchant says:

    Dear Mike,
    Love reading your pieces about Ireland and family names. I can trace my father’s mother’s side, Gallagher, to County Tyrone to one Andrew who was a butcher but I don’t seem to be able to back further than that.
    His father was a Flannery and I think I found some relatives in Nenagh, Tipperary, last time I was there but they are all a bit cagey about which family members might be related as there are several families in the region. Any ideas re research?

  • Julie says:

    Hi Mike

    I am looking for information on the name Feiney,. My forebear James Feiney migrated to Whitby as a weaver and then on to New Zealand via South Africa in the 1860’s.The name has been spelt Feiney consistently throughout subsequent generations and the only variation on it that we have identified is Feighney in a Catholic record in Whitby. A report on his death referred to him as being a relic of Castlemaine Co Mayo but I have been unable to establish the existence of a Castlemaine in Mayo !
    Can you provide me with any insight on the origins of the name ?

  • Anne (Burke) Duncan says:

    Looking for anything about my Great Grandmother. She was suppose to have been born 1838 in Limerick. Can’t find anything at all. Her name was Bridget Neenan. She went to London England when she was 8 as her parents had died in Limerick.

  • Donna says:

    Hi, any ideas on origins of surnames:

  • Hi is Purcell an irish surname. We come from Dublin…

  • Katherine Kress says:

    my family surname is Hand and they came from Meath in the 1850’s. Is this an Irish or English surname?

  • Susanne says:

    My great grandfather was Daniel Brizzle, he is in the 1861 Scottish census in Greenock aged 19, with his brother Alexander, they both state they were born in Ireland. Family stories say they were born in County Antrim. I have been unable to find any record of them in Ireland. Their parents are William Brizzle and Catherine Speir/Speer. Both brothers marry in Scotland in 1866, both marriage certificates state their father William is deceased. I am unsure of the origins of the name Brizzle sometimes spelt Brizzell or Brizzel. The name seems to be only in Northern Ireland so I wonder if the origins are English. There has also been the suggestion that it maybe Hugenot.

    I would be grateful for any ideas, Thank you Susanne

  • christine hunt says:

    The family name changes in the record the further back I go. From Grambley to Grumbley to Grimley to Grumly in 1850. Few Philip grumbleys b:1822 ish to be found in the records. Not sure what spelling is the original or where to concentrate my search.

  • Margaret Demick says:

    I have a Patrick O’Hara who supposedly arrived in Canada in 1784. He was suppose to be on a ship of Royal Fusilers and stayed. IF this is true he soon moved onto Vermont where he married into and early American family. Family lore going way back gives his birth place as Londonderry and his father as Henry. Are the O’Hara’s from that area? Someone told me the name is actually Scottish and he might have been Scots-Irish. How likely is that. I have Scots Irish on the other side of the tree.

  • Stevan Hay says:

    My great Grand Father was named Jackson Kerns born in 1856 in Kentucky USA. His parents were Irish Americans also born in Kentucky in the early 1800’s. I assume their parents came from Ireland but I haven’t been able to trace back that far. I think their Irish surname was spelled Cairns. Can you perhaps point me towards an Irish county where Cairns might have come from?

  • Deborah O'Brien McGlinch says:

    I am looking for information on O’Brien from Midleton County Cork married to Mary Ahearn Iknow 2 of the children were Michael John The other Mary Virgina the children were put in a orphanage after their mothers death until their father remarried the father worked for the lord of the manor Michael ran away to America after a fight with his stepmother

  • Nancy L Harris says:

    Hello, Mike! I’m so happy to have found your wonderful Website!

    I’ve done some research on my mother’s side of the family, going back to County Roscommon. Two Cunningham cousins, both from farming families, had emigrated to the US, then married and raised their family in Orange, New Jersey.

    Researching back in time I’ve found my great, great grandfather Bernard Cunningham who married a Flanagan (Flannigan).

    I am curious to learn more about the Cunninghams and Flanagans of Roscommon. Anything you can share will be so appreciated! Thank you!

  • Shirley Collins McGee says:

    Hi Mike,
    My Great grandfather Peter McSherry came from Ireland he went to Pennsylvania Adams county. He and his son Peter A McSherry lived in St. Louis Missouri. Thank you for you help.

  • Shayne Landon says:

    I am in search of my g,g,great grandfather Patrick Cassidy or his wife Mary Gavigan. I do know that Patrick was originally from County Mayo and was born around 1798. I assume Mary was also from County Mayo. I assume they were married in Ireland prior to immigrating to the U.SW. sometime in the 1850’s or 1860’s. I believe at least some of their children were also born in Irelanfd [Ellen Cassidy, Mary Cassidy and Hatti Cassidy].

    My question is how best to track this line of Cassidy’s in Ireland? I have yet to establish their voyage to the U.S. but do know that the family is listed in the 1880 U.S. census.

    Thanks for any guidance you may have to offer.
    Shayne Landon

  • Shirley Tagart DeLong says:

    The Tagart surname seems to be a bit of a muddle – is it Irish or Scottish or both? I’ve only been able to track through my great-grandfather in the US (born 1830) and am getting conflicting info on where to look prior to that. On my mother’s side, what can you tell me about the Willett name? My mother swears the family is Irish. Thanks!

  • mark o says:

    It’s worth pointing out that it is not always as simple as pint pointing your ancestors to a specific county, counties are obviously a modern thing in the context of Irish history, take the O’Neills for example, the original Ui Neill tribe were based up in the modern Donegal/Derry border, they then moved into the lands of modern East Tyrone and spread through south Derry, Antrim, Down and north Armagh

  • Todd says:

    is it possible to be from two separate lines but have both lines originate from the same area? mothers father McElyea and father’s father Gregor. earliest records are from Glasgow from both sides in 1800’s.

  • Donna Murrman says:

    Can you give me an idea of where in Ireland the name “Milligan” came from?
    Thanks in advance.

  • Gloria Addis says:

    Hi Mike love your site I am searching for my ggg grandfather Thomas Somers he was a Weaver in Tipperary somewhere in the 1840’s also my other ggg grandfather Daniel Hafy Hafey or Heaphy from Waterford in the 1840’s could you please tell me where these two names originated from or if indeed they are Irish .Thomas’s son and Daniel’s daughter emigrated to The Channel Islands in the 1860’s then to New Zealand in 1874 .
    Thanks for any information on these two names.
    Regards Gloria.

  • Okey Simmons says:

    I have a surname on my dad’s side (his mother) & it is ALLENDER. My searching & others (spelling ALLiNDER) show it as a Northern name, from Scotland. Other variations are: Allander, Ellinder, Elander, Alender, Alander & more taken from these. Alon from Alin meaning rock, also from Allen. My Simmons searching shows a Norman derivation, from Scotland, north. Doing my DNA shows a big percentage Ireland. Any help on this? Thank you! Okey

  • Janet Hever says:

    Hi Mike, I am looking for Hever, did not come up on your search. Any thoughts? Arrived in Boston in the 1880’s. One census says 1880, one say 1884. Thank you
    janet hever

  • sharon felix-chandler says:

    hi mike

    do you have any info on my grandfather irving neil his spelling maybe oneill

    thank you for your help

  • Gilbert Kerley says:

    I have been told that all Kerley’s came from Ireland. Is this true?

  • I have always been told Kerley is an Irish surname. Is that so?

  • brenda lamb says:

    have mary mcmanus born 1831 lisneakea fermanagh she came to australia as famine girl age 15 yrs on the derwent do the family come from fermanagh or else where and is there some where l can find records for her family also the work house she .may of been in before coming to australia. have catherine brown born 1845 donegal is this where l would find family from . also bannon family where would l find the town they would of come from

  • Mary Ellen Pollard Diemand says:

    I know my paternal great grandmother, after whom I was named, was born in Dublin in 1854. Her name was Mary Ellen Burke. I don’t have any info on her siblings, parents, or anything further back. That’s all I know about her or any (related?) Burkes in Ireland.
    Also, she married a John J. Pollard here in America and I was wondering about the Pollards of Ireland in the 19th century. Any info on either of these names would be so appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Mary Ellen Pollard Diemand

  • Betty says:

    Looking for Flynn Ancestors from Ireland…I haven’t got a whole lot of formal training in gathering or collecting information but sure am interested in furthering my searches of “Family” in Ireland. I do know some of their names…Valentine Flinn/Flynn born abt. 1690 in Ireland and poss. died in MD. USA. A long line of Valentine Flynns were born here in America. Betty Flynn

  • My name is david gilbride, if you could, give me any information on my surname , I would be very grateful

  • Sandra says:

    Hello there, I’m looking for information for the surname Lopeman from Offaly. Would appreciate anything you can offer. Thanks much!

  • Madelaine Lynch Singleton says:

    both sets of great grandparents came from Ireland in the mid-late 1800s. My father’s maternal grandparents were Gilligan I believe he is Thomas from Sligo around 1840-1860

  • Teresa Morgan Griffith says:

    Hi Mike, I’ve been looking for my Morgan ancestors in Ireland for over three years and haven’t had a single clue as to their county of origin yet. It just says Ireland on all of their documents from the United States. Can you please help me figure this out? Thanks in advance 🙂

  • Dianne Kehoe Lawrence says:

    Mike: This week I received your book, purchased through, nicely done.

    Re: Kehoe surname. My Kehoe/Kirwan ancestors came from County Wexford to Upper Canada 1825. The spelling Kehoe is most commonly found In Wexford. In Wicklow it’s Keogh or Keough. I’ve also found through research that Kehoe is most often RC where Keogh is non-Catholic.

    Re: O’Byrne (my grandson’s line). Although most commonly found in Wicklow his ancestors were from County Sligo. For anyone researching O’Byrne, Byrne, there is a set of 3 books ‘The Byrnes And The O’Byrnes’ by Paul J Burns, Nicholas C Burns and Daniel Byrne-Rothwell with 1000’s of pages of research and a most valuable tool for anyone interested in this surname.

  • Thomas Brannigan says:

    Looking for any information about my Great Grandfather, Francis Brannigan. I’ve been told he came from County Tyrone, born circa 1820s. I do know he immigrated to the US on July 29, 1869. He married in Ireland (wife’s name Susan) and had at least 3 children there (John, James and Elizabeth) He did live in County Durham England (Coal Miner) for a while before coming to America, my Grandfather Owen Brannigan was born there in 1860.

