A Letter from Ireland:

When Did your family COME to Ireland?


Let me explain about the names: We are all familiar with the concept of “emigration” and Ireland. We all arrived at some point – some stayed and some passed through after some generations. All left their imprints.

Like to add your Irish surname to our list? Just signup for your free weekly Letter from Ireland by clicking here.and we’ll let you know how to join in the fun.

Here we have your surnames divided into three “waves” of migration into Ireland (and I can’t be 100% sure of all – but we will work with them over time). They are:

Surnames from Old Irish Clans (Celtic clans arrived around 500BC)
Ahern, McArdle, Bagley, Begley, Behan, Breen, Brennan, McBride, O’Brien, Brosnan, Buckley, Byrne, McCabe, Cahill, Callaghan, Callan, Canavan, Carroll, McCarthy, Casey, Clancy, Clark, Collins, O’Connell, O’Connor, Conner, Corcoran, Corrigan, Counihan, Cowen, McCoy, McCort, Coyle, Coyne, Cronin, Crowley, Cunneen, Cullen, Cullinan, Daly, Daugherty, Delaney, Dempsey, Devins, Dillon, McDonagh, MacDonald, Donlon, Donnelly, Donoghue, Donovan, Dorsey, Dowdy, Doyle, O’Driscoll, Dunne, Dwyer, Egan, Farrell, Ferris, Finley, Finnerty, Fitzpatrick, O’Flaherty, Flynn, Fogarty, Foley, Ford, Galligan, Galvin, McGee, McGennis, Gilligan, Gilmartin, Glavin, Glennon, Gorman, Grady, Green, McGuigan, McGuire, Haffey, Hannon, O’Hara, O’Hare, O’Hea, Heffernan, Hickey, Hourigan,Horgan, Hogan, MacInness, Keane, Kelly, McKenna, Kennedy, Kenny, Keohoe, Keogh, McKeown, Kieran, Kinsella, O’Killea, Kilroy, Larkin, McLaughlin, Loughman, Loughnane, Lucey, O’Loughlin, Lynch, Lyons, Madden, Maguire, Maher, Malone, Mahagan, Mahoney, O’Malley, Manning, Mannion, Martin, O’Meara, Meehan, Milligan, Minihan, Molloy, Money, Mooney, Moore, Moran, Moriarty, Mullen, Mullhall, Murray, Murphy, O’Neal, Neary, Nolan, McNulty, Patterson, Phelan, Quinan, Quinn, Rae, Reddan, Regan, O’Reilly, Riley, Riordan, O’Rourke, Roden, Shannon, McSharry, McSherry, O’Shea, Sheridan, Skelly, Smith, Sullivan, Sweeny, Tarpey, Torpey, Teague, McTiernan, Tierney, Toomey, Twomey, Toohill, O’Toole, Tynan, Vaughan, Whelan, Wholey, Winters

Norman + Viking + Gallowglass (Arrived 8th – 13th centuries)
Barrett, Barry, Brown, Burke, Butler, Carew, Charley, Condon, Comerford, Dalton, Dillon, Earley, Fitzgerald, Gage, Gamble, Kell, Lee, Laird, Liston, Plunkett, Roach, Roche, Redmond, Sweeney, Walsh, Welsh, White

Later Immigrants (arrived in later “plantations” and individually) – 15th century onwards:
Bartley, Brannick, McClements, Clark, Cochrane, Cooke, Cooper, Coulter, Cross, Dulin, Diver, English, Farmer, Feerick, Fenton, Godfrey, Haley, Harding, Hoar, McIntire, Jeakle, Killoughy, Ladden, Laffey, Leighton, Lyle, Mathews, Millen, Mills, Minsey, Nash Nyland, Pattison, McPhillips, Scott, Skeffington, Smyth, Thulis, Tweedy, Walker, Whaley.

So – keep sharing your names – I’d welcome any comments on the above – AND do SHARE with your familiy and friends. We’re 2 Weeks old (imagine that!) so we have a long way to go.

  • Pam Griggs Roberts says:

    Can you add Griggs to surname list? My ancestor whose last name is Griggs came to America in the 1700s. I have documentation with full info, but it’s not handy right now. I can send more info when I unpack it. Thanks, Pam

    • admin says:

      Hi Pam – name added – stay tuned, Mike.

      • Graham austin says:

        Michael Finlay born in Ireland around 1793 in Wicklow/Dublin area
        caught for stealing and sent to Australia
        Unable to find his birth records, or his parents from records of transportation to Australia
        is there some way I can find his parents etc., through his crime before transportation
        I found Judy and James Finlay but unable to find there marriage records they could be his parents
        any help would be appreciated , many Australian families hoping you can mate

    • Sharlene Griggs Smith says:

      My Griggs line came to Westmoreland Co., Va. .. 1st document I have found is birth record of Robert Griggs in 1757… I would love to find a ship roster or just anything to pinpoint where they got on the boat that brought them over…. Have always been told we are Scot/Irish but have never seen a document that proves those statements…

      • Mike says:

        Hi Sharlene – for a specific record request like this I suggest you contact Noreen at hiberniaroots.com – she should point you in the right direction. Mike.

      • Shanna Saleh says:

        I also descend from Robert Griggs b1757. I have not been able to find anything on the Griggs family prior to that. Did you ever have any luck?

    • Roger griggs says:

      I stumbled upon some emails on here. Is one of your relatives Rhodum Griggs?

  • Carla says:

    I have Callahan and Proctor traced to ireland. Do you think Callahan could be the same as Callaghan? Thank you

  • Sherri Cannard says:

    I’m just now starting to retrace my family steps, and have the Moore’s traced back in Canada to Nova Scotia in 1760. Truthfully, until the early 1900’s they never strayed far from there. The next step is to find out where John Moore came from..I’m pretty confident I’m running out of generations in Canada! 🙂 I hope to be able to let you know when I find out where he left Ireland.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the not Sherri – do keep us updated. The Irish Moores were originally the O’Mores – one of the seven septs of Laois. But they were displaced to many parts of the country by the English plantations and others. Mike.

  • Jeanne says:

    What about Denning?

    • admin says:

      If its the Denning that is also known as Dineen (thats common) then its an original Gaelic family. Tell me a little more about your Dennings? Mike.

      • Jeanne says:

        My Grandfather’s parents McDonnell (paternal) and Denning came to NYC in 1879, they were both gone by the time my Granddad was 3. From what I have been able to find out, they came from the Tierlahood, Stradone area in Cavan. My granddad’s mother’s(Denning) mother was McGillick(or Gillick).

        • Mike says:

          Very interesting – thanks for sharing Jeanne. Denning is an interesting name – it also varies as Dineen, which you find mostly in County Cork. Apparently Gillick was a branch of the old Norman family of the Burkes (deBurgh) of Connaught – that moved to Cavan. Mike.

  • Reilly says:

    Mike, we have Reilly family reunion this 4th, what can I tell my relatives about the name and its variants?
    Mike Reilly

    • admin says:

      Mike – Reilly? From the Irish Ó Raghailligh. In Ireland the O has been mostly reinstated so you find alot of “O’Reilly”s. When you see Riley etc it is usually respelt after emigration.

      The O’Reillys were a really important family in Ireland -Gaelic kings – the head of the area known as “Breffny” around counties Cavan and some of Meath nowadays.

      Enjoy your reunion – UP THE O’REILLYS! 🙂

  • Mike Maher says:

    My MAHER line came from Rathmacan, Co Kilkenny (which is close to Tipperary) so it makes sense; often spelled MEAGHER (person taking the 1911 census listed all the names as “Meagher” and then my ggrandfather signed the form “Maher.”) Looking also for the name McSHANE – info on where they came from (my gmother was born in Loughross/Crossmaglen, Co Armagh).

    • Mike says:

      Mike – in Ulster the McShanes were a branch of the O’Neills mostly from around Tyrone. From the Irish “Mac Seáin” – Mike.

  • Nancy says:

    Hello Mike! Would you know anything of the Thornton name from Cork, or the Mcniece from Armagh? Thanks!

    • Mike says:

      Nancy – Thornton’s an interesting one. It can be an anglicization of Drennan, Skehan, Meenagh or Tarrant. In County Limerick it is often an English planter name.

      McNiece is normally spelled MacNeice in Ireland – and is found very much in Ulster. It is from the same basic Irish name as Guinness and Neeson (as in Liam Neeson). Mike.

  • Don McClave says:

    I was just wondering if you know any history of the name Mac Fhlaithimh? I have read online that McClave derives from Mac Fhlaithimh that has it origin in Ireland. My Grandmother has traced my line back to 1750 Scotland but nothing is documented pre-dating Culloden.

    • Mike says:

      Yep Don – you’re right on the Mac Fhlaithimh link. And it’s origin is in Ireland. It’s pronounced “Mac lawiv”. Mike.

  • Earl McGee says:

    Was always told our family line was Scots-Irish. Later able to trace our line to mid-18th century Ballintoy parish, county Antrim. But trail ran cold there as far as being able to trace back to Scotland. How “Scottish” might the McGees located in northern Antrim be? Early census documents from end of 18th-early 19th century also spelled our name as Magee. thanks, Earl

    • Mike says:

      McGee is can be either Scottish or Irish. From the Irish “MacAoidh”. When spelled Magee in the Antrim coast its often the Irish sept – but it is hard to tell as this was also a place where a lot of Scottish planters settled. Mike.

      • Earl McGee says:

        Thanks for your response Mike. From the web research I’ve done, it does appear that the surname Magee is almost always Irish, though there was a Magee family line that accompanied the McDonells from Islay to Antrim in the late 16th century and that line did end up in the parish adjoining Ballintoy, even marrying into the Stewarts of Ballintoy. But, of course, no way of finding out if we’re related. Earl

        • Mike says:

          You’re way ahead of me on the detail there Earl 😉 Mike.

        • Top of the morning to ya, Michael. My Father’s Mom immigrated from County Cork in either the late 1800’s or early 1900’s; her name was Agnes O’Keefe but I am unsure of her birth date. My Dad, Charles Henry Myers, was born to Agnes and Frederick J. Myers of Phila., PA in 1922. Agnes had another son in 1925, Patrick, and she unfortunately passed away in 1927 of TB. I haven’t been able to find information about her and I would really love to know my heritage, especially Irish. I’ve been to your beautiful country and hope to return to both enjoy our people, your beautiful environment and learn more of the O’Keefe family and possibly visit their area of residence. Can you direct me where to look for records or whom to turn to? I haven’t had the pleasure of having a Grandparent since age 6; I would hold getting to know Agnes O’Keefe through history dear to my heart. “Thank you” in advance and May God Bless You & Yours Always…

        • Dave McCausland says:

          Hi Earl.
          I am continuing my search for my wife’s ancestor – Patrick Joseph Magee, b. about 1741 in Northern Ireland and died 1811 in FannettTwp., Penns. USA. Married a Jane Hall in Philli 1765.

          Some has his father as James Magee. I have seen some of your internet postings concerning your ancestor James, in Balllintoy in the 1750’s. Any chance that our Patrick might have been a son and came to America????

          Thank you in advance for any info you can provide.

          Dave McCausland
          Maine, US

          ps… My ancestor, James McCausland also came from Ulster in 1718 into Maine, USA. Can’t find his family either.

  • Maryellen Naldjian says:

    Do you have any suggestions for researching the Spanish and the Arabs settling near Tipperary and affecting the meaning of the name O’Dwyer ?

    • Mike says:

      Hi Maryellen – thats the first I heard of it! You learn something new everyday. Now, I need to find out more. Do you have any further information yourself? Mike.

      • Maryellen says:

        Musician Loreena McKennet traveled to Ireland to discover a fusion of Arabic instruments with Irish Music.
        In Tipperary my last name Dwyer is referenced as the dark ones. From what I have read is that the Spainards may have settled near Tipperary in the 1500’s? Do you know how I can research both of these questions?

        • Mike says:

          Hi Maryellen – I’m not sure about your first question. On the second, the surname Dwyer was in use way before the 1500s. Most Irish surnames are after a paticular individual – and this may have been their nickname. Mike.

