Meaning of family surnames of people in Listamlet (1860)

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This is just a brief description,of the meaning of peoples names,who lived in Listamlet or who rented land taken from Griffiths Valuation

more can be found here  .as to what the rented.

Canavan  ,,,,,Canavans were hereditary physicians to the leading O’Flahertys of Connemara, and as such are mentioned by the Four Masters in 1416; one was the constant medical attendant of the O’Flahertys of Lemonfield up to the end of the eighteenth century. O’Canavan, almost always without the prefix 0 today, is of rare occurrence in the records, it may be regarded as primarily a Co. Galway surname. Though in the seventeenth century the O’Canavans were domiciled almost exclusively in counties Galway and Mayo they later became scattered. Today the name is distributed throughout the four provinces, although still rare. It is found in Co. Waterford sometimes as Guinevan; and in many places Whitehead has been used as a synonym of it. This is a peculiar case of mistranslation because the Irish surname 0 Ceanndubhdin is formed from the root words ceann (head) and dubh (black): the final bháin was mistaken for bán, white. Canavan has been anglicized as Whitelock in Co. Armagh.

Connor,,,,, Connor and O’Connor surname,meaning and origin,Connelly is a patronymic surname, the shortened form O’Connor, which in turn is an Anglicization of the Gaelic Ó Conchobhair or Ó Conchúir, meaning “descendant of Conchobhar.” The name Conchobhar is thought to mean “lover of hounds,” from the Gaelic con, meaning “hound or wolf,” and cobhair, “aid, or desiring.” The Connor name is also thought to denote strength and leadership, from conn, meaning “wisdom, strength, counsel,” plus cobhair.The O’Connors descend from several distinct royal Irish families and clans; they are from Clare, Derry, Galway, Kerry, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo and the province of Ulster.

Devlin There was once a not unimportant sept of O Doibhilin, anglice O’Devlin, in what is now the barony of Corran, Co. Sligo. As late as 1316 one of these, Gillananaev O’Devlin, who was standard bearer to O’Connor, was slain in battle. Their descendants, however, have either died out or have been dispersed. The principal sept of the name belongs to Co. Tyrone. Their chiefs were lords of the territory known as Munterdevlin on the Tyrone shore of Lough Neagh. Eighty per cent of present day Devlins (the prefix O is seldom if ever used in modern times) are from Ulster, most of whom hail from Tyrone or an adjacent county. In the Elizabethan Fiants they are called Doibhin, but the name is scarcely found in any form in the census of 1659, since the Co. Tyrone is missing from that document. An O’Devlin who died in 1211 was Bishop of Kells. A prominent rebel in the Portadown area in 1641 was Patrick O’Develin; Francis O’Devlin (d. 1735), a Franciscan friar of Prague, born in Co. Tyrone, was a writer of some note; and James Devlin (d. 1825), was a veteran of the American War of Independence. The best known of the name in Irish history, however, was associated with Wicklow and Tyrone – Anne Devlin (1778-1851), the faithful servant of Robert Emmet, who though imprisoned and tortured would not give information against him. Joe Devlin (1872-1934), the Belfast Nationalist M.P., one of the best known figures in Ireland during the first twenty years of the present century, and another Joseph Devlin (b. 1869), who wrote voluminously over the nom de plume of “Northern Gael”, were both unmistakable Ulstermen. Mr. T. O Raifeartaigh informs me that the O’Devlins of Co. Sligo are still extant, and even numerous in counties Sligo, Leitrim and Cavan, but the name there has been widely changed to Dolan.

Dobson,,,,,Dobson is an English-Scottish patronyic name meaning son of Dobbe, a pet-name for Robert, from the Germanic Hrodebert. Derived from Old German hrod (renown) and berht (famous), Robert was a popular medieval name, and Dobb itself was a popular surname, especially in Northern England. Dobson genealogy includes variations Dobbins, Dobbison, Dobsaun, and Dobsone. Dobson family history dates from feudal times in Lancashire, with the Dobson surname also found in Scotland and particularly in Leitrim county in Ireland. English 19th-century architect John Dobson is said to be the pioneer of the modern Gothic revival. The first Dobson immigrant to the New World settled in Virginia in 1638.

Donaghoe,,,,,Donoghue or Donohoe, more properly O’Donoghue, is one of the most important as well as the most numerous names in Ireland. In Irish O Donnchadha, it denotes descendant of Donnchadh, anglice Donogh, a personal name. Several distinct septs o the name existed in early times. O these the principal are O’Donoghue of Desmond, O’Donoghue of Ui Maine (Hy Many) and O’Donoghue of Co. Cavan. The modern representatives of the two latter usually spell the name Donoghoe, and are still found plentifully in Counties Galway and Cavan, while the first-named are mostly in Counties Kerry and Cork, I.e. in the Desmond country. They are of the same stock as the O’Mahonys, descended from Domhnall son of the King of Munster who took part in the battle of Clontarf in 1014. They were originally in West Cork, but having been driven into Kerry by the MacCarthys, they became very powerful in that county, and a district called Onaght O’Donoghue perpetuates their occupation. The sept split into two branches, the head of one being styled O’Donoghue Mor, with his seat on Lough Leine at Ross Castle (still one of the tourist attractions near Killarney); the other was O’Donoghue of the Glen. O’Donoghue Mor estates were confiscated during the Elizabethan wars, but O’Donoghue of the Glen held on at Glenflesk and the present head of the family is one of the few Chiefs of the Name recognized officially in Ireland as eligible to use that designation, I.e. to be called in popular parlance “The O’Donoghue”. Geoffrey O’Donoghue of the Glen, one of the leading Gaelic poets and scholars of the seventeenth century, if not himself chief of the Name was most probably son of the chieftain Geoffrey O’Donoghue (d. 1678). Another minor O’Donoghue sept belonged to Ossory but these are now called Dunphy. A hundred years ago the peasantry there were still O’Donoghue, and Dunphy was “genteel”. Dunphy, however, is recorded in the census of 1659 as one of the principal Irish names in the barony of Iverk, Co. Kilkenny. Like all the great Irish families O’Donoghues distinguished themselves in the armies of continental powers in the eighteenth century. In Spain the name became O’Donoju – Juan O’ Donoju (1751-1821) was the last Spanish ruler of Mexico. Donnchadh O Donnchaddha founded Jerpoint Abbey at the end of the twelfth century.

Donnelly,,,,,According to the latest available statistics there are not far short of ten thousand persons of the name Donnelly in Ireland to-day, which places this name among the sixty-five most numerous in the country. Practically all these may be regarded as belonging to the Ulster Donnelly sept – O Donnghaile of Cinel Eoghan. This is of the same stock as the O’Neills, the eponymous ancestor of the sept being Donnghaile O’Neill, seventeenth in descent from Niall the Great, ancestor of the royal house of O’Neill. Their territory lay first in Co. Donegal and later further eastwards, centred around the place called Ballydonnelly, Co. Tyrone, which was named from them. The place name Ballydonnelly also occurs twice in that part of Co. Antrim which adjoins Co. Tyrone. This area is still the part of Ireland in which they are most numerous. Their chief was hereditary marshal of O’Neill’s military forces and they were noted soldiers in early times, one of the most famous of them, Donnell O’Donnelly, being killed at the battle of Kinsale (1603). Another, Patrick Modardha O’Donnelly, out in 1641, captured the castle of Ballydonnelly from Lord Caulfield. It was subsequently renamed Castle Caulfield. Another sept called in English O’Donnelly, but in Irish O Donnghalaigh, belonged to Lower Ormond in Co. Tipperary, but as there appear to be few survivors of it to-day it can be dismissed with a bare mention. In modern times prominent Donnellys are connected with the U.S.A. rather than Ireland the country of their origin, e.g. Charles Francis Donnelly (1836-1909), the Catholic lawyer; Ignatius Donnelly (1831-1901), politician and reformer; and the last name’d sister Eleanor Cecilia Donnelly (1838-1917), author of many Catholic devotional works.