  • Margaret Kelly says:

    Hi Mike
    My grandma’s family were Deffley (Divily) from Roscommon or Galway. I see from a previous answer you gave that so does the name Dufferly – are these separate family names or could they be the same? Any help appreciated thanks. Margaret

  • Leah says:

    Hello! I am looking for McGinty’s and haven’t had much luck in locating many. I am looking for Thomas or Patrick. How will I know which one is my relative. Thank you for time!

  • Berta Wolsey. Née. Shields says:

    What parts of Ireland would the name Shields ( paternal grandmothers family ) be found? Also my father’s (who was born out of wedlock ) father was purported to have the surname Desborough. Would like to know possible locations of names as my father was estranged from his family and we have very little information. Thank you for any help you could give me. Berta

  • Mitch says:

    My grandmother was a Kiernan (per her death certificate). I saw a post for Kieran, but not Kiernan. I am wondering if you have any further information?

  • Hello Mike,
    I am looking for Gallivan from O’Gealbhan. I am thinking Cork, Kerry or Claire can you push me in the right direction?
    Thanks, Alex

  • Cyndy Cessnun says:

    We have always been told the Cessnun name was Irish. We have traced our family tree back to Ireland where James Cessnun jumped on a boat to America. Our family trees ends there. We don’t know if he was running from the law, if he changed his name, or any number of scenarios. Have you ever heard of the Cessnun name? If so, let us know if it’s really Irish or where we should be looking. Even the internet has limited information. Thanks

  • soozy says:

    my last name is mclaughlin, may have been machlachlan…i thought my father’s folks were from ireland all these years, but could have been scotland…my father used to sing certain songs, like “the fields of athen rye” and some other irish ballads, i wonder which country, they came over on one of the first ships (the Victor?) and landed in nova scotia

  • Timothy Barley says:

    We were always told that there is/was a Colfer Castle in County Wexford but I can find no reference to it. Does anyone have any information or clues? thanks!

  • Name says:

    My grandmother’s maiden name was Scanlon, have any

    • Tony Dolan says:

      There are two distinct septs of Scanlons one originates in the counties of Kerry Limerick and Cork while the other originates in the Sligo Donegal area. the name is quite widespread throughout Ireland. The is 6 Ballyscanlans in Ireland

  • Brenda Oakes says:

    My husband’s (Ron Oakes) g-g-g-grandfather was Alexander Dunbar son of Thomas Dunbar from County Antrim (Broomhedge). His g-g-g-grandmother was Esther Hull daughter of William Hull and Ellen McDonel from either County Antrim or County Down. Alexander was born about 1821 and Ellen was born about 1830. They immigrated to Canada in 1863 with four of their children, James (1851), William (1858), Isabella (1860) and Sarah (1862) and had two more children in Canada, Margaret (1868) and Thomas (1870.

  • Jerseygram says:

    My grandmother was Mary McCartin from Leitrim. I believe she was born around 1875 and emigrated to the USA in the very late 1800’s. Her parents’ names were James and Mary. How can I find more?

  • Jan says:

    Haven’t been able to find much about my Coughran family or Moffett family. Would like to know who, what, where, when.

  • Debbie Giammarino says:

    I have a question. My dads name is Thomas Connor’s. His father said when his parents came over from Ireland they changed there name from oconnors to Connor’s is this true

    • Tony Dolan says:

      The dropping of the O with Irish Names was quite common to avoid early discriminationThe O’ Connor name is quite illustrious with six distinct septs with the most important group originating in the province of Connacht. The history of the O’Connors is well researched and I am sure with little effort you can access much of the written records

  • Jack says:

    Hello I’m looking for information on the Carney Family from Poor Street,somewhere in county Mayo. My grandfather’s name was James Carney came over to Canada sometime in the late1800’s married Annie Parant & came on to America ..Lawrence

    • Tony Dolan says:

      The name was often changed to Kearney and originates from two Irish names O’Catharnaigh (warlike) of County Meath and the other which is probably your branch is O’Cearnaigh (victorious) originates in the province of Connacht of which County Mayo is included.

  • Alys Caviness-Gober says:

    Looking for possible counties in Ireland with historical records for surnames Lewis and Jacob(S). Thank you.

  • Lindy moore says:

    Robert Moore born 1664 Londonderry married Margaret Ramsey moved to America Looking for any info on the previous history my surname is Moore he is my 8th great grandfather. Thanks

  • Jeanette Briody says:

    Looking for Henry ancestors from the Skreen/Dromard area OF Sligo,I believe the originated on or near Coolaney. I have got back to 1872. Any help would be great.

  • Dre Rossiter says:

    Top of the mornin’…I’m looking for info on “Rossiter”, I don’t know much about our current family, and our ancestor’s lives. If you can find anything, I would appreciate that!

    • Tony Dolan says:

      The name Rossiter is long associated with county Wexford where the first Rossiter arrived there in 1169 with the Anglo-Norman Settlers. The built numerous castles in Wexford and it seems the liked that part of Ireland as the name is still quite common in that area, more than any other county.
      Hope this helps

  • Kellie Byrns Alford says:

    I live in America and my last name is Byrns. I am curious about my heritage. I’ve always believed it was Irish (maybe it was my bright red hair I was born with), but wasn’t sure. I’ve read where the sur name is Byrne or Byrnes. I just don’t understand why they changed the name once they hit American soil? So confusing. Would love to know if I am right. If so, is the Byrne, Byrnes, O’Byrne the same clan? Any information on them would be great!

    • Linda Pierce says:

      My maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Byrne (pronounced like “Burn”). My great, great grandfather Byrne came over here from Edinburgh, Scotland. So in our family it’s Scottish. 🙂

    • Tony Dolan says:

      It was not uncommon for persons of Irish background to change their names when going to the US or Canada to avoid discrimination. The O’ Byrne is long associated with County Wicklow where the were the chieftains for centuries

    • Una says:

      My g. Mother was an O’Beirne, appx. 1890 some of her family changed their name to Burns. We understand many large families did the same.

  • Cooke says:

    Looking for the Cookes who went to Jamaica in the mid 19th century

  • Carol says:

    I’m looking for my Irish ancestors. I’m looking for information on James Bedford who married Bridget Purcell in 1804 I think in Aghabe. They had a son born in 1808 in County Laois. Could Bedford be an English planter name?

  • travis says:

    Something I’ve been looking for but unable to really pin down is whether Shannon started as a surname or a given name, really curious to find out which was historically used first, I’ve always thought surname but haven’t found anything to truly support it.

    • Una says:

      Cromwell’s army were confused with so many Sheehan’s, Shanagher’s, Shanley’s & others, so they found it easier to register all of them SHANNONS. Afterwards some families changed back to their original, others chose to stay with Shannon.

  • Gail Street says:

    My great great grandfather William R (?) Tolbert (variety of spellings) says he was born in Ireland approx. 1810. The 1st documentation I have of him is in 1850 Clark Co. AL USA census with a wife m. in 1846. He says that he does not read and write. He has a daughter named Mary and a son named William. I do not know when or where he came into the US or where he lived in Ireland and nothing about any of his family. I’m planning a trip to Ireland and need to know where to start my search. Where are the Tolbert’s in the early 1800s and where is the largest concentration today. Any other help you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

  • Lesley Denneny says:

    Hi There

    My maiden name is Denneny and I am trying to discover what part of Ireland it is from?

    • Tony Dolan says:

      I believe your name maybe a corruption of the names
      Dennehy or Deeny both of which are numerous in the Counties of Cork and Kerry

  • James Darraugh says:

    Trying to find the correct area of Ireland for the surname Darraugh (Darragh, Doroug) tombstone says County Down, but census says County Antrim.

  • John Mallow says:

    I was originally told our family was Mallow, County Cork. Since I have found out we were from Griesbach, Bas-Rhin, France (then a German duchy) back in the mid 1600s. My question is there a connection with the German Mallow’s and the Irish Mallow somewhere in the lineage? I was hoping that back in the 1100-1200’s there was a time where the wars or famines or other causes maybe dispersed the Mallows into parts of Germany and France. I really hope my lineage traces back to Ireland. My Mothers side is Munro, directly ties to Inverness, Scotland. We have traced the Mallow link to Griesbach, Bas-Rhin, France (then a German duchy).
    Any help you can provide would be most appreciated.
    Best Regards,
    John Brantley Mallow

  • Lawrence R. [Larry] Brownlee, M.D. says:

    My GG grandfather, Robert Brownlee came from Fermanagh, possibly Enniskillen. His family was said to be fromScotland. He married Ann Magee. They had 2 children in Ireland, then showed up next

    Do you know of any Brownlee’s there, or in

    in any other counties?

  • Loretta says:

    i am trying to find where the surnames Dunn and Lavigne/Lavin are from.My gg grandparents were from Ireland.I suspect county Tipperary.Can you please help?Thanks.

  • anisa says:

    do you know anything about the tighe family?

  • Erin O'Shaughnessy says:

    Looking for O’Shaughnessy’s — from some other researchers tips they might be from County Clare (maybe Kilrush) although I know there are a lot in County Galway. I am traveling to Ireland this summer and so long to be able to at least see the town they were possibly from — even if we have to visit two or three possibilities. Would hate to get home and find out I was close to where they came from and didn’t go there.
    My O’Shaughnessy ancestors came from Ireland to Canada as early as 1840 and settled in the Bromley, Renfrew, Ontario area.

    Erin O’Shaughnessy
    Vancouver WA

  • joanna says:

    I am trying to trace my roots to Ireland. I’m American and Cullinan is the family name. I can trace it back to Dennis Cullinan (born 1830 Ireland) and his wife Catherine Myers (born 1835 Ireland). But I don’t have any specifics. I’ve been told they are from County Cork, but it has been impossible to find any specific records from Ireland.
    They moved to Dunkirk, Chautauqua, New York, US, not sure when, but they had all of their kids in NY (so they must have moved before 1856. Their children are: Anna, Michael John Cullinan (my line (1858-1929)), Bartholomew, Dennis and Margaret.
    Can anyone help? We are actually making a trip to Ireland this Easter and would love to find some connection while there, if possible:-)

    • June Wallace says:

      Hi Joanna
      My husband’s g grandfather was Daniel Cullinan, born 1818 in Cork, and transported to Aus when he was 14. We know nothing else of his Irish family roots.

  • Nuala Cannon says:

    Hi, just wondering is it possible to find out who would have added the surname Meeke to Co. Meath. I too have this ancestry and would love to contact this person as we may be able to help each other with our research. Also could you please add Quirk, Archbold and Cannon to the Co. Dublin surnames. Thanks very much for your help. Nuala

  • Erin says:

    Hello so my maiden name is Higgins. And on the “Did your family come from Irish castles?” post I only saw the name O’Higgins I have only been able to trace my family back to England I think. Did my last name originate from the O’Higgins clan?

  • Melissa says:

    Hi my name is Melissa. I am extremely curious about my surname “Mull”. I have always been told I was Irish and have always been drawn to anything Irish, Gaelic but could never figure out where the Mull name originates. Is it Irish, Scottish or something else?

  • Judith Sullivan says:

    What can you tell me about the name Reynolds? The 1870 United States Federal census indicates that John F. Reynolds, my Uncle’s great grandfather was born in Ireland. I understand that it is also an English name but I am interested in the Irish origin of the name.

    Thank you,

  • Patricia Dalton says:

    Mike: Looking for a Patrick Dalton who claims he came from Kilkenny, Ireland to Newfoundland between 1820 and 1830. He was killed by accident in Harbour Main, Newfoundland in 1860’s. He had four children, 3 sons, Johnny, Richard and James, one daughter Catherine. Cannot find any information about him in Newfoundland or his family in Ireland. Hope you can help. Thank you.

    • Tony Dolan says:

      The Dalton name has been in Ireland since 1170 and is associated mostly with Counties Meath and Westmeath. he families also spread to the Counties of Tipperary and Cork which are beside Kilkenny

  • James Barrett says:

    I am a James Barrett of a long direct line of James Barrett’s earliest recorded trace to James Barrett and Johanna Fitzmaurice in Tralee, Co Kerry 1790- 1800- their son James emigrated to U.S. We know that this Tralee James Barrett was a son of a James Barrett. We also know we had James Barrett relatives in Waterbury, CT, USA as far back as 1755. Recent DNA finds link my Y-DNA to Ui Neill family /dynasty. Meaning at some point the male line originated out of this family and Not the Barrett tree from Wales. The Y-DNA is father to son – I have no idea of the connection but assume this occurred after Norman Invasion- Welsh Pembrooke Barret’s were among the advanced party in 1169. They also fought in Dublin and later as you are aware in Co. Cork.
    Any feedback? thanks,

  • Dave McLaughlin says:

    Hi Mike,

    I have been able to track back my ancestry to a certain time in Ireland , I know my ancestors name, date of birth and his wife and children’s name but can not get past that. I trying to find out information for Michael McLaughlin born 1795-1872 and who married a ? ( Mary McLaughlin) born 1797.

    Are there an of the members related to these McLaughlin and have information they would like to share.

  • Julie Sally Ernst says:

    I am looking for any information on the surname Sally. I know my great grandfather Patrick came to America from Ireland.

  • Jenny says:

    I my name is Jenny my grandparents came to America from Scotland where they were both born. I am curios about my surname McBride.

    • Tony Dolan says:

      The name means the follower or devotee of Saint Brigid and in the Irish language it is Mac Giolla Brighde. It is a numerous name in Ulster in the Counties of Donegal and Down

  • Ann says:

    My Deering’s(in Ireland)/ Dearing’s (in Canada) were in Ireland at least before 1800’s and came to Canada in or around the 1830’s. Deering/ Dearing is a English name. Can you tell me when they came to Ireland and from where?
    Thanks, Ann

  • margaret m roth says:

    hi mike my mother was born in ireland so family is not hard to follow or find in mayo but the surname Mullee is or seems a bit elusive non of the irish relatives can tell me its origin or meaning wondering if you knew and did it originate in county Mayo where the family resides. Thanks in advance Peggy

  • Christopher McCreanor says:

    Good evening,

    I have been trying to trace my family back in Ireland for years. I have very little information on my grandfather (an orphan and stowaway) on ship to South Africa. This is the story I have been told, but I don’t know if it is true. How do I trace my McCreanor family in Ireland – is it possible at all? My father’s sister died at birth (Stella Lilly McCreanor) in between 1910 to 1915. My grandfather was then taken away to a “convent” and later brought to South Africa. He is Sidney Burnard Stretch McCreanor, born on the 9th of October 1908 His father Sindey McCreanor (according to the little information I have) remained in Ireland and later came to South Africa.

    Could anybody please help.

    Kind Regards

    Christopher McCreanor
    Port Elizabeth
    South Africa

  • Cristina Helsel says:

    I was told my grandma (moms mom) is half Irish and half Scottish, her maiden name is McDonald. I was wondering what part of Ireland the McDonalds are from.

  • Jeannie says:

    Im looking into finding any info on my maiden name of Frawley but also anything on my Mom’s maiden name of Nolan. Thank you for any help or information.

  • Aileen Duncan says:

    I would like to have information on MacCourtney and Duncan surnames. Thank you for your time.

  • Jessica says:

    Hey there, my Mothers maiden name is Hannivan and the farthest back I can find is Patrick Joseph Hannivan, originally from County Cork. Also I was wondering if you knew anything about the surname Culligan ?

  • Richard Ferrill says:

    Please, I need help with the origin of my surname, Ferrill. William Ferrill walked into Kentucky with his mother via Culpepper, Virginia about 1800. Family legend has it that his forebears came from Ireland, maybe county Wexford, maybe in the latter 1700’s, maybe changing the spelling from Farrell after some sort of conflict or quarrel. Please help. Thanks, Richard Ferrill.

  • Bill Van Tassell says:

    I am looking for information on the names McCafferty, Long and Ferris?

  • I have 3 Irish surnames , O’Leary(grandmother) O’Flarighty (Great grandfather) Driscoll (great great grandmother) however I’m curious about my dads last name (Scoby) and my mothers last name (Short). I was told they were Scottish but I’ve never heard Scoby before. Do you have any information on these names?? Thanks, Kathy Scherer

  • Christina says:

    What name does the surname McGragh come from?

  • Beverly McClure says:

    Hi Mike,
    My great great grandparents were from Co. Antrim.
    William Russell b.1801 and Margaret French b.1814
    Any information on those names would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance for anything you can find.

  • Hi there, Mike, My mother’s family were Tyrrell on her father’s side (spelled Tyrell on this site, I noticed) and Jeffers on her mother’s side. I believe my ancestor, James Tyrrell, and his wife, Julia Jennings, came to Canada from the US after arriving there by ship from Ireland in the 1800’s, I think they resided in County Antrim. I haven’t been able to find out more.

  • my last name was changed from levingston to livingston. i was wondering what kind of heritage i have, i cant afford to visit ireland but i would love some information on my heritage.

  • Cindy says:

    any information on Coyle. I think my grandfather was born in County Antrim

    • Tony Dolan says:

      Your Coyle name in the Irish Language is Mac Giolla Chomhgaill (devotee of Saint Comgal) It is is associated with the counties of Donegal and Monaghan which are in the Province of Ulster as is County Antrim

  • Paulette Collins says:

    Hello Mike, My husbands father was Hugh Collins, his father, Hugh Collins from Glasgow, Scotland and his father James Collins we do not know from where. Our daughter had the great pleasure of a trip to Ireland a few years ago and came across some Irish Pubs with the Collins name on them. So the question seems to be 1. Are we IRISH? or SCOTISH ? Since I can”t seem to find any background on a James Collins. So all our family wonders where are we from?
    Thanks in advance,
    Paulette Collins

    • Irene M says:

      I was just reading the note from Paulette Collins asking about whether her Collins family were Irish or Scotch. In my family tree I have a Robert Collins as my gggrandfather and says he was born in Scotland. My grandmother always claimed to be Scotch even though her mother married James Smythe Campbell who was born in Belfast Ireland. Robert Collins came to Canada and married Margaret McColl in Ontario.

  • Melonie McKinney says:

    Good afternoon Daniel,

    My family name is McKinney, believed to be of a John McKinney born around 1780 in Ireland (immigrated before 1810) although I do not have proof this is where he is from it is only recollection passed down amongst the later generations. He married a Schultz and they had a son John and two unknown daughters. I have been trying to locate McKinneys that may be related. My DNA test recently returned to me has me at 25% in Irish and Scot regions. Any help would be appreciated or guidance on where to start

  • Silvia Raggi Ryan says:

    My grandfather born at Buenos Aires, Argentina, your name is Francisco Ryan, your father was Thomas Ryan and your mother was Mary Fegan. I wish to know were from them. I haven´t any data. They come to Argentina around year 1880, moreless, maybe 1878 or 1879. Please, can you help me?

  • Morris William Shanahan says:

    My great Grandfather and his brother immigrated to the US around 1900 and ended up in Idaho. I have a photo dated 1911 of my Great Uncle Joseph Shanahan who owned a pub in Idaho City. My Great Grandfather (Jack I believe) married a well to do socialite from (Mary Langley sp?) from either Boise or Idaho City. That is all I know and would love to have any information as to where the family came from and who might be relatives still alive in Ireland.

    • Tony Dolan says:

      The name Shanahan is associated with County Clare and were Chieftains of that area which was once called the Dalcassian area the name is still quite common in Feakle County Clare

  • Wendy says:

    Hello Mike!

    I have got myself in a little bind…. I promised my in laws I would have their ancestry completed for their family reunion next year…. I have come to a complete stop….

    I’m looking for help on two names McMeans and Pettigrew..

    I have found several family records that they are from Scotland orig… Then moving to Ireland ….. Then to the U.S…

    Any information that you can offer is greatly appreciated!