  • gerry cosgrove says:

    Hi mike , I did not see when the cosgrove name came to ireland I thought it was with the vikings

    • Mike says:

      Hi Gerry – the name Cosgrave/Cosgrove is from the Irish surname Ó Coscraigh – is an old Gaelic family originally from Monaghan – but can since be found in Counties Wicklow, Cork and many parts of Connaught. Not sure about the Viking connections. Mike.

  • Helen says:

    Hello Mike. From my Gt Grandmother Keeffe, I also traced to Leary, Collins, Sullivan. I believe my Keeffe’s and Leary’s are from Cork perhaps late 1700’s, early 1800’s. They came to London UK. I would love to know where in Cork or from anywhere in Ireland. Also more about the names. I found a marriage of John Leary b. 1791 and Catherine Sullivan in 1811 in the Dioceses of Cork & Ross. The birth of a Catherine Sullivan b. 1794 gives the place as Roman Catholic Killarney, Kerry. How likely do you think that this Catherine Sullivan is mine?

    • Mike says:

      Hi Helen – yep, the surnames O’Keefe and O’Leary are almost exclusively county Cork. On Catherine Sullivan – hard to tell! The Sullivans in Cork (often from around Beara) are typically different from the Kerry Sullivans. One from the Sullivan Bearas and the other from the Sullivan Mór (Kerry). But I really can’t tell. Mike.

  • Helen says:

    Thanks Mike.

  • fred fitzsimmons says:

    Fascinating info here Mike! Our Fitzsimmons (single m and heavy on i) comes from County Meath. We are said to have German and French heritage…what can you tell me? Thank you!

    • Mike says:

      Hi Fred – I’m not sure about the original source of the name (but it would be Norman French) – and a number of Fitzsimmons came to Ireland in medieval times BUT the main family came in 1323 to Westmeath. Mike.

  • Gerry says:

    Two surnames: Crampsey (Donegal) and Conway (Waterford)???

    • Mike says:


      Crampsey – from the Irish Ó Cnáimhsighe (also anglicised Kneafsey – which is a phonetic translation) – almost exclusively in DOnegal.

      Conway – In Waterford usually from the Irish surname Mac Connmhaigh.


  • Liz says:

    I can’t begin to tell you how I look forward to Sunday mornings, which means I’ll be finding your weekly e-mail in my in-box! Week after week you provide such wonderful information…it astounds me that you are able to find it all and present it to us in an easily read narrative! I just wanted to once again say, “Thank you, Carina and Mike.” You are outstanding!

    • Mike says:

      Hi Liz – you are so kind – we are very happy to accept such feedback all the time 😉 Thanks for all your support – now and well into the future. Mike and Carina.

  • Beth Farrell says:

    We have traced my mother’s family (Daly) on both sides to Sligo Ire. but on my Father’s side (Clark) we can only find N. Ireland. Patrick Clark b.1822 and came to the U.S. in Nov. 1887.Since they came from N. Ire. we were told they are English not Irish. Can you shed some light here?

    • Mike says:

      Hi Beth – I assume your question is about the surname “Clark” – not Daly. Not sure who told you that because a name comes from Northern Ireland – it is English rather than Gaelic, but that is a bit of a generalisation.

      The name Clark(e) IS an English name – but in Ireland it is also used as a anglicisation of the Irish name Ó Clérigh (usually Cleary). A name often found in Donegal. So I can’t geive you specifics – but this can be both standing for an English name or a Gaelic name. And he did have the first name Patrick ……..

  • John McCrary says:

    My 5th GGrandfather came to America from Isle of McGhee in 1754. His name was Hugh McCrary, but I noticed some of his early land recordings in North Carolina were also spelled as McCreery. Do you know any history about my family name and where it may have originated? Hugh had two brothers, Daniel and John McCrary. They all came to America together, but nothing more is known of the two brothers. A genealogist once told us that Hugh’s father, John, was born in Galway. Thank you for all your wonderful articles in the newsletters. I do enjoy reading everything you write.

    • Mike says:

      Hi John – thanks for your kind feedback. The name McCreery is from the Irish Mac Ruaidhri (son of Rory) – and was orginally a County Tyrone name. But that county would have had a lot of displacement from the 1600s onwards with English and Scottish planters, so the name could be quite dispersed. Mike.

  • Jay Ryan says:

    When did the name Ryan first appear in Ireland? I believe it was shortened from Mulrhian. Thank you, and love your newsletter.

  • Renee says:

    What about Cooley?

    • Mike says:

      Hi Renee – Cooley is usually a shortening of a different surname or a simailar sounding name e.g. Kilcooley or MacCooley – or Cowley. So to pin it down you need to provide some more info on where your ancestor left from/lived. Mike.

  • Moira Sullivan says:

    My father told me that our branch of the Sullivan family came over pre-American revolution, at some point dropped the O’ and came from Muenster. I don’t see any mention of Muenster anywhere. Can you give me some additional information?

  • Moira Sullivan says:

    Also my mother’s father was a Carberry and they swear he was Irish, as if my Irish Catholic grandmother McNulty would marry anything else. But we know nothing else about him. Is Carberry Irish?

    • Mike says:

      Hi Moira – yes indeed – Carberry/Carbery is an Irish name – from the Irish Ó Cairbre. It was found in a number of distinct locations around Ireland – Westmeath, Fermanagh and so on. Fermanagh may be a best best for you as this is closest to the McNulty name up north! Mike.

  • DOLORES HOST says:


  • DOLORES HOST says:


  • Sarah McDonald says:

    Hi Mike 🙂
    Could you give me any info on the McDonald/MacDonald surname?
    I know it originated in Ireland around 500bc from Scotland and that they were mostly gallowglasses, but I haven’t been able to find any more information on their presence in Ireland.

    • Mike says:

      It can also be another name for the Irish sept of the MacDonnells Sarah. The MacDonalds would have come to Ireland as Gallowglass from the 13th century onwards. You will find their presence mostly in the northern half of the island. Mike.

  • Margaret Gabriele says:

    How about Jennings from County Galway? And my great great grandmother was Harris from Cork. Would that be Irish?