Early,,,,,Early ,O’Mulmohery ,,,,,The Irish surname Ó Maolmocheirghe was phonetically so anglicized at first, then abbreviated to Mulmoher. There no entry in the birth indices for the three years 1864 to 1866 for O’Mulmohery or Mulmoher. The substitution of Early and Earley for these by a kind of translation moch means early and éirghe rising – took place during the period of Gaelic submergence in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. An ecclesiastical family, they were coarbs of Drumlane, Co. Cavan, and of Drumreilly, Co. Leitrim. The Four Masters mention a bishop of Breffny (Kilmore) and an abbot of Kells (Co. Meath) in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries whose name in O’Donovan’s translation is given as O’Mulmoghery. In the Composition Book of Connacht (1585) it is O’Mulmoher: the important family so called was seated in Co. Leitrim, which modern statistics show is the main homeland of the Earlys today. In the acobite attainders of Co. Leitrim the name is spelt Mulvogherry. A branch of the sept was also established in Co. Donegal: in 1659 there were several families of O’Mulmoghery in the baronies of Banagh and Boylagh (west Donegal) and there are priests of the name, in one form or another, in the records of the diocese of Raphoe. The Prior of Kells (Co. Kilkenny) in 1361 was Robert Erley and as early as 1305 the place-name Erleystown in Co. Tipperary is on record. At that time the use of Early as an anglicized form of a Gaelic surname was unknown and the Erleys of Kilkenny and Tipperary were of Norman origin, as is evident from the fact that they were often called d’Erley. Dr. John Early S.J. (1814-1874) foundcrof St. Ignatius College, Worcester, Mass., was of the O’Mulmohery sept. It seems that O’Mulmoghery was first abbreviated to O’Mohery in Co. Armagh then”translated” as Fields, from the mistaken belief that Moghery represented the Irish word machaire, a plain field. The form O’Mulmohery,

Fee,,,,,Fee ,Ó Fiaich is widely regarded as a Co. Armagh name, perhaps because of the prominence of Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich now Archbishop of Armagh and formerly President of Maynooth College. His family has long been established in north Louth. Originally they belong to Fermanagh and are on record in the Annals of the Four Masters as erenaghs of Derrybrusk, near Enniskillen, as far back as 1482. O’Fee is listed as a principal name in that area in the “census” of 1659. The name Fay usually of different origin, has been used as a synonym of Fee in’Ulster so that there may be some confusion. The statistics given in Griffith’s Valuation of the 1850s llustrate this. In Co. Cavan 15 entries for Fee are found in one barony (Tullyhaw) and in the barony of Tullygarvey, where Fee is rare, more than 52 Fay or Fey entries occur. Without close research on individual families it is not possible to say whether many of these Fays are actually Fee. It is interesting to note that 7 of the 27 relevant entries for Co Antrim appear as O’Fee. Elsewhere the prefix 0 had been generallyy discarded. That this is still the case, looking at todays telephone directories where of approximately 50 of the name fisted only two appear as O’Fee. The Griffith’s Valuation figure for Co. Armagh is 8; the other three Ulster counties together only total five.

Feehan,,,,,O’Feehan O’Fegan ,Feehan has for many centuries been associated with the Ormond country, particularly Tipperary and Kilkenny. The early anglicized spelling of Irish surnames as set down in legal records is very corrupt and may be misleading. Probably Muirihirt and Thomas O’Fechan, who appeared before a court held in Clonmel in 1295 were of this sept; as was Philip MacShoan O’Fethan who was convicted of robbery in Co. Tipperary in 1359, another Conghor Leith O’Fean, was fined at Clonmel in 1380. By 1601 the name had assumed a form nearer to the modern Feehan: in that year Teige MacNicholas O’Fehin was one of a number of men belonging to the Ormond territory who were granted “pardons”. In modern times there were 57 householders of the name in Co. Tipperary in 1855 and birth registrations of the 1860s show that Feehan was then found mainly in the Munster-Kikenny area to which they traditionally belong. A generation later the name appears in all the provinces, less than half were recorded in the O’Feehan homeland and the majority were in Co. Louth. It seems probable that Feehan has sometimes been substituted for Fegan in Co. Louth.

Finnegan,,,,,There are two distinct septs of Finnegan or Finegan whose name is O Fionnagain in Irish, which means the descendants of Fionnagan, an old Irish personal name derived from the word fionn, I.e fairheaded. One of these septs was located on the border of Cos. Galway and Roscommon where there are two places called Ballyfinegan – one in the barony of Balymoe and the second nearby in the barony of Castlereahg. The other is a Breffny sept. The present day bearers of the name – it is seldom found with its proper prefix O – hail chiefly from the localities of their origin; the majority belong to Cavan and adjacent counties, with a fair proportion to south Connacht. An entry in the “Annals of Loch Ce” telling of the destruction by the O’Byrnes in 1405 of a place called Newcastle O’Finnegan, as well as a reference in one of the Elizabethan fiants, suggests that in mediaeval times Finnegans were also located in Co. Wicklow. Finnegans have not been prominent in the cultural or political history of Ireland. The name is, of course, familiar on account of the novel Finnegans Wake by James Joyce: the title of his novel is that of an old Dublin ballad from which Joyce took it.