  • Elizabeth Smith says:

    I have two families that are from Ireland, one , John Wilson born 1726 County Down, died in United States,The other is John Beggs. Spelling is several ways Biggs, Baggs, my grandmother spelled hers Beggs. I would really like to know any thing you can tell me about these names. Thank you so much for your letters from Ireland. Elizabeth Smith

  • Roz Banks says:

    My Irish ancestors names are: Clark and Sorohan, which part of Ireland do these names originate from?

  • jason mccurry says:

    is the surname mccurry Irish are Scottish ?

    • Mike says:

      In Ireland, the surname McCurry is a branch of the McGuire family that started in County Fermanagh. Mike.

  • Kathleen says:

    Hi, Mike.

    Can you please tell me where in Ireland the surname Feehan originates?

    Thank you!

  • mary says:

    My grandfather’s name is sugrue. He lived i Killorglin. I am trying to trace my grandmother, unfortunately I do not have a name. I do know they married in Killorglin but cannot find any marriage details.

  • Simon says:

    Hi Mike,

    My last name is Luther and I am trying to trace my Irish ancestry. I think my family came from Mitchelstown in County Cork. Are you able to confirm whether I am on the right track or provide any information about this?


  • Sonya says:

    Hi! I’m looking for info on the surnames Gillam and Shelton.


  • Madahar says:

    Hey there, Both my parents were born in India as were their parents and grandparents and so on but recently I found out my paternal great grandmother’s maiden surname was Boyle. Does this mean I have Irish/Scottish blood? Do you know of any way to find out? Do you know of immigration records to India? (Maybe when the British Empire occupied India?) I was curious because this is the first I’ve heard of Boyle as an Indian last name and it doesn’t seem the least bit Indian (following speech pattern, etc.) Thanks for taking the time to read this

  • Noreen says:

    Hi Mike,
    I would greatly appreciate any information on my surname Noreen.

  • sherrie says:

    Hi. Over the years I have been told by family that the Jackson family name comes from Ireland.I was also told there is a town that either called that or means that when translated to English.I was also told that the ones I am related to didn’t leave on good terms with the people in their town.I am trying to locate this ‘town’ and cannot.Once while listening to a radio interview of an Irish musician while he was in Jackson,MS he too mentioned that there was a town that also meant Jackson but he pronounced it in such a way I did not know how to spell it to write it down.If there is a such a town called that or linked to the majority of Jacksons that left Ireland for America that you know of please help me out! Thank you!

  • Joanne says:

    Hi I was wondering if you can help me my fathers surname is shanahan and we know these mostly come from county Clare we are interested in any records of shanahans who emigrated to New York as this is where my grandfathers family lived and how we would trace family who might still might be in county Clare

  • Embria says:

    Hi mike, I’m a 32 year old African American woman and my last name is Kelley on my dad’s side. My grandpa on my dad’s side used to have a reddish tint to his hair and one of my cousins is a light skinned black man with very noticeable red hair and freckles. My son, ever since he was a toddler has had three strands of red hair that keep coming back when you cut it. Do you think we have Irish ancestry and where from?

  • paulscheineman says: great,great grandfather was a well known Texan during Stephen f. austins days…..immigrated from cork grandmothers name is Randall… of my mother’s mothers daughters…I’m a direct descendant of Cornelius smith who immigrated from Ireland to the united states and he then went to claim his land from Austin during the revolution.I am also with The Alamo society and other groups..I’d like to find the actual scheineman creat or coat of arms as our name is spelled..anyway you could help? Sincerely,Paul Scheineman

  • Bonnie Cutts says:

    I am Irish on both sides of my family and married a British man.
    I’m curious about some of my irish back ground.
    There are McDonalds, Way’s Kinnear, and my birth name of Hollywood ( I still use it for my writing. ) I was born in Kemptville,Ontario Canada. and I know both sides of my family migrated there from Ireland in the 1800’s

  • Pat Speakes says:

    My grandfather and great grandfather (1808 – 1882) came from Glenone/Portglenone County Derry. The name was Molloy. My great grandmother’s name was Isabella McKay (sp?) (abt 1831 to 1907). Where does that name come from? She must have come from a nearby county. Do you know?

  • Mary Connor says:

    Hi Mike- I’m looking for info on a Daniel Connor of County Kerry. Probably born circa 1800. He had a son named Murtagh or Mortimer born in 1824 in County Kerry and immigrated to Connecticut USA about 1851 and married Catherine Sullivan also from County Kerry. A side-note: Murtagh/Mortimer had a son Roger Connor who is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He held the homerun record until Babe Ruth! Any help will be much appreciated.

  • I’m after any Keenan family’s from Sligo.
    My grandfather was John Keenan, married Catherine Hannah McGuire in England 1903 , his parents are Thomas Keenan / Sarah Shannon. 1861 Occupation Farmer.
    Then I’ve got Thomas Keenan son of Patritii Keenan / Brigidae Collery.
    Shannon’s we have nothing .

    McGuire from Devonish Fermanagh, John McGuire / Catherine Mattimore.

    Also John McWilliams born in Ireland married Mary Ann Turner 1853 Newcastle upon Tyne England age at marriage not known , son of Charles McWilliams occupation Labour’s. Could he be Scottish / Irish .

    Any help please would be appreciated.

  • Carolyn says:

    Hi Mike,

    My Great Grandfather, surname Parker and his brother both came to the United States as young men. I’m told by my Father he still spoke the old Irish brogue.
    But others tell me there were no Parkers in Ireland. Hopefully you can shed some light on this.
    Thank You,

    • Tony Dolan says:

      Carolyn The name has been in Ireland since the Middle ages and is derived from Old French parquier (parkkeeper). It is prominent in the 1659 census where the name associates with the title “tituladoes” in all Irish provinces This term means the principal proprietor of a townland or street

  • Gerry says:

    My Grandfather’s surname was Francisco. I’ve grown up believing he was Irish. Is this possible?

  • Richard Dinsmore says:

    Hello Mike ~ Back in June, my sisters and I traveled to Ireland/N. Ireland on a genealogical search. I had written to you earlier regarding the Dinsmore Bridge in Ballymoney – and with the helpful assistance of Peter McAlister, a local resident and God send, who led us there, we were able to photograph same! My Great Grandfather, Joseph Dinsmore (of Ballinaloob), married my Great Grandmother, Rose Gorman (of Glenbuck), in Ballymoney in 1870 – before emigrating to Brooklyn, N.Y. When in Glenbuck, we had asked several residents whether they had ever heard of Gormans in the area -and one gentleman suggested that while he had never known of Gormans who lived there, our Great Grandmother may have traveled to Glenbuck to find work. And so, this has prompted me to ask you whether you would know which area of Ireland the Gorman family came from. And, also to let you know, that without your Letter From ireland every Sunday, I would need something stronger than tea or coffee to get through the day! Thank you for ALL you do! Richard Dinsmore

  • Anne Brady says:

    Is Pierce an Irish surname or is it English. If it is Irish where in Ireland did it come from.

  • Frank Farrell says:

    Hi Mike…just when you thought you heard them comes a strange one all the way from India.. my surname is Farrell, and we are commonly referred to as Anglo-Indians.

    I have been trying to trace the origins of my surname for quite some time now and whilst thetecare websites on the Farrell clan, no real reference to any Farrell being part of any contingent of the erstwhile British empire visiting India or ‘sowing’ their roots .

    Any chance of getting some.leads??

  • Hope Morrow Vandale says:

    My ancestors are from County Donegal, however, I’m not able to find much on surname Morrow. Any help from you would be appreciated.
    Many thanks,
    Hope Morrow Vandale

  • Sheila says:

    My irish family name. Is o’Kelly since my family has been in America for several generations we have lost much of our irish heritage. I would like to know where in Ireland my family is from

    • Tony Dolan says:

      The name Kelly occurs in in at least 5 distinct areas of Ireland with the most famous one from Roscommon Galway areas. Try to find Church records of births deaths or marriages to determine possible origins

  • Wendy O says:

    Hello Mike, my Moms maiden name is Campbell, most people think its an Scottish surname however me Mum says her clan was from Dublin and were of Irish descent.Do you know anything of the Campbell surname?Would appreciate any feedback, thanks!

    • Tony Dolan says:

      Yes Wendy, The name also has Irish origins in County Tyrone where in the Irish language it is Cathmhaoil (battle chief)

  • ed says:

    Re County Armagh, I don’t see the surname PRESTON

  • Denise says:

    Hi. My GG Grandfather had the surname Nixon. He enlisted in the British Army 1815. States born in Denn-Dinn? Near the town of Cavan, ,County Cavan. Nixon sounded English origin?. He married an Orielly.

    • Tony Dolan says:

      The Nixion name has have been in Ulster, Northern Ireland since the early 1600s and County Cavan is part of Ulster though in the Republic of Ireland. As you maybe aware the former President Nixon,s ancestors also originate from Ulster, so you maybe related…

  • Dave Hanvey says:

    I have a relative from Down, Northern Ireland. Arrived in US around 1832 via the port of Philadelphia. His name was Michael Hanvey. I hit a road block as to finding out more about him and our Irish roots. Any advise on how to find out more about him? Thank you

  • Ron Crocker says:

    Hopefully you can help me. My mom.s dad was supposedly full blood Irish but in my searches I have not been able to confirm. Their last name was Baker, is this an Irish surname or come from Ireland? My great grandfather was Date Baker but I have not been able to find records of his parent.
    any response would be appreciated


  • Judy Gill Alberyie says:

    My maiden name is Gill..pretty sure we are Irish on my Da’s side. He I do remember him singing “Danny Boy”, “Peg O’ My Heart”, and a couple others when I was ittle. Also, he looked like the typical “Black Irish”, with jet black hair and blue eyes. My hair has always been a dark red, auburn..with green eyes. I and my sister assumed our ancestors came from County Sligo, partly because of Loch Gill, in\\ which contains Innisfree..thanks.

  • Karen Lavoie says:

    Hello Mike
    My family name is Joyce. I was told my great great

    grandad was a fisherman from a small villige in Galway. Named Cladaugh I think. Is there a village by that name in Galway. His first was padraig. If it exist could you tell me about it?

  • Jacqui says:

    Can anyone tell me if Toohig is Irish ? Thank you

    • Mike says:

      Hi Jacqui – Toohig/Twohig is Irish alright. From County Cork. Mike.