    • Mike says:

      Hi Margaret – as you might know – any person who comes from Ireland, we consider having an “Irish name” (Ireland is after all, quite a melting pot). However, we do distinguish between Gaelic, Norman and English/Scottish planter names. Jennings was a name adopted by a branch of the Norman Burke family in Galway (they adopted the Irish Mac Sheóinín) and Harris when found in Ireland is usually an English Planter name. Mike.

  • Genie Quinn Donley says:

    My Father was a Quinn from Tyrone. My Mother’s family were Teague and Roe. I know Teague is Irish, but don’t find much on Roe. I once saw that George Roe owned and sold Guinness a distillery, but that is all I know. Any hints on Roe?

    • Mike says:

      Hi Genie,
      Roe is usually a Waterford name from the Irish Ó Ruaidh. However, it can also be an English/English Planter name and that may be the George Roe you refer to. Mike.

  • jany rodgers says:

    I have Fair from Galway, Coffey from Westmeath, Murphy and McGuire from who knows and more to follow

    • Mike says:

      Nice collection Jany – Fair is an unusual name, I haven’t heard it before. Apparently its from the Irish first name “Fionn”. I’ve also noted your names on our list. Mike.

  • Ange says:

    Hi mike,
    I have a question.
    My dads people were Ryan’s, Downey’s, McCormick’s, Etc.
    but his mums descended from Barnewalls, or deberneval in Norman. They were supposed to be the first Norman settlers in Ireland. And were intermarried with Celtic and other Norman families later on. They were supposed to be quite well known,
    And yet when I go searching there is barely a mention.
    While I understand they might not be the most popular of families being Norman origin,
    I feel that they were perhaps unique in that they settled peacefully with the locals in 800 /900 before the English started to focus on Ireland after 1066.
    They had a good 200 years headstart on the poms.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Ange,
      On the Barnewalls – if you search the 1911 census at http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie – you will find about 16 individuals in the whole country. All where they should be – inside the “Pale” (counties around Dublin).

      I wouuldn’t worry about popularity and being Norman! – thats not really an issue. I guess that the name died down through intermarriage etc. But I’m not quite sure.

      I didn’t realise about the pre-Norman connection! – That would be the time about when Dublin was rising to prominence as the capital and Dublin was a mixed Viking/Gaelic city.

      Hope this helps – Mike.

  • Laura McLaughlin says:

    Hi Mike,
    I see the McLaughlin name is there. I’m starting to research on this. Can you give me any information on the McLaughlin name????

    • Mike says:

      McLaughlin is from the peninsula of Inishowen in Donegal Laura. Were a leaded family there up to the 1200s – but still many of that name there. Mike.

  • Mary Morrow-Farrell says:

    My ancestors were John and Sarah Morrow. Their son Thomas was my great grandpop. They came in the 1850’s to New York State, Hammondsport area. I married a Farrell. We do not know as much about his family. We also had a Great-Grandma Shaw and a Great-Grandma Carpenter.

  • Patty McCoy says:

    Trying to trace my ancestor James C. McCoy, born 1850 in Ireland, but not sure of the county. Been told it was either Antrim or Armagh. Perhaps Tyrone. Believe he came to US as a child. Was living in Oklahoma Indian Territory in 1877. Married a Full Blood Chickasaw woman in 1877, had a son Joseph in 1878 and was killed on 24 December 1879 near Tishomingo, Indian Territory. With his birth was in 1850, the only birth/baptism records in Ireland would probably be in the church records. But without an actual date or place of birth, it’s very difficult to trace James. Would appreciate any hints.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Patty – thanks for sharing. As you many know, the McCoys was a name from the north of Ulster mainly so your information sounds right. I suggest you contact http://www.hiberniaroots.com/ – ask for Noreen and say I sent you – for a few pointers on where to look for records. Mike.

      • Patty McCoy says:

        Thanks, Mike. I’ll contact Noreen in a wee bit for more help.

        Another ? for you: do you know if the traditional method of naming sons was used in the very early tribal days? For example, 1st born son is named after the father’s father, 2nd born son named after the mother’s father, etc.

  • Ana says:

    Mi apellido grandfather MULVIHILL vino del Co. de Longford, cual es su origen ?? Gracias

  • Muriel says:

    Interested in learning more on my Gillespie line. Matthew Gillespie was supposedly born in Limerick in 1698, his first child was born in U.S. in 1726. Would love to be able to find Matthew’s parents and siblings names…

  • Jim says:

    Look for the name Fanning. I found our Irish ancestors in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford in 1840. My gggrandfather was born in 1842 and emmigrated to Canada in 1854 and on to the US in 1865. However I’ve lost track of the original family after 1842 in Ireland. A recent DNA test shows I’m related to Edmund Fanning who came to the US in the 1700’s. Looking for HIS roots in Ireland as I’m related to someone who stayed there.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Jim – Fanning is a name of Norman origin – in Ireland since the 13th century. You will find most Fannings in Limerick and Tipperary. All the best with your search, Mike.

  • Mary (Foley) Hurst says:

    Lovely to know that, although my Foley family apparently never attained “royal” status, they were among the first of the celtic tribes to settle the country. 500 BC! Wow!

  • Paul Kerr says:

    I am sure that the Kerr Family came from Scotland, probably around 1800 – I know that my 2nd great grandfather, Robert Kerr lived in Dublin in the 1860’s where his children were born, and that he was a gateman at Jamesons brewery. However I’m also looking at my great grandmother’s family (his daughter in law) whose surname was Dack and was from Wexford.
    I know her father was John Smylie (or Smyly) Dack, but beyond that I am stuck. I know that a large number of Presbyterian Kerrs settled in Dromore in Northern Ireland, But I can find no link with them. He married a Thom(p)son who I believe was Scottish, but the only Kerr/Thomson marriage I can find which is a ‘reasonable’ fit was in Doneraile in 1855, the only Robert Kerr I can find in this ‘fit’ would have been 20 and his bride, Margaret Thomson would have been 16. Any advice on establishing these people would be most helpful as I think I have found all their descendants, living and deceased.

  • Di Tate says:

    Hi Mike

    I haven’t seen the name O’Donnell or Donnell. My 3rd Great grandparents Patrick & Ellen ( Crowe ) O’Donnell came to Australia from Limerick, Ireland in 1859. I see O’Loughlin , I have an O’Loughlin from Hibernia and an Egan in my family tree but I don’t see Cornelly from Kings Island.
    What can you tell me about their names? Thank you, Di.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Di – if you put those names into the search box on the side of this page you will get lots of info on them. All the best – Mike.

  • Richard McCort says:

    Hi Mike-
    I was told that the McCorts ‘had come from Scotland’, but I see that you have us listed as an old Irish family (which I like much better). Would you please elaborate on the McCort history?
    Thanks, Richard McCort

    • mjcollins44@gmail.com says:

      Hi Richard – it can be both. The Irish Gaelic name is typically spelled McCourt (as in Frank McCourt – the author of Angela’s Ashes). You can see where to find the McCorts/McCourts in Ireland at this location – just type in the surname and you will get a map of locations in return. Mike.

  • Ellen Bassett says:

    Spent two weeks in Ireland in May and loved it. My great grandfather, Dennis BOWDEN, left Freshford, County Kilkenny in 1858 and lived in New Jersey where he raised a family of 10. I think I will have to plan another trip to look for long lost cousins!

    • mjcollins44@gmail.com says:

      Thats the trouble with a Trip to Ireland – it leaves you wanting more Ellen! Sounds like it is time to start planning….

  • Irene Pelt says:

    Hi I’m new at family trees I was wondering how I find out about the Kelly’s from Galway before 1840 would it be through the church?

  • Barbara Burnett says:

    My family name was Doole/Dool. We came from Antrim. Have seen our name Doal, Dole, Doul, O Dool, MacDool. I believe we came from Scotland to Ireland. Found ancestor on an site spelled Doal. Can you tell me if its Scottish or Irish or maybe a little bit of both. Thanks

    • Mike says:

      Hi Barbara – the answer is a little bit of both. In Ireland, McDool is mostly spelled McDowell (but pronounced the same way).

      The name came to Ireland in the 1300s from Scotland as Galloglass (mercenary soldiers) to fight on behalf of the Gaelic Chieftains against the Normans. They settled in Roscommon originally but are found across north Ulster. In Scotland they were part of the McDugall clan originally. Mike.

  • Bonnie says:

    I tried to find the origin of my Irish families names Doyle & Savage. Can you tell me if they are of Norman Vikings? I was able to find that the Savage’s came around 1200 into County Down. But I do not know where they ORIGINATED from. Can you help me?


    • Mike says:

      Hi Bonnie – the County Down Savages were Normans who arrived there through England. Like all Normans, they came from Normandy originally – before that they came from Norway.

      Doyle means “Dark foreigner” in Irish and was a name given to many Danish Vikings found in the eastern towns of Ireland. Mike.

    • Cecilia says:

      Aloha Bonnie & Mike ! . . . my surname is Savage . . . my family arrived to Argentina during mid 1800’s . . . I am fifth generation south here (there is one more after mine). We know for sure that they were a couple & a single man named Owen Savage. We also know all their history by here after their arrival. They were from Westmeath & that’s all we found out. We don’t know about the Irish town or specific area where they came from, just WestMeath. We maintained their tombs until this days & that’s why we know for sure where they came from. There are old writtings in a big flat stone over their graves. Would you know something else about Savage Family before they left Ireland? Thank you so much ! . . . :o)

  • Michael Harmon says:

    Hi,The name Harmon aka O’hArgadain is one of the many names that the Normans brought to Ireland in the 1160s.It is more common in Ireland than we may think.

  • Judie Casey (Finley's and Shacklefords)) says:

    I am a Finley/Finlay and I see that you have listed the name from Clans that emerged from about 500BC and would love any info. you might have regarding this clan, any castles etc. I am Irish and Scotch both and have learned some about my Scottish side but would love to know more about where my Finley’s mesh in on the Irish side of things …Ireland is where my heart is! I’ve found a lot of bits and pieces but would like the whole story someday to leave for my descendants. Just wondering if you’ll be posting any info. from 500BC and up? I have done quite a bit of snooping around and learned a lot but want to fill in the gaps. I am a descendant of (Finley’s) Rudidhri (sp?), Thane of Moray and Ross ( Powerful Chief of Clan Finnlaoich) or Momaar Finleigh of Moray in 1009, (father of) Finlay McRuaidhrl, Earl of Moray, King of Western Scotland and husband of Princess Donada (daughter of King Malcolm ll) , who were (parents of) of King Macbeth Finley of Scotland. Clan Finley was outlawed after King Malcolm’s death and took the name Farquharson and didn’t emerge as a clan for 179 yrs., until 1236 when Archibald Finley distinguished himself at the Battle of Largs. I am also a 16th descendant (granddaughter) of King/ Earl the Bruce of Scotland ( the one in Braveheart) so the story goes…Ha! Not sure if I titled that right? Whew!!! 🙂 Anyway…as you can see there are many gaps with just a few of the Finley’s of Scotland and I know these names mesh with my Irish roots but when and where?? I can really fast forward to the text books, John Finley, Daniel Boone’s guide, who encouraged Boone to move to beautiful Kentucky, and supposedly married an aunt of mine…. So many gaps to fill but so very interesting and so much fun……..

    • Mike says:

      Hi Judie – 500bc is too far back to study surnames although the tribes/clans may have been in place. The first surnames came about in Ireland in in the 800ADs.

      The Finleys in Ireland mostly arrived from Scotland from about 1600ADs onwards. Many of them went to the colonies from 1700s onwards from Ulster. Hope this helps, Mike.