Fox,,,,,In this note we may disregard English settlers of the name Fox, one family of whom became extensive landowners in Co. Limerick and are perpetuated there in the place name Mountfox, near Kilmallock. The Irish Foxes got their name as a sobriquet: Tadhg O Catharnaigh (anglice O’Caherny – mod. Carney or Kearney), Chief of Teffia, Co. Meath (d. 1084) was called Sionnach, I.e The Fox, and in due course this branch acquired the name Fox as a distinct surname. (For Kearney ) A report of the Registrar-General gives a list of alternative forms of surnames used by persons registering births, deaths, marriages. Few are so lengthy as that of Fox, the synonyms for which are Mac Ashinah (Co. Tyrone), MacShanaghy (Co. Louth) – from the Irish Mac a’Sionnaigh, son of the fox, Shanahy (Co. Westmeath), Shinagh (Co. Mayo), Shunny (Co. Louth), Shinnock (Co. Kilkenny), Shonogh (Co. Galway) and others, with O Sionnaigh in Irish in general use. It will be seen that these synonyms cover a wide stretch of country in three provinces. The name, as Fox, is found in every county, though nowhere in very large numbers; it is most numerous in Dublin, Longford, Tyrone and Leitrim. The head of the sept has for centuries since the English language was first introduced into Ireland been known as “The Fox” and this designation, still used to-day, is admitted as authentic by the Irish Genealogical Office – it cannot be called a title for titles are not recognized under the Irish Constitution. Among interesting bearers of the name we may mention Sir Patrick Fox of Moyvore, Co. Westmeath, who was State Interpreter (of Irish) in 1568, and Charlotte Milligan Fox (1864-1916), a collector of folk songs and founder of the Irish Folk Song Society.

Gallagher,,,,,The name of this sept, O Gallchobhair in Irish, signifies descendant of Gallchobhar or Gallagher, who was himself descended from the King of Ireland who reigned from 642-654. the O’Gallaghers claim to be the senior and most loyal family of the Cineal Connaill. Their territory extended over a wide area in the modern baronies of Raphoe and Tirhugh, Co. Donegal, and their chiefs were notable as marshals of O’Donnell’s military forces from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. The principal branch of the sept were seated at Ballybeit and Ballynaglack. Gallagher, usually without its prefix O, is one of the commonest names in Ireland being fourteenth in the statistical list compiled from birth registrations. Most of these were recorded in the north-western counties of Ulster and Connacht, the majority being from Co. Donegal, the original homeland of the sept. The national records show them to have been even more intimately connected with ecclesiastical than with military activities. No less than six O’Gallaghers were bishops of Raphoe in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and one in the eighteenth. One of these, Laurence O’Gallagher, who held the see from 1466-1477, was anything but a saintly prelate, while on the other hand Most Rev. Redmond O’Gallagher (1521-1601), Bishop of Derry, the prelate who befriended the survivors of the Spanish Armada and was forced to disguise himself as a shepherd in order to escape the prevailing religious persecution, was eventually captured and became on of our Irish Catholic martyrs. A later Bishop of Raphoe, and afterwards of Ossory, Most Rev. James O’Gallagher (1681-1751) was famous for his sermons (usually preached in Irish), which, when published, ran to twenty editions. In America Father Hugh Gallagher (1815-1882), had a most colourful career as a “frontier priest”. William Davis Gallagher (1808-1894), American poet, was the son of an Irish refugee who took part in Robert Emmet’s Rebellion.

