by Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada (Kathleen M. O'Brien)
© 2000-2010 by Kathleen M. O'Brien. All rights reserved.
Version 2.2, updated 07 April 2010
The current version of this article contains the names of over 1600 women and over 3600 men and is intended as a representative sample of the data available. There are still many, many more names to extract. As I continue to extract and categorize names, I will periodically update this article with new data.
For the current draft of this article, my goal was to extract all women's names from specific documents. As I did so, I also processed names of men when (1) there were only a few men's names in that specific document or (2) I hit a masculine given name I had not previously recorded.
For each name I've extracted, I have visually checked it against the original document at least once.
Currently, the names are grouped under a typical spelling of the name and are sorted alphabetically by given name.
A later version of this article will include lists sorted by surnames. For readers looking for Anglicized Irish versions of specific Gaelic surnames, please see my article 16th & 17th Century Anglicized Irish Surnames from Woulfe.
I have also included a list of Sources I have used or plan to use for this article.
The term Anglicized Irish is generally used to refer to Irish Gaelic words rendered in a phonetic or pseudo-phonetic form in historical documents written by an English speaker.
In addition, Anglicized Irish is also used to describe the general language of documents that show Anglicized Irish words throughout. In addition to personal names and placenames which appear in Anglicized Irish forms in such documents, other Irish Gaelic terms also appear in Anglicized Irish forms rather than being translated into an (or assigned an) English equivalent.
Anglicized Irish spellings occur because an English-speaking scribe applied the spelling rules he was familiar with to the pronunciation of the Gaelic words (in many cases, names of people and locations) that he needed to record as part of the document he was creating. Since Gaelic and English have different pronunciation rules, the spellings of Anglicized Irish names normally differ fairly dramatically from their Gaelic counterparts.
Another factor that affects Anglicized Irish spellings is how familiar (or unfamiliar) the scribe was with the Gaelic language. As a result, Anglicized Irish spellings vary between scribes and often even within a single document written by one scribe. In many cases, variations in spellings seen in Anglicized Irish names are attempts to render into English, Gaelic sounds that do not have exact English equivalents. This lack of parallel sounds in the two languages explains why some spellings appear in Anglicized Irish forms that seem fairly odd to the modern eye. In some cases where the scribe was more familiar with Gaelic, the Anglicized Irish forms often show a more accurate representation of the Gaelic sound.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Anglicized Irish forms of a particular name would often vary quite a bit. Today, Anglicized Irish forms survive in English forms of Irish names that are familar to English speakers today, such as O'Brien, McClean, Keaveney, Kennedy, etc. Modernly, there are often fewer variant spellings in English for an Irish name than there were in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The modern reader should be aware that the patterns of spellings seen in English spellings of Irish names today do not necessarily match those seen in the 16th and 17th centuries. The pronunciation rules of English today differ in a number of ways from those seen in English in the Tudor, Elizabethan, and Stuart eras. And it is the English rules of that era that influenced Anglicized Irish forms from that period.
Additionally, "fanciful" spellings (especially for given names) are the fashion today. While 16th and 17th century Anglicized Irish spellings may appear fanciful to the modern reader, they in fact often follow normal English pronunciation of that era.
As a result of these factors, we need to leave most of our modern spelling preconceptions at the door when we examine the forms seen in this data and simply let the data illustrate what patterns do and do not exist within these examples.
The people who appear in these records come from several different cultures.
Many are of Gaelic descent, though it is impossible to tell for certain which spoke English as their primary (or only) language and which spoke Irish Gaelic as their primary (or only) language.
Others are descended from Anglo-Norman families who arrived in the late 12th century or soon thereafter. By the 16th century, these families had evolved into a culture that was not Gaelic but also was not English. Some of this phenomenon was due to simple cultural interaction that they had with both Irish Gaels and with the English. However, a good bit of the creation of the formation of this separate culture was due to intentional influence by England in many forms including, but not limited to, the Statutes of Kilkenny. That descendants of these families were viewed as "not English" by natives of England can be seen in Campion (c. 1571), pp. 5 - 8, which includes such colorful descriptions as:
Members of these families routinely appear in both Gaelic records and Anglicized Irish records, though their names in each case are (of course) spelled according to the language of the records in which their name is recorded.
In addition to Gaels and people of Anglo-Norman descent, I have also found a significant number of Englishmen mentioned in the Anglicized Irish documents I am working with, as well as a handful of non-English foreigners.
Whenever possible, I am noting the cultural background of an individual, but that is not possible in all cases. For example, a man named William Butler could either be a person of Anglo-Norman descent or an Englishman. If the particular record does not give context for his background or family, it is impossible to tell solely from that record whether he is English or from a family in Ireland of Anglo-Norman descent.
Note: I accidently omitted the cultural tags when I prepared the names pages for the current version of this article. I will included them when I do the next update. When I discovered my error, I went through and make sure that all of the people currently included are Gaels, members of families of Anglo-Norman descent, or English.
The cultural background of an individual in these records dramatically affects their name.
By the 16th century, given names introduced by the Anglo-Normans in the 12th and 13th centuries had commonly been adopted into the Gaelic naming pool. However, the reverse is not the case. In the early years after the Anglo-Norman invasion, a few Anglo-Norman families developed family name forms in Gaelic that followed Gaelic family name construction patterns. A couple of specific examples are Mac Uilliam, indicating descendants of William de Burgo (William Burke), and Mac Siúrtáin, indicating descendants of Jordan de Exeter.
Additionally, the dramatic changes in given names seen in England during the mid and late 16th century do not seem to have migrated to use in Ireland by either Anglo-Norman families or Gaelic families before 1600 based on the names found in these records.
All of these conclusions are based on the data I've pulled so far and will be refined as I continue extracting names from records.