  • Cecilia says:

    Aloha Mike ! . . . thank you so much for all that you are doing here. Do you know what about Savage, Garrahan, Scally & Manny family surnames ? Do you know when they arrived to Ireland? or they just bloomed there? . . . ( :

    • Mike says:

      Hi Cecilia,

      Savage: 1200s
      Garrahan: long before that
      Scally: After the 1600s
      Manny: After the 1600s


      • Cecilia says:

        Thanks Mike ! Savage, Garrahan, Manny, Scally, Geogheghan and some more , they are all family surnames to me. Where could I find about Garrahan’s?, since you wrote they were in Ireland long before 1200 ? My Great Grandmother was Garrahan, she was the mother of my Father’s mother. . . Thank you again in advanced ! . . . ( :

  • Kel Davey says:

    My great grandfather and 2 sisters were born in Waterford in the 1830’s before migrating to Australia. Their father Benjamin Robert Davey (Davy) married Hanastatia Sarah ???? from Kilkenny but he was born in Essex, England and moved to Ireland when his father was a member of the 47th Regiment in Northern Ireland about 1815. I’m having trouble trying to find family history of that period and verifying her parents names as the shipping records are not very clear. It looks like her father was a James ???? and mother was Bridget Flynn.

  • Kathleen says:

    I didn’t see McGrath in these lists. I saw Obrien, I know they were brothers in arms. My coat of arms even has the lion (it’s late, the real name escapes me at the moment) and I know that they fought side by side, for each other. Also anything you can tell me about McGrath island in Clare/Galway? Also known as Mac Craith or McRaith. Thank you so much. I am new to your page here but I am engrossed!

    • Mike says:

      Hi Kathleen – McGrath is listed lots of places on this site – see the search box at the bottom of the page and type in McGrath! Mike.

  • Mary Posser says:

    Hey Mike, I am trying to find more information on my great grandparents. And hoping you can help me! There names were James Ferry & Ellen O’Connell they came to NY in 1870. According to the census New York & New Jersey where my grand father was born, I have looked & looked & cannot find where they came from in Ireland.
    Also there is my other set of great grandparents, Patrick McKeon & Mary Webb again I find them on they 1860 census but no location of where they came from other than Ireland.
    Is there any information you can tell me? I would appreciate any information you can give me. Thanks in advance!

  • Darlene says:

    I have King surname who arrived in Boston, Ma in 1890’s from County Galway . Kelty/ Kealty/ Keilty Irish county origin unknown, but arrival in U.S. about 1888. I also have Connelly/ Connolly who were in Nova Scotia by 1830’s from Ireland . Do you know about origins of these surnames ?

  • Robert McGettigan says:

    Great information.My grandfather came from County Fermanagh,relatives say they originally came from Donegal,but have been unable to proceed beyond my great grandfather married Feb.9th 1864.Three counties Donegal,Tyrone,and Fermanagh come together.However in ancient times,there were no political boundries,there are plenty of McGettigan’s in Donegal.Guess I will have to keep searching.

  • Sonia says:

    Hi Mike, will you please add Keating to your list; thanks.

  • Gerard says:

    Hi mike. Could you tell me about the ‘hughes’ surname please?

  • Patience Willey says:

    I have reached a dead end in my search for the place in Northern Ireland where my great grandmother lived as a girl. Her name was Mary Jane Currie; sister Annie; Parents Thomas Currie and Eliza (no maiden name given on Mary Jane’s and husband’s marriage certificate and apparently Eliza had died when Mary Jane was very young. ) Mary Jane and John Henry Thompson were married sometime after she and her sister emigrated to Frelighsburg, Quebec, Canada. Date of marriage: January 24, 1889. (MJ was born in Ireland in 1863.) The only information about her life in Northern Ireland is that after her mother died, she was brought up by a grandmother. Nothing known about her, town or county where they lived. Her father apparently re-married and had at least two more children. Again, all I have is that two of her half brothers emigrated to New York state in the US. No info on dates or point of departure or entry into Canada for MJ and her sister. I do know that they had family and/ or friends in Frelighsburg, Quebec and John Henry, her future husband, paid their passage, but do not know name of the Ship. I have read that the spelling of Currie is likely Scottish. Do you have any suggestions as to how I might find out where in Ireland she might have come from. The surnames of the families in Canada who knew her were Mosgrove and Ha an.

  • Pat Gray Mahon says:

    Hi Mike,
    After looking at your lists here, I found the name Fenton as being a “planter” name. My g-g- grandfather, Benjamin Gray was married to a Johanna Fenton. The only listing I could find in Griffiths. Valuations for a Benjamin Gray was in Armagh.
    Griffiths Valuation Record Information
    Family Name 1 GRAY
    Forename 1 BENJAMIN
    Family Name 2 LOGAN
    Forename 2 DAVID
    County ANTRIM
    Barony ANTRIM, LOWER
    Parish RACAVAN
    Place Name MAIN STREET
    Place Type OTHER
    Publication Details
    Position on Page
    Printing Date 1862
    Act 15&16
    Sheet Number
    Map Reference
    This is as far as I can find anything about my past- any ideas?
    Thank you,

  • Saroya Melfe says:

    Hello Mike, I am looking for my family with the names Shields, Reynolds & Matheny! My moms (paternal)great grandfather & great grandmother were
    James Franklin Reynolds
    Clara Mathey
    (Maternal great grandmother) Sarah Ellen Shields!
    I was always told they were Irish! I have a picture of Sarah Ellen Shields when she was old & I found a picture of The actor Barry Fitzgerald(real name is Shields) & they look like they could be brother & sister! They must have been cousins, except Sarah Ellen Shields lived in the United States! There is a huge family of Shields living in the US, originally coming from Antrim & Armagh!

    Thank you,


    • Claudia Belair says:

      Good day Saroya. I am also looking for my great grandmothers family. Her name was Helen Shields, she had two siblings named Mary and James. They were sent to Canada during the potato famine where they arrived by ship at Isle Verte in Quebec. And they were from the Sligo area. That is all I know for now. I am very new to all of this so any info would definately help.

  • Bonnie Hurley Chriestenson says:

    Been looking for my fathers family name Hurley.Heard it was O’Hurley till they arrived in the states and it was changed, taking the O off. Cousins have found Hurley in Cork area, but name doesn’t come up on any list. I also have family names with Abacombie & Scot. My g.g.grandmother Anna Scot born in Donegal. Have date’s when she,her sister & parents came to America.