Harvey,,,,,The Irish Harveys are mostly of English extraction, notably the most prominent family of the name, viz. the Harveys of Bargy, Co. Wexford. it is of interest to note, however, that a distinguished though small sept of Kilmacduagh in Co. Galway, long dispersed from their original habitat, anglicized their name O hAirmheadaigh as Harvey. Occasionally, too, the O’Harrihys of Co. Fermanagh used Harvey as an alternative form of the name. The majority of Harveys in Ireland to-day are Ulster Protestants. Though a Protestant landlord of English stock, Bagenal Harvey (1752-1798) of Co. Wexford is renowned for his part in the 1798 Rising, for which he was hanged. William Henry Harvey (1811-1866) was famous in his day as a botanist.

Hyde,,,,,The Hydes of Castle Hyde, Co. Cork, acquired many extensive estates in that county in 1588. Dr. Douglas Hyde (1859-1949), first President of Ireland and probably the best known of all the leaders of the Gaelic revival, was of this family: his father, Canon Arthur Hyde, was a clergyman in Co. Roscommon. The name Hyde appears in the Ormond Deeds relating to Co. Kilkenny several times in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Jordan,,,,,Though Jordan is quite a common English name very few of Irish Jordans are of English descent. Mac Siurtain was a surname of the Gaelic type adopted by one of the hibernicized Norman families which acquired extensive territory in Connacht after the invasion of 1172. It signifies descendants of Jordan, I.e. Jordan d’Exeter, and this sept, for such it was in effect, in due course became in the sixteenth century phrase “wild Irish”. In the “Annals of Connacht”, in which the name appears frequently between the years 13336 and 14701, it is spelt MacSiurtan. This origin was by no means forgotten, for one of them who was killed in 1442 is described by the annalist as “the strongest hand and the bravest heart of all the d’Exeters of his time”. In English they were usually called MacJordan in Mayo, while in Clare, where they were also settled, the Fiants give them variously as MacShurtan, MacShurdane, MacShurton etc. Nowadays the form always used is simply Jordan. The modern barony of Gallen in Co. Mayo was long known as MacJordan’s country, and it is so described both in the Fiants and int the “Composition Book of Connacht”. In the latter the chief is called MacSurtaine alias Jordan. Dorothea Jordan (1762-1816), actress and mother of the FitzClarences (she was the mistress of William IV), was actually Dorothea Bland, from Derryquin, Co. Kerry, Jordan being a stage name. Kate Jordan (1862-1926), American novelist and playwright, was also born in Ireland. Father Fulgentius Jordan, martyred in 1652, was a member of the Augustinian Order. At the present time the name is chiefly found in Counties Galway and Mayo.

Kavanagh,,,,,Kavanagh is one of the very few ancient Gaelic Irish surnames which has neither the prefix Mac or O: it is wrong to call it O Caomhanach in Irish as is sometimes erroneously done. In Irish it is simply Caomhanach which is an adjective denoting association with Caomhan, in this case St. Caomhan, the first Kavanagh having been fostered by a successor of that saint. It was not customary for such epithets to be perpetuated, as happened with this branch of the MacMurroughs. The first Kavanagh was Donal son of Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster, who was one one of the prominent figures in Irish history, being the immediate cause of the Anglo-Norman invasion. The Kavanagh territory lay then in Counties Wexford and Carlow and they continued to be extensive landowners there up to recent times. The name is very numerous in and around Co. Wexford in all classes of society, so much so indeed that they are enough Kavanaghs in the south-eastern counties of Leinster by themselves, without counting the scattered Kavanaghs in the rest of the country, to put the name in the list of the eighty commonest surnames in the country: all told they hold fifty-third place in that list. The agnomen Kavanagh was long associated with the MacMurroughs, Art MacMurrough, the King of Leinster who put up so determined a resistance to Richard II of England, being styled Kavanagh. The Kavanaghs themselves have produced a number of notable figures, none more picturesque than Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh (1831-1889), who, although he had only stumps of arms and legs, overcame the disability and became an expert horseman and fisherman, learned to write and draw and was for many years a Member of Parliament. In the same century Morgan Peter Kavanagh (1800-1874) and his daughter Julia Kavanagh (1824-1877) were well-known authors in their day. Going back to the sixteenth century there was Cahir Mac Art Kavanagh (1500-1554), who took part in the Geraldine rebellion, and Art Kavanagh, who was Hugh O’Neill’s companion in the dramatic escape from Dublin Castle in 1590. In the next century we find Brian Kavanagh, one of the many Kavanaghs who fought for the Stuart cause, described as the tallest man in King James’s army; while among the Wild Geese of the name Morgan Kavanagh, who rose to be Governor of Prague in 1766, was said to be the biggest man in Europe. Several Kavanaghs were officers in the Irish Brigade in the army of France and a branch of the family settled in that country, but it was in Austria they chiefly distinguished themselves. Two were prominent in 1798 – Rev. Francis Kavanagh, who was one of the leaders of the insurrection in Co. Wexford, and Walter Cavanagh of Borris, Co. Carlow, nicknamed by the people “the monarch” whose house was burned down by the insurgents. The well-known song “Eileen Aroon”, said to be composed by Carol O’Daly in the thirteenth century, should be mentioned in connexion with this family, the Eileen invoked being the daughter of the Kavanagh chief of the time. Kavanagh is sometimes used as a synonym for two often quite distinct surnames, affording an example of the not uncommon process of attraction whereby some well-known patronymic of somewhat similar sound is assumed in place of the original name. O Caomhain, anglice O’Keevan and Kevane, once an important sept in Mayo, where it has also been maladroitly turned into Cavendish, is one; the other is O Caibhdeaniigh of Ossory, an obsolete form of Gaffney