      Break down those Brick WallsGo here to Bring Your Irish Ancestry to life

      • Tony Dolan says:

        Hi Mike
        You do an amazing job with this site.
        I hope that yo do not mind that I have answered some of the questions on your site. If you want me to stop please let me know and I will cease immediately.
        I live in Prince Edward Island, Canada. I teach some courses in the history of Irish names.
        I am originally from the Ballinasloe County Galway area

  • Allison says:

    My ancestors were supposedly Scots-Irish McCarty that came to America in the 1700’s. The problem is, all sources for Irish surnames say that McCarty is strictly Irish and belongs to families from the Cork area of the republic. Could it be that my McCartys had a surname that was an alternate spelling of a Scottish name (such as McHardy) or could it be that they were Scots-Irish people from Cork? Were there ever and Scotch Irish people in Cork?

    • Kevin McCarty says:

      HI Allison. I am a McCarty with the same background, Scots Irish. I have found McCarty immigrants from Ireland in the 1730-1740’s with this surname coming from County Tyrone, but cannot explain the Scots Irish, northern Ireland variant of the name. Anyone have any ideas?

  • Nancy McManigal says:

    I would like to know what part of Ireland my family was from. Surname is McManigal.

  • Margaret says:

    Read your article “the origin of your Irish surnames. Was delighted to see my maiden name McInerny mentioned & it’s meaning. Can you tell me where the family might have been from? I’d also like the meaning of McMahon & where in Ireland it was prevalent. So glad I found your sight – a wealth of information, thank you!

  • Brian says:

    Hey Mike,
    My name is Brian and I have a good one for you. I have been trying to find d out info about our last name. A woman did some research and couldn’t find much. She told me, when my grandparents came to America they simply misspelled our last name. She said, it could have been a simple swipe of the calligraphy pen and changed our last name from Mooney (maybe with an O’ also) to what it is now, MOMEY. My father was older when I was born and so was his. From what I know, grandpa was Rockwell Allen Moomey? Grandma was Mercedes Moomey? And my dads name was Allen Jr Moomey. I know that’s not much info and I don’t expect miracles for this. We are proud of our name no matter what. Do you think there is a chance to find out our heritage? I know nothing of our ancestors.
    Thank you, no matter if you can or can not, THANK YOU!

  • Anne Akey says:

    I am trying to find out from what part of Ireland my family is from on my mom’s side. Her last name was Lovell. Thanks

    • Tony Dolan says:

      Hello Anne
      Firstly the name is derived from old french lovel (lupellus) meaning wolf cub.
      The name is on record in Clonmel County Tipperary since 1310. It is also associated with the adjoining County ofKilkenny since the 16th

  • Denis Boyle says:

    Looking for the part of Ireland my Ggrand father come from-went to Canada before 1840-are there records of people leaving Ireland going to Canad???
    I have search for years but no listings for him. Landing in Canada.
    John Stuart Boyle. He Did not go to the US.
    Thanks Denis Boyle or O’Boyle

  • Melinda says:

    Hi, I am taking a family trip to Ireland this coming August, and I would like to do some research to surprise my family before we get over there about where we come from. The last name is O’Connor.

    • Tony Dolan says:

      It is important that you try and do some research and determine which O’Connor branch you belong to, as there is several unrelated O’Connor branches.
      The most famous one is the Connacht branch from where the last High Kings were from.
      The is good museum in called Clonalis House in Castlerea County Roscommon where this branch of the O’Connors trace their history more than two thousand years

    • Una says:

      My grand mother was ELizabeth O’Connor. She was a wonderful dressmaker & worked a number of years in the USA. She was ftom ROSCOMMON.

  • Anne Clarke says:

    My g. grandfather has been a mystery to our family and the brick wall that I would most like to break through. Our only info about him is that he was a deserter from Ireland who jumped ship when he was off the coast of Nova Scotia, Can. and near Shelburne Co. He then changed his name to John Brown but said his real name was what sounded like Holt or Hoyt in his Irish dialect. He was born in 1813, possibly in Naas and he was supposed to have said that he didn’t want “to kill people” so deserted. I have no idea where his ship could be heading at that time where there would be fighting.
    I’m assuming that his original first name would have been John-makes sense to keep that. Family legend has it that he hid in the woods with the Indians until he felt safe. Have been wondering where the name Holt comes from and original spellings. Can you help?????

    • Tony Dolan says:

      The Holt name has been in Ireland on record in Ireland as early as 1295 and is on record in County Cork several times in the following century. It is also found in the province of Ulster.
      There was a notable Leader of the 1798 Rebellion in Ireland called Joseph Holt which you can find more information on an internet search

  • Steve Mailly says:

    My surname is Mailly. My father’s paternal grandmother, Bridget (Bessie) Mailly emigrated to the U.S. early last century. My question is this: I know the Mailly’s were original de Mailly’s who originated from the Mailly area of Northern France. Are there any historical records that document de Mailly’s entering Ireland? Perhaps they traveled with William the Conquerer around 1066?

    My father was a man with dark hair, fairly dark skin and green eyes. He was aware of the Norman’s origins in France. Thanks.

  • Karen says:

    My 2nd great grandmother was Catherine Hensey b1843. Her father was James Hensey.
    Catherine was born in Limerick, Ireland according to the 1881 England Census.
    I know very little about her and her father except that he was deceased when she married in England.

  • Thomas J Brick says:

    MY last name is Brick. I was told that our Family came from County Cork. And that when They came to America they dropped the O that. And if possible do I still have relatives in Ireland?

    • Tony Dolan says:

      The O’ Brick is quite rare except in County Kerry (beside Cork). It means Badger in English. It is an old Irish name that has its origins in Decies (County Waterford) though they were pushed West to Cork and Kerry by the Norman invaders.

  • Donna Kerns DuBois says:

    Looking for information on Matthew McClure, maybe born in Donegal or in 1725, His wife was Jenette, maybe Cary or Kerry. They married in Ireland. He is my 5th gr. grandfather.

    Looking for my 4th great grandfather William Kerns born in Cork in 1769. I do not know anything else.

  • Bonita DiBello says:

    Looking for information on origin of my paternal Grandmothers names were Honan and McAuilffe. My paternal Grandfathers mothers name was Leach. I am wondering . I am hoping by knowing their origin I might have a place to start my search.

  • Daniel Roger says:

    My mother’s family is McClaskey. We have been able to trace them back to Pennsylvania in 1712. It has always been said that we are Irish but others have said we were Scottish. Do you have any knowledge of where the McClaskey name might have originated?

  • Kevin says:

    Good day Mike,
    My question is 2 fold, if that’s allowed, I was raised and carry my mother’s maiden name,Caffery here in America. I am 3rd generation here. I recently found out my Irish biological father’s name is Brothers. Could you provide origins of both? I was reading on a different sight that supposedly, they had ties centuries ago, but I don’t know how to go about digging that history up.
    Thank you so much for any and all help you can possibly provide! Thank you for taking the time toopen and run this sight!
    Kevin Caffery

  • Jane Moody says:

    Hello Mike -GREAT site! Thank you so much for doing this!

    SO, I have my GGGrandmother’s birth record from Schull, on the Mizen Peninsula. It was really confusing because her marriage record lists her as Ellen Neill but her birth record is Ellen “Base”. A local historian/geneologist whom I found online was such a help in connecting the two. He says that it was a local custom to divide big families by nicknames and that often the real name was dropped in favour of the nickname. He is not a gaelic speaker so I searched high and low for a gaelic word that sounded like “Base” and came up with béas, which I gather means manners or conduct. Can you shed any more light? Do you have any information at all on this? Have you heard this name EVER? She married a Holland and they emigrated to Cornwall in 1856, then to Canada in 1883. A DNA test, I am hoping, will reveal relatives, still in Ireland. Thanks so very much for any help you can offer.

  • Jenny Petko says:

    I am looking for any details on John Killen that was born in Ireland in 1798 and died in the United States in 1840, he is my 4th great grandfather and I have been unable to find any details as to his Father and Mother.


    • Tony Dolan says:

      Hello Jenny
      The Killen name (O’Cillin) is long associated with the 3 Atlantic counties of Clare, Galway and Mayo. In the publications, the (Four Masters 1443), the (Composition Book of Connacht 1585) and the (Book of Survey and Distribution1685) Kileens are recorded as reisiding at or near Ballykileen which is in the parish of Annagh in County Mayo

  • Mary Barclay Palla says:

    I am looking for Robert Barclay; d. 1779. Married to Ann Carsan. Robert was a merchant and land owner of Strabane in county Tyrone. He is probably of the Pierston branch. Robert, himself never left Ireland, but his son, Thomas (1728-1793) travelled to Pennsylvania. I’m trying to find out if Robert was born in Ireland, or Scotland; and If he was born in Scotland, when did he make the move to Ireland. It is said that Robert was of the Pierston branch that moved to Ireland during the Ulster Plantation. I would like to find his parents, also.

  • Francis R Dyer says:

    Looking for information on a Peter Dyer , his son was born in Scotland 1770 His name was William Dyer ,Peter was born & died in Ireland . that’s all I have on Peter ,looking for more information on Peter & his side of the family , I have traced My side of the Dyer’s from Scotland to Ireland ( Peter Dyer ) any Infofmation would be helpful on the Dyer’s . Thank you .

  • Vivienne Bowker says:

    I would like to check where my great grandfather James Hugh O’Connor came from. I think it was Roscommon, born in 1836 – father Hugh, stonemason. Would love to hear from you…

    • Tony Dolan says:

      I am not Mike, though I have been responding to some questions on this site. I was born in the Roscommon/Galway area though now live in Canada.
      The O’Connor name as you are aware is one of the most illustrious of all Irish surnames, with six distinct septs with the most important one is the O’Connors of the province of Connacht of which Roscommon is a part of. Within Connacht there is also 3 branches called O’Connor Don, O’Connor Roe and O’Connor Sligo. The O’Connor Don of Connacht are descendants of the last High King of Ireland (Roderick O’Connor)
      In Castlerea County Roscommon is situated Clonalis House the ancestral home of the O’Connor Don and is still in the family possesion after 1500 years. The have a extensive collection of material on the O’Connor history, you may also want to seek online Griffiths Valuation of County Roscommon (1852-1858) also Surname index of 1749 Census of Elphin Diocese.
      Finally Vivienne can you please confirm that you have received this information, as I have responded to several question on this site and I have not seen any responses

  • Ken Burch says:

    I am doing an Ancestry search. I belive my great grandfather was James Needham and great grandmother was Bridget Syron Needham. Everytime I find something about tehm it says “McGinty Irish” What does that mean?

  • emily says:

    is janes an irish name

  • Jane Eblen (nee Tobin) also related to the MacGeoghagens says:

    Wondering whether you got my email re the MacGeoghagens and the St Aubyns

  • I am trying to trace my great grandmother bridget Quinn, born about 1838. I have not idea where to start. I do know she came to American, not sure the year, on a ship with 2 sisters and I believe she was in her late teens or early 20’s then. Any help at all would be appreciated. I understand there are quinns located in some of the counties.

  • Cheryl Osler says:

    Hi Mike! My great grandmother, Delia’s father came to the US from Ireland but I have no idea where in Ireland. My grandfather had always said his family were Orange men and from Northern Ireland but I thought Orange were from the South. His name was James Bran but when I found records in Iowa in the US it had been changed to Brand. When I was in Dublin a couple of years ago I tried to find info at the National Archives but ran out of time. A nice lady there gave me a list of people that research families in Ireland but it was pretty outdated and when I got it home and tried contacting them, no one answered any of my inquiries so I was pretty discouraged. If you have any ideas about the county origin of Bran/Brand I’d be so appreciative!!! Thanks!!! Cheryl

  • Alice Killeen Richards says:

    I haven’t seen the surname Killeen. I don’t know which county my father came from. His full name was Thomas J. Killeen and his family settled in Boston, Mass.


    Was the sir name “Birth” Irish or Schotchish?
    What about the sir name “Williams”

  • Michael Billedeaux says:

    Hi…My name is Michael Billedeaux I am of Irish , French , and Native American ( Blackfeet ) Heritage. My Great Grandfathers name was Thomas McGovern born 06/25/1865 in Swanlinbar , County Cavan , Ireland. He came to America at age 17 circra 1882 with two younger brothers from Dublin. I cannot find any information on his family I.E. parents , grandparents , etc….Could you help me ? Thank you

  • Desiree says:

    Looking for information regarding where to start my search in Ireland (have a trip planned) for my 2 great grandfather Durik (Durak as an alternate spelling).

    On another branch I have Barr & Isabella Alison as a relative who was born March 17, 1840 in Cork County. Alison seems to have Scottish roots from what I have found so far.


  • Darrin says:

    Hi Mike,

    My 8th great grandparents Thomas Clary (1630-1679) and Judith Laton (1634-1707) emigrated from Ireland in 1642 and 1653 respectively and were married in Virginia in 1660. I would like to find out more on what area they were from in Ireland and any ancestors before them. Thanks for any help.


  • Michelle Tanner says:

    Hi Mike,

    I now live in County Galway, but was born and lived in the Uk for nost of ny life. My Grandfather on my mother’s side, was George Lesley Bolyes. I know his parents came from Ireland, but I cannot locate the name Boyles, only the names Boyle or O’Boyle. Why is this? Can you help, please?

    Thank you so much,


  • Sally Boworn says:

    My grandfather said we were from County Galway. I assumed it was Galway City., but later found out we were from Athenry. When we traveled there we found many Lambert graves outside the town’s church. There also was a Castle Lambert but it is just ruins now. I wondered if there was anyway to find out more about eh John Lambert family.

  • Brodie Magee says:

    Alright so I know my family’s original name was Mag Aodha, we descend from Ulaid tribes, more specifically Del Fiatach we came to Hibernia around 325 A.D according to some sources. As you may know, many Gaelic surnames of this tribal time were usually the label for an entire clan and not just the family.If this is the case I would like to know who the patriarch(s) of the Magees family is, or some historical, or mythological figures of the Magee family. If this helps, Magees translated to English means ‘Son of Hugh’, and Hugh is Gaelic for fire, I must also note that all Magees abrreveations descend from Mag Aodha (Magee,Maghee,McGee, etc.)

  • Carole Wiseman says:

    I have been trying to find where in Ireland the surnames of Moran and Buckley originated. My great grandfather was a Moran and I have reason to believe his wife was a Buckley from Ireland. Can you provide some insight?

  • Jane Keeney says:

    Hi Mike,
    Could you please tell me if Keeney is Irish? I’ve always been told they came from Donegal and Cork.

    Thank you!

  • Mandie says:

    Hi Mike,

    Is the surname “Layer” of Irish origin. I have always been told I am Irish and I am starting to look into my
    Ancestry. So wondering where to start that doesn’t cost all kinds of money.


  • Lori Black Lane says:

    Hi. Earliest i can find of my father’s side is John Samuel Bailhache Black born 1720 in Belfast, Antrim. Is my last name black an irish name, can i consider myself Irish…i live in texas … but very interested in finding more about my father’s side.

  • Marilyn Blomquist (nee Major) says:

    I am wondering where the protestant names MAJOR and COLLINS originate from in Northern Ireland. They emigrated to Canada about 1828. Other family names from Ireland are HAND, JAMIESON, McILLWRAITHE, and PARKS. I really enjoy your letters and comments.

  • Donna Hammond says:

    My Grandfather’s name was Glenn Roy Athearn. We’ve always been told we were Irish but am unable to find the name Athearn anywhere. Can you tell me. Thanks

  • Roberta Plummer-Van Huss says:

    My Grandfather’s surname was Plummer but can’t find this name. I know he was from Ireland but where I don’t know since I lost my Grandpa before I met him and my Dad when I was very young. Can you help? Perhaps the name was changed when he went through Ellis Island since they often did that.


  • mary boyle says:

    My maiden name is Toohey. All the information that I have is my great grandparents were from County Cork. I know the spelling was changed when they came over. I know I read somewhere about family coming over around the time of the potato famine. Can you help? Thank you.

  • Linda McGough Maher says:

    Mike, some of my family are McGeoughs and supposedly came from County Tyrone. Some are O’Connells said to be from Ballybofay inCounty Donegal. Other closely connected names are Hickey, Gillespie and McDonald. I can’t seem to find any indication of these folks. Do you have any suggestions?

  • Joanne E Nakaya says:

    Hi … I’ve been working on our family tree for some years now. I’d like to know the history of the name Linehan and the county they came from. I believe it was Cork but not sure. I went to Ireland in 2009 and traveled with a historian which was totally amazing, but still couldn’t find out any information. I only know my grandmother and her parents lived in Boston, MA. Appreciate the help.

  • Gilda Oberle says:

    Looking for last name of Ray My Grandfather was Edward Ray married to Annis Mary Fields

  • Steve Clarke says:

    My grandmother told me she was born in county cork and her surname was cornish. She is no longer with us so cannot ask her more. Is the surname Cornish associated with Ireland?

  • Kathy says:

    I’ve been unable or locate my great-grandparents, a Mary McSwiggen, supposedly from County Tyrone, who married a Frank McGarvey. They emigrated to the United States in the 1880’s (or so!) and settled in the Boston area. Can you tell me if these names originate from that county or a different one?

  • Melinda Loman says:

    I’m trying to trace an ancestor. His name was Thomas Louis Love 1796-1871, from Tyrone Ireland. When he came to America he married Hannah James, 1805-1871.
    I have been unable to locate any relations for Thomas such as parents. Can you steer me in the right direction?
    Appreciate any help.
    Melinda Loman

  • Katrina K Lunsford says:

    I am looking for my Solon/Solan surname. Do not know if it is accurate, but I am led to believe they are from the Galway area. Thomas Solon, born 1837 in Galway.
    I also have Reily/Riley and Carney/Kearney. I would love to know where to write to find my family. Too many brick walls here in America. Any ideas on where these surnames hail from. I believe they were all Catholics.

  • Sky Love says:

    Though the Loves have quite a confusing origin, because there’s so many, I do know that around the 1600s my Love family moved to the Ulster Province from Glasgow, Scotland. Then eventually in the 1680s-1700s they went to the Americas. They lived in Pennsylvania for a bit, then finally settled down in Chester, South Carolina around the 1740s. From what I read my Love kin were generally around Tyrone, Antrim, and Donegal.

  • Alexandria Dillard. says:

    Everywhere I go people tell me and my siblings, “You must be Irish.” I’ve heard that I come from Irish heritage and have ancestors from Ireland that were nobles and I’ve heard a few times even royalty.

    When I finally got old enough to start researching, father had became ill and my grandparents had already passed. My dad told me however that our “Dillard” last name was stolen by an ancestor who got into trouble with the law and fled the country of Ireland. I don’t know if this is true but I would love to find out.

    Do you have any suggestions of how I could even go about discovering my true heritage? I find it difficult because all my sources have passed on. Im at a dead end.

  • Nancy says:

    I am looking for any information on the following names Mulhern, Guthrie , and Skivington. My family came to US abt 1863 and settled in Ohio. Can you help me.Thank you

  • Kathy says:

    Thank you so much for this fabulous site! I’ve hit a brick wall! My ancestor, Henry Smith, arrived in St. Andrews, New Brunswick in 1830 with his son Thomas. He was from Northern Ireland. His son married Julia McDonald who immigrated during the famine. Her parents were Artie McDonald and Molly O’Neill. I have no idea where in Ireland Henry and Thomas Smith came from.

  • Dana Johnson says:

    I have an extensive (but incomplete) genealogy of the Rose family of Nurney in County Carlow. I would like to expand this and am looking for information of this family. My earliest concrete information is the marriage of William Rose (b1837) to Francis Fennal (b1834) in 1859. How do I get back farther? I have some info on the family from the 1700’s in the same area but have been unable to connect this prior info to what I know are my direct ancestors. As Rose is an uncommon name (originally English), I can assume these both groups are ancestors of mine. If anyone wants copies of this information, I am willing to share it.

  • carol says:

    I am trying to find my ancestors with name Callahan and jervis. I know they were scots-irish and wound up residing in Tennessee. The one name I have is Lydia margaret callahan jervis.

  • elaine mccann says:

    where the mcCanns came from originally

  • Terry Cowles says:

    I believe my great, great grandfather is Cornelius Shanahan from Cork, Ireland. He would have been born about 1840. Wife’s first name may have been Ellen but I am unsure of her last name. They had several children but one would have been Nellie born Nov 1859. I’m hoping to find more information. Thank you.

  • Barbara Payton Murphy says:

    My paternal ggp came from Mayo in the 1850s. Payton is the last name, but it’s rarely considered Irish; usually English, often confused with Peyton. They were all born in Ireland, as were their parents according to federal census records. Any help?

  • Jerry Alcock says:

    I can trace my ancestry to ireland Alcock is my last name. Can you tell me what part of the country my ancestors were?

  • Ian says:

    My hayden ancesters on my mother side came from county wicklow to Canada in 1848 . what is the surname hisory there?

  • Linda says:

    My several times great grandfather Andrew McFadden and family members sailed to Boston , MA abt. 1720..would you have any information on the McFaddens?

  • Bradley Brett says:


    Just discovered my 4 times Great Grandfather Thomas Brett was actually born in Dublin, Ireland, not England as I believed our surname was. Cannot find any information on him at all – is Brett an Irish name? Or was it anglicised in England. Mind he was born in 1791.

  • Dennis says:

    help finding information about Bridget Ryan O’Connell (1813- 1903)born in Ireland and move to USA with her son John O’Connell 1838. On her death certificate are her two parents Thomas Ryan and Ellen Claugher. They would be born in the late 1700s.

  • Sharon Meheden says:

    Hi Mike My grandfather came from Belfast and about 40 yrs. ago I remember relatives came for a visit , but I have no info. My grandfathers name was Mathew Rea I have found forms of Rea but that’s all.

  • Brian Cassady says:

    I have been able to trace my Irish ancestor back to Boston ~1640. From there the trail is cold. My question is, where does the Cassady name originate in Ireland?

  • Sue Camp says:

    My maiden name is Quinn. I have traced my name heritage to a Patrick D. Quinn, born in County Waterford in 1825. He arrived in the USA when he was in his thirties. He met Hannah Sullivan, born in County Tipperary on 20 Feb 1840, who had also come to USA. With the help of cousins, I have been able to trace my mother’s ancestry back to the 1300s. I would like to be able to do the same for my father’s Irish ancestors. I am new to your newsletter, but have enjoyed every one I have read. Can you guide me to a web site or a book to help me get beyond my Patrick D Quinn? Thank you

  • Denys Delany says:

    Hi Mike, I have recently discovered a genealogical connection with surnames Colquhoun, Fogarty (and possibly, also Cummins). Do you know if these clans were ever known to have come from a common, particular area in Ireland?

    Thanks Mike.

  • Campbell Connor says:

    My surname is Connor . I know that we were from Northern Island. I am trying to find out if there is a Tartan for Connor or anyy of it’s derivatives like Conacher etc.

  • Lisa Parker says:

    I have traced my 7X great-grandfather William O’Grady back to Co. Donegal (born in 1680). Could you point me in direction of more information? He immigrated to America around 1700. I saw the name on the castles/towerhouses page, did the O’Gradys live in one..?

  • Dave says:

    Hi Mike

    My ancestors went by the name Beoy or Boey and can be found in the flax growers records of the late 1700s in Sligo. It would seem that this could have been a spelling of Buadhaigh which is an older Irish name. Do you have any background on this family name

  • Ann Constantine says:

    My ancestors came from County Derry. They were John Britton and Mary Orr Britton. Would love to fin more ancestors in Ireland.

  • Red Reynolds says:

    I absolutely love this site! So much interesting AMD exciting information here! I’m in the beginning of my journey finding out where my family came from. I started this search because the only two living relatives I have left have told me we come from Irish Royalty. That’s pretty exciting if it’s actually true! Unfortunately my great great grandmother and great great grandfather had exact information about this, but when they passed away many years back, another family member took all the ancestral information and journals that were several generations old, and nobody in my family knew what happened to all of it. Now, the only living relatives I have, only have memories of what they were told. I am a Reynolds, the surnames that proceeded Reynolds are Valentine, Owen, and McClure. I was told we are of royal blood, I’m hoping that’s true, what a great conversation piece that would be! I was told we actually have more than one royal bloodline. One is the High King of Ireland, Brian Boru of Munster, and the other two are queen grace of Connaught, and Dr. Helen Reynolds. I do not know the title of Helen Reynolds, but ironically, I am Dr. Reynolds myself. Maybe medicine is an inherited interest? This is all so fascinating, I’m looking forward to finding out more about where I come from! Any help or knowledge would be greatly appreciated and helpful! Thanks!

  • Tara Laughlin says:

    My ancestors names were McLaughlin, I was told they were from around Kerry. Any info would be appreciated, thank you!

  • Robyn Winchester says:

    I am trying to find information on my 2 x great grandmother Susannah McGovern (Born 1832) in Ireland. She went to Western Australia in 1850 aboard the Hamillia Mitchell, and married a convict Jonathon Bowron(my 2 x great grandfather) in 1859.
    Her father was Thomas McGovern but no mention of a mother.
    Can anyone enlighten me.

  • Michael Egan says:

    My grandfather was born Aug.15th 1880,,In Cork Ireland.
    I have this info from military records. He served in ww1 with the Canadian Army..
    His name was Michael Francis Egan.He left Ireland at a young age.
    I am trying to find any information about him. his father. Mother and any brothers or sisters he might have had..he passed before my birth so i never meet him..
    Any information you could offer would be appreciated or any direction you could point me too

  • Bonnie Fitzharris Clements says:

    My paternal grandfather, Lawrence Fitzharris, was born in County Carlow. Paternal grandmother, Catherine Murphy Fitzharris, was born in County Cavan, as was my father, Thomas W. Fitzharris, 2/2/1911. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  • Rod Shearman says:

    My Irish maternal grandfather had the name of `Brew’, supposedly of Norman origin. We believe his people were from Corbally in Limerick. Is the name still there?

  • Debby Burchett says:

    My grandmother’s maiden name was Gahagan (so I was always told). I finally find a copy of her death certificate and it shows Gallagher. I’m confused. Could you offer any help?

  • Andrea (Myers) Cook says:

    Hi Mike – looking for the last name Myers in Ireland. My 2nd great-grandfather was born there in 1863.
    A million thanks as I am at the brick wall.

  • Ken Cunningham says:

    I know Cunningham is originally a Scotish name, but a lot of Irish family’s Anglosized or changed their name.
    Is there any way I can research the family’s that changed their name and what county’s in Ireland are
    Cunninghams known for? My family was also Catholic if that’s any help.

  • Ken Cunningham says:

    Wrong email. Sorry.

  • Hi I’m Mary-Ellen Gallard , my mother was an O’Sullivan from Banteer County Cork Ireland. Her father Was John O’Sullivan born 1888 in Shroebeha Banteer County Cork Ireland. I know there is alot of information on the O’Sullivans, but I’m having a lot of trouble finding any connection or information on this branch of the family except that is father was Matthew .My mother told me we were descended from the kings and queens but there is no proof of how.
    I have made a surprising discovery on my mother’s maternal side, her mother was Margaret Ellen Buckley who was the granddaughter of Margaret McCarthy another royal connection and I can;t prove that either. Margaret’s daughter Ellen Mullane my maternal great grandmother was born in 1869 in Gurteenbeha Castlemgner Kanturk County Cork, Ireland.
    After all that my question is do you know when around about these families may have settled in County Cork and where possibly they may have come from, I am from Australia and I have never been to Ireland so only some of the areas in Ireland are familiar to me.

    Kind Regards

  • Hi again I made a mistake in the spelling of John O’Sullivan’s birthplace it should be Shronebeha not Shroebeha.

    Kind regards

  • Anne McAleenan says:

    Hi Mike, I am trying to find some information on my husbands family. The last name is McAleenan, his grandfather John Henry McAleenan came to the US with his wife sometime around 1920. Do you have any background on this family name?
    Thank you

  • Christine Smith says:

    My mother’s maiden name was Hart. The furthest I have managed to trace back, just using Scottish certificates and census information is to a Peter Hart (my G,G,G Grandfather) living in Ireland, where, I have no idea! who married a Mary Armour.
    Son Peter born in Ireland about 1826 a journeyman plasterer, came to Dundee and in 1852 married an Agnes Field, also from Ireland ( parents, John Field and Sarah Hendry).
    Peter’s son John moved to Fife as a miner and married a fisher lassie Christian Thomson. Their son,another Peter! was my Grandad.
    I wonder if any of these names hail from a certain county? I suspect they were of Protestant stock as I know of no Catholic connections in the family history, yet! Since the names, to me, are not obviously ‘Irish’ I wonder if further back they came from Scotland or England in the 1600s during the colonisation of Ireland by Protestant settlers?
    Thank you!

  • Rebecca says:


    My grandmother told my mother that her grandfather which would be my great grandfather…had some part of one of the first orphanages in County Cork…can you find any information on this. The last name is McFarland.

  • Doreen Nelson says:

    Hi my Allison family came from (I think Ardstraw) County Tyrone. Any information on this family. My Allison Family headed over to Glenluce, ‘Wigtownshire in the early 1800s.

  • Ken Miller says:

    Hi Mike, My great grandmother Ann CURLEY was born c1856 in Birr, Co. Offaly and married my great grandfather William Gozzard in Parsonstown, Birr in 1876. He was a soldier in the British army.
    I don’t know for sure who her parents were. Was this a common name in this area and was it common for Irish girls to marry British soldiers at that time?

  • Therese says:

    Hi Mike
    One of my Irish ancestral family names is Mohide (sometimes spelled Mahide) from west Tipperary near the Limerick border. I’ve been able to trace them back to the late 1700s thanks to the unusual name. Are you able to tell me anything about it’s origin?

  • Gary Bethell says:

    My Great Grandfather and Grandfather hailed from the town of Crinkle in County Offaly Ireland. Is the surname Bethell common in those parts or anywhere in Ireland?

  • Bev Fisher says:

    I am trying to find out if the surname “Plunkett” is Irish and what county would they be from?