  • Chayne Quinn says:

    hi,my name is Chayne Quinn. i have traced my fathers line back to the 1720 when they were shipped to australia from dublin, however i have been unable to get and further in my research than that. any help would be fantastic.
    kind regards
    Chayne Quinn

  • Jody Keelin says:

    I am finding it difficult to find information on my surname, Keelin, but have always been told it is Irish, and my ancestors of that name did come from Ireland to Canada to the U.S. Is it perhaps a variant of another name?

  • Merilynn Humphrey Greene says:

    Love the site! Very interesting and I seem to get lost here for hours at a time…

    Cousin long ago traced our ancestors to Co. Armagh, but has no supporting information to give me.
    Philip Humphreys…can you tell me if cousin’s info is correct so I know where to go from here, please?


  • Maria Feerick says:

    Hi Mike

    What country did the ‘Feerick’ surname (listed above) come from? I’ve heard different stories: Flax growers from the Netherlands, shipwrecked Spanish sailors off the Mayo coast; from Wales; MacPhairiac ‘son of Peter’…my family and I would love to know the country of origin pre-Ireland

    • Feerick Descendant says:

      This reply is to Maria Feerick. I am assuming you are the great great granddaughter of David Feerick c1813-1893 via John, Pat and Tom. If you are not, then my apologies, this message is not for you. I am a Feerick descendant from County Mayo. In recent months, I have been drawn into extensive research of your father’s family history, research that was initiated by your second cousins in the United States. That inevitably led us to the very accurate postings you made some 10 years ago on your Feerick history that were pivotal in advancing our knowledge. This research is not on-line and is not in the public domain, at least not for now. Those of us working on it including your second cousins would love to make contact with you to know you and acknowledge the work you have done for the Feerick cause. I have a left a message for you at the findagrave.com website where you left a memorial for your parents. My email address should be visual to you at that website. We would love to share the family history with you.

  • Brenda says:

    My family in Placentia Newfoundland, Canada usually spelt their names O’Rielly-whereas most others spell it O’Reilly. I beleieve they came from Waterford to Placentia about 1750 . Any significance to the spelling?

  • Kevin Harro says:

    Hi Mike +,

    Think surname Scorbio or Scarborough is from Ireland?

    She married a son, Isaac Harro, of an immigrant from N. Ireland. According to a record written by my great grandpa, the immigration was from Orange, Ulster, N.Ireland in 1756 by a protestant O’Harro. This is the 1st time we’ve seen an O’ so we don’t want to make assumptions that we are from the O’Hara family discussed by Mike. During my granddad’s time there was a relative who is known to have insisted that Harro is English. Perhaps an English Harro family moved to Ireland, maybe even added an O’, and is a separate family from the O’Haras. O’Harro, according to the family record, came to Boston and then to Philadelphia. The family he started were weavers and farmers and protestant. It is said he was fairly well educated. Especially interesting, he was a major in the American Revolution, and it is because of something about the war that the O’ was “shot off”, and a township north of Philadelphia was named for him, now spelled Harrow. I’ve found some officers on both sides of the war with names similar to O’Hara but they don’t match up. Anyone know anything about a Harro or O’Harro family from Ulster, their distinction from or connection to the O’Hara name, or the Sorbio/Scarborough family his son married into?

  • Hugh McCoy says:

    Hello,You mentioned the surname McCoy as being one of the old Irish Clans.I always thought that they were originally from Scotland and came to Ireland as Gallowglasses.

  • Terri McCreary says:

    We have traced my great great grandfather to the Armagh/ulster are. He migrated in the 1800’s

  • Anne Dewees says:

    Hello, thanks for your research. My Great Grandfather, James H. Gee was born in County Cork in about 1821. Were all Gees originally McGees (or Magees?) And did they originally inhabit the Ulster region? Thank you.

  • Neal Colleran says:

    I’m trying to find all info on the Colleran clan.
    My family came to America in 1888. My great grandfather was Martin Colleran. He came from Charlestown, County Mayo and it seemed they were very close to Sligo.

    A cool tidbit, they asked he change his name to Colin’s and he out right refused. So while his brothers and sisters took Colin’s he and one other brother kept Colleran.

    Anyways Colleran is a unique name and there are 3 possible origins.

    1st Mac Almuraihne. Sounds like MacColleran and the Mac was dropped. So it became Colleran. It means son of the foreigner/ pirate, stranger from beyond the sea.

    2nd O’Callaraine possibly locational from Ulster. This name appears about 1600.

    3rd It was a Viking name of ‘Coll’ and the eran was added later.

    4th there was supposedly a Colleran clan of Conmach but there’s no way to be sure considering there wasn’t a lot of info on it.

    There is only originating family of this name. I’m getting DNA tested to see if my ancestor was a Scot come down to Ireland, a Viking, Norman, or a Scots Norse Galloglass.

    If you have any info I’d appreciate it.

    • Margaret McKenzie says:

      Hi Neal,
      We may be related. My Paternal Great Great Grandparents were Bernard (Barney) Colleran (b 1825 in Ireland and Mary Vesey b 1830 also Ireland (Veasey/Veazey) who lived in Augusta, GA in the late 1850s and 1860s; he was a grocer. They had 3 daughters: Ellen born about 1859, Kate b. 1861 and Nellie Josephine born 1863 (my Great Grandmother who married Thomas Ernest McKenzie). The family moved to Nashville and Cleveland, TN and into Rome, Floyd County, GA after that. We do not know where in Ireland they came from and have not found when they came. Some of our family has taken autosomal DNA tests but none are direct line male Collerans. We have uploaded our raw results to a free site GEDMatch.com in hopes of finding more cousins. Our McKenzie line, thought to be Scottish turned out to be a direct line to Niall of the Nine Hostages in Ireland though which matches what my paternal Grandmother told me when I was age 10 — “your Grandfather’s line is Irish!” The farthest back we can trace is to early 1700s in PA where Joseph McKenzie was listed as born in Ireland. That line quickly moved to York County, SC. The last I see Bernard Colleran in Augusta is 1867 City Directory.

