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November 18, 2013

Irish Surnames Explained - What are the Top 10?

Irish Surnames Explained - What are the Top 10?
Do you or an ancestor have an Irish surname? Ever wondered what it means? Irish Central came up with a list of the 10 most common Irish surnames and published the list along with the  origins and meaning of the names. 

You can read about them at Irish surnames explained - the meaning behind the top ten clan names

My McGinnis surname didn't make the cut but luckily I know it means "son of Angus". And I know the origins. In fact none of my Irish ancestor names made the list and neither did hubs'. But it was still fun to read about those that did

Hubs has more Irish than I do - Kennedy, Jackson, Hogan, Moyahan (Minihan), Hayden, Massey, Montgomery, Graham, and Johnson

Mine are McGinnis, Downey, Johnson, and Greenlees

What are your Irish names?


Anonymous said...

I'm afraid most of those surnames you have named on this page aren't Irish, many are Scottish and some of the names that could be Irish could also be Scottish as they have dual origin, for example the name Kennedy. Do you not mean the Scotch-Irish, or as they're known in Britain and Ireland, the Ulster Scots?

Hamilton is a famous name for the fact they led the plantations in Ulster after being given the land by Conn O'Neill, a gift from him after he was sprung from his English captors, at Carrickfergus Castle by Hamilton and Montgomery's men.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Dear Anonymous - you've hit on THREE of my pet peeves - people who comment without using their real name AND people who give vague statements such as "..most of those surnames..." (without specifiying WHICH surnames) AND people who don't give sources for their statements.


But to answer your question, no I did not mean Scotch-Irish. If I had meant that I would have said that.

I meant Irish. These are our ancestors who were born in Ireland, and as such I refer to them as Irish.

Perhaps a surname is not considered an old Irish surname but since I'm not an expert I would not dare to guess!

YourIrishFamily said...

SCOTCH? Scotch is a drink, i.e. whiskey. The Kennedy name/clan originated in Ireland. The Scottish surnames, e.g. Stewart, Scott, MacDonald etc. in Ireland derive from 'plantation' families that usually settled in Ulster or northern counties. A full round-up of the 100 most popular surnames in Ireland is on our website under the section 'Genealogy Blog'.

Jill Ball said...

Excellent response to that well known expert, Anonymous.

I only have one Irish name - Ryan - in the top 10.

Anonymous said...

I too am searching "Moynahan"! And such an unusual spelling. Does your husband have a web page?

Colleen G. Brown Pasquale said...

None of my Irish surnames are on the Top 10 List. I have links to: Coyle, Butler, Brady & Mullane.

The comment by Anonymous was not helpful. Without specifics it has little value. Hope you get more friendly comments.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Jill thank you for my morning smile! I knew I could count on you to "get it"

Colleen - exactly! And I guess we shouldn't really expect our Irish names to be on the list but it was still fun to read.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

YourIrishFamily - thank you for pointing that out! I should have made it pet peeve #4 :-)

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Dear Anonymous - my husband's website is Ancestors At Rest at but you won't find his family tree there.

His Moyahan ancestor is Mary Moyahan aka Minihan born ca 1811 in Ireland married in Monsea Parish, Tipperary Ireland in 1835 to Michael Jackson.

She came to Ontario Canada in 1856 after Michael's death

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lorine....My Moynahans came to Canada in the 1830s and went to Essex county Ontario. It is such an unusual spelling .....I was hoping! I really enjoy your blog and I am so happy I subscribed so that I get your updates in my inbox. Thanks for doing this!

@FlabbergastedMa said...

My husband is an O'Neill - his father was born and raised in Belfast. So I'll show him the site later :)