McCreely,,,,,MacCrilly ,McCreilly,Crolly , The records for Oriel show that Crilly is definitely a Mac name. Several variant forms of the surname, as well as the place-names Ballymacreely, occured in the sixteenth century Fiants for Monaghan and south Down; MacCrolly, MacCroley and Crolly are among the principal Irish names in Co. Louth in the 1659 “census”; MagCrolys are found in the Co. Armagh Hearth Money Rolls of 1664; two Crellys and a MacCrolly, priest located in different parts of Oriel, are prominent in the Rinuccini correspondence (1653-1660); MacCrylly appears in theFarney (Co. Monaghan) rentroll of 1695. Crelly and Creely without prefix also appeaed among the attainted Jacobites of Co. Down. The prefix 0 was sometimes used with this name. In 1647 in Irish 0 Crili is given as the name of a Maghera priest, it occured with 0 as well as Mac in the Armagh Hearth Money Rolls. The modern name of the parish formerly called Drumgarvan is Tamlaght O’Crilly. A James O’Crilly was in one of the O’Neill regiments of James 11’s army. The family of Tamlaght is considered to be a branch of the MacDermots of Moylurg. Abbot Patrick Creely acted for Owen Roe O’Neill in negotiations with London on behalf of the Ulster Catholics. Dr. William Crolly (1780-1849), Bishop of Down and Connor from 1825 to 1835 and Archbishop of Armagh he was a supporter of the establishment of national schools and of the Queen’s Colleges. His nephew Rev. George Crolly (1813-1878), wrote a life of the archbishop. Rev. George Croly (1780-1860), poet and preacher. O’Croly of frequent occurence in the Fiants, has no connexion with the name now under consideration, it is an older form of Crowley. Several of the name have been prominent in the U.S.A. but they too, were Crowleys from Co.Cork.

McKearney,,,,,MacCarney,This name is Mac Cearnaigh, the family was originally seated at Ballynmaccarney, Co. Meath. According to. records from the sixteenth century to the present day it must be regarded as belonging to Ulster: in the Fiants a MacCarney is found among the followers of Rory O’Donnell; in the Hearth Money Rolls of the 1660’s the name appeared often in Counties Monaghan and Armagh; and recent sources indicate that they are still mainly located in that part of Ulster. It would seem that the prefix Mac has been widely dropped, the name being now registered as Carney or Kearney. The most remarkable person of this name was Susan MacKarney who died in Dublin in 1751 reputedly 120 years of age. She was a beggarwoman who had f 250 secreted in the mattress of her death bed.