  • Elizabeth O'Connell says:

    My grt grt grandfather Daniel O’Connell was a farmer in Poulgorm and that’s all i know. in the middle of the 1800s. What county would he be from ?

  • Tess says:

    Hoping you can help. Carney descendants of upstate NY are trying to identify the correct Carney Coat of Arms for our ancestors. They emigrated to the US mid 1800’s from Co Mayo. Some of this family remained in Ireland including the parents James Carney & Bridget Gallagher and at least one son Thomas. Kilcolman, Balla are places we know apply to this line. The internet has so many variations of the Carney heraldry it is very confusing. Thanks!

  • Judith Nichols says:

    Have a Catherine Flannery, daughter of Patrick and Ann Flannery – listed in obit as from county Tipperary, but on her marriage cert. in Quebec in French, says Co. Clare. Also, the way I translate the French is that her parents are deceased at the time of her marriage. Thanks for any clues as to where to start. Judy Nichols

  • Brigid says:

    I’m hoping you could tell me why I can never find a Coat of Arms for Gollogly from Keady, Armagh. It comes from Gallowglas, but nor can I find one for them.

  • Sandy Seay says:

    Mike, I’ve spent over 40 years searching for the origin of our surname Seay. Our family oral tradition is that name is associated with Kilkenny and O’Shea or O’Shee. When my immigrant ancestor Mathew first came to Virginia before 1685, his name appears as See, which I take to be Shee. I have multiple citations of Seay, See, Sey, O’Seay, O’See and O’Sea in the south of Ireland. I am convinced our family’s oral tradition is true and would value your opinion. Thanks very much.

  • Connie says:

    I am told my Father is Irish. I know his family emigrated to Newfoundland at some point. His last name is Hatch. Can you help me locate the name Hatch.

  • Kathleen Kapes says:

    Hi! My maiden name is McCauley. My grandfather supposedly emigrated from Ireland to Canada in the late 1800’s, working his way down to Hazleton, PA where he was a coal miner. I’ve done some research, with little luck. I’ve checked every ship’s roster I could find and there was no Edward McCauley. It seems most McCauleys came from Northern Ireland; yet, my aunt swears her father was adopted and lived in County Cork. If he was really adopted, we have no idea if Edward McCauley was his birth name or adopted name. Any ideas on where to do more research?

  • Megan says:

    Hi Mike! I’ve always wondered about where my ancestors were from. Now more than ever, I’m beginning a search. My mother’s maiden name is Lenahan and my fathers last name is London. Do you have any information on those two? It would be greatly appreciated! Lenahan and London.

    Thank you,

    Megan London

  • Myla says:

    I have been having such a time finding my family name(s). I have my great grandmother in Limerick and her last name was DeCoursey. She married my great grandfather with the last name Minney. Any help is appreciated!!

    Thank you!!

  • Ehren says:

    Hello, I was wondering if you can help me out on confirming the Irish origin of the surname Hernan. I was told by my aunt, who has visited Ireland many times in the past, that the name is from the Aran Islands in County Galway as she was told by the folks there. However, I have seen that the surname is of Spanish origin as well, so now I am a little confused. I look forward to your response.

    Thank you.

  • Lori Wells says:

    Hi Mike,
    I was always told by my grandparents, Paternal was WELLS and Maternal was AVERY that thier ancestors were from Ireland. Any suggestions as to where in Ireland they may have originated? Thank you for your time and passion.


  • Dee says:

    I’ve done some research on my Irish ancestors, but have come to a dead end. My 3x great grandfather was Michael Cosgrove. His wife was Mary Mooney. Both were from Bray, County Wicklow. I found a baptism for a Mary Mooney in 1829. Could be her. Any clues would be greatly appreciated.

  • Matthew says:

    My great-great grandfather, Francis Tomeny, came from Clones, County Monaghan around 1882. In Ireland, his name was Tomney. We found some relatives with the spelling Tomnay. (Another variation I think is Tummoney. )

    Does Tomney come from O’Tuama (and therefore related to Toomey)? Thanks!

  • Judith Cooper Thomas says:

    I am searching for information about William DeCoursey of County Cork. Thank you.

    • Myla Kovac says:

      Hi! My great grandmother was Catherine Decoursey, her mother was Honorah. I have been trying to find information as well. They are from Cork.

  • Ian says:

    Looking for of hayden surname and history in wicklow .

  • Valerie says:

    My maiden name is Bryan, so my father’s name was Bryan, Edward Bryan Jr in fact. I am curious as to the origin of this name and how it relates to the Irish. I’ve always been told I have Irish in me. Your thoughts?

  • My family members always say that I am killing my time here at net, however I know I am getting knowledge all the time by reading
    thes pleasant posts.

  • Dave Causey says:

    We don’t know a lot about our family surname, thought you might be able to help. We belive the Causey name may have originated from county Galway, can you help? The brothers Causey

  • steve ala says: grandfather was james edward desmond of county cork.oral tradition says were descended from the earls of desmond yet i find in all info their family name is fitrgerald.i know his brother was a fisherman who went down with his boat and the body was identified by the pattern weave of the sweater he wore.i know his mother was an obrien which deepens the mystery because supposedly those family names were in conflict.all family history records were destroyed in a church fire in not sure of his birthdate but he came to the usa after the 1916 uprising.any help or info on my grandfathers family would be greatly appreciated! Many thanks!

  • Mickey L. English says:

    My family tree got stuck on my ancestor Andrew English 1724-1760 from County Kerry, Ireland #241. Any help would greatly be appreciated!
    (Me) Mickey Lane English – 10/19/1956 – living
    (Wife) Pamela Hendricks English – 10/25/1956 – living
    (Father) Walter Jasper English – 2/6/1919 – 1/24/1994
    (Mother) Beulah Elizabeth Dixon English – 5/24/1922 – 10/8/2007
    (Grand Father) William Jasper English – 10/25/1878 – 10/23/1927
    (Grand Mother) Esther Vashtai McEntyre English – 9/7/1880 – 4/26/1939
    (Great Grand Father) David Washington English – 1/5/1858 – 2/5/1921
    (Great Grand Mother) Susan Vashti Loggins English – ?/?/1859 – 10/25/1918
    (Great Grand Father x 2) William Jasper English – 3/10/1827 – 12/29/1913
    (Great Grand Mother x 2) Nancy Hames English – 3/3/1845 – 6/18/1937
    (Great Grand Father x 3) Haywood English – 1797 – 1868
    (Great Grand Mother x 3) Sarah McCracken English – 1804 – 1846
    (Great Grand Father x 4) James R.w.s. English – 1756 – 1808 (Born in County Kerry, Ireland)
    (Great Grand Mother x 4) Sarah Rushing English – 1771 – 1840
    (Great Grand Father x 5) Andrew English – 1724 – 1760 (Born in County Kerry, Ireland)
    (Great Grand Mother x 5) ??????

  • Jeanie says:

    Hi I was looking to see about the name Reynolds, I’m adopted youngest of six they always had a peg disc Native American mixed I guess the only thing I can find in FamilySearch, is that many of my people when they came from your landed in North Carolina and ended up the Cherokee area but all the census said they were white , that I can I use the FamilySearch is this and it’s good I guess I haven’t messed with the site for 2 years and I find a bunch of names very nice names indeed ,we’re not just Claude Hoppers and sharecroppers. What I would like to know I have these last names , this mine last name is Reynolds would be the grandfathers.and Morrison, MacIntyre, Collin Campbell ,Lair of the Otter, I had no real idea other than my parents name how the FamilySearch could come up with all the way back to before telescopes I hope it’s true,

    FamilySearch the Mormon database can it be trusted? can GENI database be trusted?

  • Liam McEleney says:

    My name is McEleney mothers maiden name Kiggins both father and mother from Ireland.What can you tell me about these names?

  • Roxana says:

    My name Is O’Guinn. Can you help with this name?

    • carina says:

      I wonder if you have a variation on the spelling of another surname Roxana as I checked on and that surname is not listed. Variation of spelling is very common in Irish surnames.

  • Jamie says:

    Looking for any Owen or Reese Irish background?

  • Katie Moran says:

    Looking for Morans from Mayo County.

  • Jim Fallon says:

    ?? Last name. Fallon

  • Lisa Daigle says:

    My ancestor was Paul Gardner from Tipperary Ireland.

  • Carol Ann Coffman says:

    Who were parents & grandparents of Margaret Donnelly Laubheimer of Nashville, Tennessee. I remember the name Grandmother Crane- unaware of which county in Ireland she is from. Thank u so very much. Carol Laubheimer Coffman, Granddaughter

  • Crystal Tomlin Curtis says:

    Having an extremely hard time tracing my Tomlin line back to Ireland. My DNA test says I’m 56% Irish but not finding documentation for family history research. All other ancestral lines of my mother and father have been verified and documented. Any tips or help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Carina Collins says:

      Why not check out our Green Room for more in-depth help and assistance? Meanwhile have a read of our weekly letter from Ireland where we provide tips and hints on Irish ancestry research for free!

  • Kimberly Richardson says:

    My ancestor “James McCormick” was born on 13 April, 1773 in County Antrim. The story our family has is that at 11 years old, he stowed away on a boat bound for the Americas. Once he arrived he was indentured for 7 years to pay for his voyage. He died in Kentucky in 1851. I am trying to find out who his parents were or if he had siblings? We have not been able to discover that information. I would greatly appreciate any help. Thank you!

  • Jan says:

    I’ve found this on a birth record, but cannot find out what it means. Any guidance much appreciated – tallymaskeough – difficult to read, but this is what it appears to be

  • Bob Scott says:

    Hello Mike, Love your letters from Ireland written with love and wit,
    My queastion is are Scot or Irish – Irish Scot, I understand if it trans emigration that makes sense! But if a Scot goes to Ireland to live and have offspring born there shorly the future generation are Irish & the same visa versa, I had Galloways in Antrim, Down, Derry, Armagh, plus a McAdam in Fermanagh. Several generations stated that is where they were born, but citizenship confuses me. Thank you, Bob Scott.

  • Calvin Hughes says:

    Looking for information on Ricard Hughes and wife Martha Porter who came to New Brunswick, Canad in 1823. Supposedly from the Londonderry area.