Men of Anglo-Norman Families [Anglo-Norman or English Masculine Given Name] [Anglo-Norman Family Name] Rowland Bourke 1598 Men of Gaelic Families [Masculine Given Name] [Family Name] Conchor O Conelan 1599 Tirlogh O'Neale 1639 Connell M'Owen 1599 [Masculine Given Name] [Patronymic Byname Using Father's Given Name] [Family Name] Arte m'Phelim O Toole 1600 Gilduff m'James O'Kenedy 1550 Cormack m'Teige M'Carthie 1597-8 Fardorrough m'Emon M'Shehey 1597-8 Connoghor m'Mahowny I Cormack [*] 1597-8 Connor m'Owen I Keiffe [*] 1597-8 * Note: in these entries, I represents the sound of Gaelic Uí - a genitive form of Ó used in a multi-generational byname. [Masculine Given Name] [Patronymic Byname Using Father's Given Name] Terlagh m'Conor 1602 Garret mac Ferdoragh 1628 [Masculine Given Name] [Descriptive Byname] Cormack reagh 1602 Women of Anglo-Norman Families [Anglo-Norman or English Feminine Given Name] [Anglo-Norman Family Name] Alice Eustace 1545 [Anglo-Norman or English Feminine Given Name] fitz [Anglo-Norman or English Father's Given Name] [Anglo-Norman Family Name] Joan fitz Edm. Barret 1600 Katherine fitz Wm. Butler 1585 [Anglo-Norman or English Feminine Given Name] [Anglo-Norman Family Name] fitz [Anglo-Norman or English Father's Given Name] Joan Barret fitz Rickerd 1600 Katherine Cantwell fitz Geoffrey 1583-4 Women of Gaelic Families [Feminine Given Name] [Family Name] Rose O'Scalle 1549 Mora Enekarwell [*] 1541 * Note: in this entry, Ene- represents the sound of the Gaelic inghean Uí in the Gaelic form of her byname: inghean Uí Chearbhaill - indicating that she's a daughter of the Ó Cearbhaill family. [Feminine Given Name] [Patronymic Byname Using Father's Given Name] [Family Name] Honory ny Dermody O Collaine 1601 Onor nyne Donnoghoe O Carroll 1601 Uny ny Donell M'Gilpatrick 1601 Sheife inyne Art Kevanaghe 1587 Shillie nie Fynine I Donoghowe [**] 1585 Seywe fitz Teige Conoghor [***] 1584-5 ** Note: in this entry, I represents the sound of Gaelic Uí - a genitive form of Ó used in a multi-generational byname. *** Note: in this entry, the particle Mac or Ó is not represented in the Anglicized Irish version of this byname. [Feminine Given Name] [Patronymic Byname Using Father's Given Name] Moire nyn Dermott 1601 More ny Kedagh 1601 Examples of Married Women's Names - Both With and Without Married Names NOTE: examples in this section include reference information that is not formally part of the name. I have included the information here to show husband's names. In many cases, a listing of a woman's name does not include a reference to a husband so it is not possible to know which of these categories fits that listing. [Name follows one of the patterns above - does not show reference to husband's name.] Owny nyne Tirlagh [noted as being the wife of Peter Sweeteman] 1601 Rose O Birne, of Ballinecorre, co. Dublin, gentlewoman, alias Rose nyne Yaghe O Toole, wife of Feagh m'Hugh O Birne [****] 1597-8 **** Note: in this entry, two forms of this woman's name are listed - one form (Rose O Birne) includes a reference to her husband's family name and one form (Rose nyne Yaghe O Toole) does not. [Feminine Given Name] [Wife's Family Name] alias [form of Husband's Family Name] Gyles Dempsy alias M'Geoghegan, widow of Ross M'Geoghegan 1583 Mary Trafford alias Brande, widow of Henry Brande 1583 Cecily Fagan alias Darcy, wife of the late George Darcy 1600 [Feminine Given Name] [form of Husband's Family Name] alias [Wife's Family Name] Margaret Dongan alias Foster, widow of John Dongan 1597 Dorcas Cosbye alias Sydney, widow of Alexander Cosbye 1596 Anne Colly alias Loftus, widow of Henry Colly 1601 [Feminine Given Name] [Husband's Family Name] Rose O Birne, of Ballinecorre, co. Dublin, gentlewoman, alias Rose nyne Yaghe O Toole, wife of Feagh m'Hugh O Birne [****] 1597-8 **** Note: in this entry, two forms of this woman's name are listed - one form (Rose O Birne) includes a reference to her husband's family name and one form (Rose nyne Yaghe O Toole) does not.
In the case of names of Gaels that appear in Anglicized Irish records, Gaelic given names were sometimes represented using English equivalents rather than an English phonetic rendering of the Gaelic name.
In many cases, the Gaelic name was assigned an English equivalent that is totally unrelated to the Gaelic name. One example of this pattern is the Gaelic Aodh which sometimes rendered using the English equivalent Hugh, rather than a phonetic rendering such as Ea, which also appears in these records.
In some cases where the Gaelic form of the name was originally a borrowing of an English or Anglo-Norman French name, the root of the Gaelic form may have been recognizable to the scribe since it was assigned an English equivalent that derives from the same root. An example of this pattern is the Gaelic Eoin which is sometimes rendered as John, rather than a phonetic rendering such as Owen, which also appears in these records.
In addition to lists of full names, I have also provided lists of equivalents which are noted in these records.
Given Name Equivalents
- Women's Names (sorted alphabetically and grouped by given name)
- Men's Names (sorted alphabetically and grouped by given name)
Medieval Scotland | Medieval Names Archive | Names Found in Anglicized Irish Documents
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