McKeown,,,,,This famous Irish surname which originated it is claimed, in County Sligo, uses the Gaelic diminutive ‘Eoghain’, translating as ‘Little Owen’ or perhaps ‘son of Owen’ as its basic form. ‘Owen’ is in fact the Welsh form of the Hebrew John, and is believed to be first found in Ireland in the 7th Century A.D. when the early Christians arrived from Europe. The clan held important lands in the barony of Kiltartan, in County Galway in the 16th century. In fact area was at that time known as ‘Termon Brian Mac Owen’. The Irish clan name spellings are generally MacKeown, formerly MacEoghain, in Connacht, and MacKeon, formerly MacEoin, in County Down, whilst in County Fermanagh to give another variation it was originally O’Ceothain, and is now O’Hone! The famous Irish etymologist Edward MacLysaght claimed that with ‘Keo(w)n’ the prefix O’ and ‘Mac’ are interchangeable, although this is not usually the case. Altogether there are at least seventeen variations of the surname spelling. It is also claimed that the clan has in the 20th century two homes. The first is Ballymakeown near Belfast, (the place of the MacOwens), and secondly the apparently oddly named Keonbrook in Co. Leitrim. Here in fact the name has been foreshortened from the original MacKeon(brook). The coat of arms has the blazon of a silver field, a red hand couped between two black lions combatant, in chief four red knights spurs. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Padraig MacOwen, which was dated 1659, taken from Pettys Irish Census, during the reign of Richard Cromwell

McNeece,,,,, This notable and long-established clan surname is both Irish and Scottish. It derives from the ancient Gaelic “Mac Naois”, a short form of “MacAonghuis”, meaning the son of Angus. This ancient name was borne by Aonghus Turimleach, one of three Irish brothers, who invaded Scotland in the 3rd Century B.C. It was also the given name of an 8th Century Pictish king, said to be the son of Daghda, the chief god of the Irish, who gave his name to the county (now part of Tayside) called Angus. Arguably the clan therefore originated in Irel;and but came ot prominence in Scotland, where the name is variously recorded as MacNish, MacNeish, Macknish, MacNess, Mackness, Mackerness and MacNeice, as well as all the short forms commencing ‘Mc’. Early examples of recordings include John Dow MacNeische who witnessed a grantully charter in 1494, and Jonete Macknes, who was a tenant in Drumgy, Menteith, in 1495. The clan once possessed much of the upper part of Stratheam, Perthshire, until they lost it to the Macnabs in a battle fought in the year 1522. The famous Irish etymologist ‘Maclysaght, claimed that the clan were a branch of Clan MacGregor, who were outlawed in 1608 for various acts of violence against the state and the neighbouring clans. This may be so, although the Scottish historian Black merely relates that two clan members Donald McNysche and Jon McNysche, followers of the earl of Cassilis were ‘respited’ for murder in 1526. Apparently not all the clan were so inclined as another recording shows that one James Mackneis was “a venerable and learned man, deserving well of the city” (Glasgow). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilmore Macnesche. This was dated 1376, in the Ancient Charters of the Earldom of Morton, during the reign of King Robert 11nd of Scotland, 1371 – 1390. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to “develop” often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Richardson,,,,,This surname is a patronymic form of a very ancient personal name, and means “son of Richard”. The derivation of Richard is from the Olde English “ric”, power and “heard”, meaning brave, hardy. It is originally Anglo-Saxon in origin, but was made very popular in England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. Pre 7th Century Anglo-Saxon, and Norse baptismal names were usually distinctive compounds whose elements were often associated with the Gods of Fire, Water and War, or composed of disparate elements. The surname was first recorded in Scotland in the mid 14th Century (see below), and the first spelling of the surname in its modern form is found in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns of 1381, in one William Richardson. John Richardson is recorded as being one of the men responsible for transporting and selling as slaves, in the West Indies, many of the convicted Monmouth Rebels in 1685. Among the forty-nine entries in the “Dictionary of National Biography”, for notable Richardsons is Samuel Richardson, the novelist (1689 – 1761), who is famous particularly for his novel “Clarissa Harlowe”. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Murdac Richardesson (Merchant), which was dated 1359, recorded in Glasgow, Scotland, during the reign of King David 11 of Scotland, 1324 – 1371. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to “develop” often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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One thought on “Meaning of family surnames of people in Listamlet (1860)

  1. My family always heard a rumour that we could be descended from Patrick Modhardha O’Donnelly but could never prove it.
    The furthest line I can trace back is to Patrick Donnelly, who appears on the 1831 Census for Desertlyn Parish and lived at 39 Dunronan townland.
    Patrick was my 3x great-grandfather and I still have no idea if his ancestors came from Tyrone or if, like in Tipperary they were a completely different sept with the same name.
    Can you provide any assistance please?


    Colin Donnelly


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