The Problem with Irish Names
What name should you look for - what did people call your ancestors?
This seems like a silly question but it is an important one. Our ancestors often used various names and their names may have been recorded differently depending upon the recorder.
Did they use different given names (first names) during their lifetime?
It is important to know the various forms a name may have taken and the ways a given name may have been recorded. It may have been recorded in Latin in a church record. A person may have decided to use either the English or Gaelic version of their name at various times of their life. Many Irish used nickname versions of their given name. Then, of course, there is the possibility that a person decided to use a middle name as their given name. If you are not aware of the possible variations, you may miss your ancestor as they were recorded in one source or another.
Because Ireland was the destination for many immigrant groups over the ages, an Irish surname may be of Gaelic, Norman, Palatine, Huguenot, English or Scottish origin.
Male first names used interchangeably:
Female first names used interchangeably:
Abbreviations applicable to both sexes:
Commonly used naming patterns in families may be a clue:
Some Resources for learning more abut Irish names and name variations: