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Ireland is known for many things, gaelic, green grass, bog people, and of course the people who make this place magical. While researching, my ancestors were named a million different things! I didn't realize that the fifty John O'Neills had other name parts as well.
Do you know these names?
Back in time O'Cleary was the first recorded Irish surname-O'Clerigh. It was seen in Lord of Aidhne, Tigherneach Ua Cleirigh, died in County Galway back in the year 916 A.D. In the beginning, names were not passed down from parent to child. It was usually someone's fathers name. So a person was first a "mac" than a fathers name. Mac meant "son of." Women were "nic"and then "o" was developed to say descendant of. The Normans and upper classes started the traditional family naming. Then there were descriptive surnames that mean different things about physical characteristics.
1. Murphy — The Anglicized version of the Irish surname Ó Murchadha and Mac Murchadha,meaning “sea warrior.”
2. Kelly — The origin of this Irish name is uncertain. An Anglicized version of the Irish name Ó Ceallaigh, it can describe a warrior or mean “white-headed,” “frequenting churches,” or “descendant of Ceallach.”
3. O’Sullivan — (Ó Súileabháin or Ó Súilleabháin in Irish). In 1890, 90 percent of the O’Sullivans were estimated to be in Munster. Many people agree that the basic surname means “eye,” but they do not agree whether the rest of the name means “one-eyed,” “hawk-eyed,” “black-eyed,” or something else.
4. Walsh — This name came to Ireland via British soldiers during the Norman invasion of Ireland and means “from Wales.” It’s derived from Breathnach or Brannagh.
5. Smith — This surname does not necessarily suggest English ancestry, as some think; often the surname was derived from Gabhann (which means “smith”).
6. O’Brien — This name came down from Brian Boru (941-1014) who was king of Munster; his descendants took the name Ó Briain.
7. Byrne (also Byrnes; O’Byrne) — from the Irish name Ó Broin (“raven”; also, descendant of Bran); this dates to the ancient Celtic chieftain Bran mac Máelmórda, a King of Leinster in the 11thcentury.
8. Ryan — This name has various possible origins: from the Gaelic Ó Riagháin (grandson or descendant of Rían) or Ó Maoilriain (grandson/descendant of Maoilriaghain) or Ó Ruaidhín(grandson/descendant of the little red one). Or it may be a simplification of the name Mulryan. It means “little king.”
9. O’Connor — From Ó Conchobhair (grandson or descendant of Conchobhar; “lover of hounds”).
10. O’Neill — Anglicized from the Gaelic Ua Néill (grandson or descendant of Niall). The name is connected with meanings including “vehement” and “champion.” The main O’Niall family is descended from the historic “Niall of the Nine Hostages.”
Courtesy of Ancestry.com
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