      • Neal Colleran says:

        My great great grandfather was Martin Anthony Colleran. He was born in 1862 in Charlestown, County Mayo. His father was a Thomas Colleran of Lowpark, Charlestown, County Mayo. They were farmers. He immigrated to the US to Augusta GA in 1888. He worked for the fire department and lived to be nearly 102 years old. He came over with siblings. Many of the siblings changed their last names to Colins but my grandfather refused to Americanize. He spoke Gaelic Irish which is more common in the west of Ireland.

        The Colleran last name in gaelic is Ó Callaráin. Rev Patrick Woulfe suggests it is a corruption f the name Mac ALLMHURÁIN meaning son of the Pirate/stranger from beyond the sea. Sort of sounds like MacColleran but the two names sound very different in Gaelic so the origin of the Colleran last name is unknown.

        I do however know the Collerans are of the conmaicne cuile toladh whpo were a very old clan in Ireland. Conmac means “Wolf or Hound” son. Hound and Wolf in Irish are interchangeable.

        I recently took a Y-DNA test at Family tree dna. My results should be back around Mach 23rd.

        • Katie Colleran says:

          Neal, did you ever get your results back? I have Collerans in my family from Charlestown during the same period but can’t find much information on them at all. Did your great great grandfather have any other family who stayed when he emigrated? It would be great to find out more since we’re possibly related somewhere along the line!

  • M Mc Allister says:

    What about surname Mc Allister/M’Allister Mike?

  • Edward Stewart says:

    I see Mike that your last post seems to be dated back two years ago so not sure whether you still check this or not. Anyway, I was interested in one of your older posts referencing the Proctor family. My great grandfather, Thomas Proctor Stewart, was born in 1855 at Granny, Kilcronaghan, Tobermore, Co. Derry to Mathew Stewart and Ellen (Elenor) Proctor. Have not had much success in tracing Ellen who would have been born circa 1810-1820. Proctor is not particularly common in that part of Derry and think I found one reference to an 18th century William Proctor in nearby Magherafelt. Otherwise Proctor appears most common about 30 miles south of Tobermore in the area where Counties Tyrone and Armagh border each other. Would be interested in any information you might be willing to share about the Proctors who came during the Plantation.

  • gail weston says:

    looking for Ambrose Boyle, born around 1807, in county Roscommon. Left the homeland, and went to Prince Edward Island. Married Maryann Bowden, and died on the island in the late 1800’s..He would be my grgrgrandfather

  • gail weston says:

    Looking for Hugh Finley, married to Ann Foley, left the homeland, and went to Ontario, canada. He was born around 1785

  • Alison Lafferty says:

    Hi I enjoyed reading your article on Irish surnames, which category do the Lafferty’s fit? I can only trace my family back to 1799, many Txs

  • Storm carey adams says:

    I don’t see the surname carey or carrig or o’carey anywhere! I do know relatives emigrated to the usa because i have seen copy of the ship manifest..relatives are from county cork…could my surname be kerry? Would love to know! Thank you storm carey adams…stockton ca. California

  • Merry Lee says:

    My ancestor left Ireland for London, UK in the early 1800’s. He was born in 1796 Ireland and married in London in 1825. We are unable to trace his Irish birthplace. How can we do this? Thank you.

  • PAUL L COCHRAN SR. says:

    I would like to connect with someone concerning Irish heritage I have taken the DNA test and it has me as 53 % Irish. I have traced my roots so far to may ancestor Cochrans arriving in Baltimore MD in the 1600’s and then migrating to Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri!
    Respectfully Paul L cochran Sr.

  • julie says:

    My family came from Roscommon name of king why can’t I find it out of the many

  • Julie says:

    My mother’s ancestors from Ireland have the surnames, Christian, Warren and Jeakle, who were German Palantines. The Christian family were from Wicklow. I do wonder about their origin.

  • Kathleen Moore says:

    Hi Mike! i hve been receiving your very interesting letters for a couple of months now, and just subscribed to the Green Room! I did not see my family surname and was pretty surprised, as I was always under the impression it was an older name. Heck, my grandfather used to say we were related to Brian Boru, but he was always full of blarney! Where does O’Connolly from the Conneaut fit in this scheme of things? Thanks.
    Kathleen (Conley) Moore

  • Debrah Levine says:

    I am a descendant of McLaughlins(Eoghan), MacGuinness, McShane, and Farren. I believe McShane was a branch of McLaughlins. I do not see Farren on your list. They were from Donegal, Moville Parish, Mossey Glen townland. Immigrated to Boston around 1860 or so. Do you know of them ? I believe McLaughlins started out in Donegal, and gradually made it to Derry. My McLaughlins were from Lower Cumber, Mullaboy townland, Derry. Do you have info on them ?

    • Carina says:

      Thanks for connecting with us Debrah. Your query would involve investigation beyond the scope of this letter and we have created The Green Room for just that type of detailed search.

  • James R Godfrey says:

    Good job
    Keep up the good work.
    You got my family just right.

  • ED says:

    Was the Dulin family originally a Norman (or French Huguenot) family that settled in England and then on to Ireland? Many associate the surname “Dulin” with Doolin, Co. Clare (original Irish spelling “Dúlainn”), but it seems my family and most Dulins that arrived in the US, particularly to the Southern Colonies, were more Presbyterian or Anglican, indicating either French Huguenot ancestry, or some kinda of Norman-Anglo Plantation Era family, as your list suggests. What is the source I might ask, for the Dulin family arriving during the Plantation period, as I would like to research further. – thanks –

  • Susan Bordner says:

    Where would Keefe fall on the lists? As far as the records I’ve been able to find on my particular line, our family line has been Keefe since before John Keefe was born in 1800. No idea if it was originally O’Keefe at some point pre 1800?

    • Bill O'Keefe says:

      Keefe, Keeffe, O’Keefe, O’Keeffe, Keiffe etc are of the old Irish clans pre 5ooBC , they just missed them on the list, Bill O’Keefe

  • Suellen says:

    My many times great grandparents were Robert Davis and Agnes Armstrong from Killashandra. Married circa 1793.
    Robert, Joseph and Henry Davis are listed as Flaxgrowers in 1796.
    I cannot find any records of either Roberts or Agnes parents.
    ? emigrated from England

  • jcstokes says:

    looking for information on William white born 9/12/1819 cork Ireland-father name was William- mother unknown

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