Known "Irish Emigration" To America - How And When They Emigrated
Counties of Known "Irish Emigration" To America - Counties of Ireland With Highest Emigration
This is a list of many of the most common Irish surnames found in the United States and also their root derivations. Like most Western names, many of these are based upon an ancestor's occupation or appearance or place of residence. The prefixes of "O'", "Mc", and "Mac" are common in Irish surnames. These are all references to ancestry. Mac is the Gaelic word for son. It is now often abbreviated to "Mc", but originally it was the longer word and normally followed by a space and then the surname. There is a tradition that Mac is Irish and Mc is Scottish, but this is false. Both variations are in wide use in both countries. O is really a word all by itself, it means "grandson". Only in recent years has it been attached to the surname with an apostrophe. In ancient Ireland, there were no fixed surnames. A man was known as the the "son of" his father's first name. Occaisionally a man would be known by his grandfather's name (by the word O) if his grandfather was especially noteworthy. Around the twelfth century, most all of Europe and England adopted standardized surnames. Irish families did the same. The other distinctively Irish prefix is Fitz, as in Fitzgerald or FitzAlan. This is a Norman French prefix, brought to Ireland by the Normans who previously had lived in England. It is derived from the French word fils, meaning "son of". Therefore, Fitz and Mac mean about the same and were interchangeable at one time. It is now common for the O and Mac prefixes to be eliminated entirely. The original Celtic words are listed in parentheses. Barry - from the Norman French surname de Barri Brennan - O Braonain, descendant of Braonain (a word for "sorrow") Burke - from the Norman French surname de Burgh or de Bourg Byrne - O Broin, descendant of Broin (bran means "raven") Casey - O Cathasaigh, descendant of Cathasaigh (cathasach means "watchful") Daly - O Dalaigh, descendant of Dalaigh (dalach means "assemblyman") Donohue - O Donnchadha, descendant of Donnchadha (donn means "brown haired") Dunne - O Duinne, a descendant of Duinn (donn means "brown" or "brown haired" Fitzgerald - son of Gerald (a Norman French name) Fitzpatrick - This name was originally Mac Giolla Padraig, meaning a descendant of a devotee of St. Patrick. In later years the Mac prefix was changed to the Norman "Fitz". Flynn - O Floinn, descendant of Floinn (flann, meaning "ruddy") Kelly - O Ceallaigh, descendant of Ceallaigh (ceallach is the word for "strife" Kennedy - O Cinneide, descendant of Cinneide (ceann means "head", eidigh means "ugly") Lynch - from the Norman French surname de Lench McCarthy - Mac Carthaigh, descendant of Carthaigh (carthach means "loving") Murphy - O Murchadha, descendant of a murchadh (sea warrior) O'Brien - O Briain, descendant of Briain (Brian Boru) O'Connor - O Conchobhair, descendant of Conchobhair O'Donnell - O Domhnaill, descendant of Domhnaill O'Neill - O Neill, descendant of Neill ("Neill of the Nine Hostages") Quinn - O Cuinn, descendant of Conn Regan - O Riagain, descendant of Riagain Reilly - O Ragailligh, descendant of Ragaillach Ryan - O Malvilriain, descendant of Mavilriain (a name not identifiable) Sullivan - O Suileabhain, descendant of Suileabhain (suil means "eye" and Levan is a Celtic deity. Therefore, this is the "eye of the god") Walsh - a person of Welsh origin
Many times it is interesting to study the history of a country or region in order to understand why an ancestor emigrated or even to find where his ancestors may have originated from. This file is a "timeline" or brief historical outline of Irish History. It may help you understand why your Irish ancestor left Ireland looking for better opportunities in the New World and also give hints as to where to find records of genealogy interest. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 6,000 B.C. The first human settlements in Ireland, an island lying on the western fringe of Europe, were made relatively late in European prehistory, around 6000 BC. These were mostly Celtic people called Pretani or Cruithin. The arrived from Britain and settled mostly in east Ulster. The Loiges, another branch of the Cruitin, live in the midlands. 600-150 B.C. Sometime between about 600 and 150 BC, other Celtic peoples from western Europe, who came to be known as GAELS, invaded Ireland and subdued the previous inhabitants. They spread from Antrim to Kerry. Erainn from Britain also settled in the south of Ireland and later conquered the rest of Ireland. The basic units of Gaelic society were the tuatha, or petty kingdoms, of which perhaps 150 existed in Ireland. The tuatha remained independent of one another, but they shared a common language, Gaelic, and a class of men called brehons, who were learned in customary law and helped to preserve throughout Ireland a remarkably uniform but archaic social system. One reason for the unique nature of Irish society was that the Romans, who transformed the Celtic societies of Britain and other societies on the Continent with their armies, roads, administrative system, and towns, never tried to conquer Ireland. 250 B.C. Laigin from Armorica in northwestern France arrived in southeast Ireland. 50 A.D. Gaeil or Goidets migrate from Europe to the Kenmare River in south Kerry and the Boyne estuary near Drogheda. 450 A.D. Another consequence of Ireland's isolation from Romanized Europe was the development of a distinctive Celtic type of Christianity. Saint Patrick introduced mainstream Latin Christianity into the country around the year 432 arriving at Tara in Meath. The system of bishops with territorial dioceses, modeled on the Roman Empire's administrative system, did not take secure root in Ireland at this time. While the autonomous tuath remained the basic unit of Gaelic secular society, the autonomous monastery became the basic unit of Celtic Christianity. During the 6th and 7th centuries the Irish monasteries were great centers of learning, sending out such missionaries as saints Columba and Columban to the rest of Europe. What was for most of Europe the Dark Ages was for Ireland the golden age. Religious art, such as the Ardagh Chalice and the Book of Kells and other illuminated manuscripts, flourished alongside secular, even pagan, artistic achievements, such as the Tara Brooch and the great Irish epic Tain Bo Cuailgne (The Cattle Raid of Cooley). before 600 A.D. St. Brendan of Kerry is said to have sailed to North America (not proven). 795 Vikings land near St. Columcille's monastery on Lambay Island. 800-850 Norwegian Vikings plunder many Irish monasteries. In 845, Thorgils, king of the Norsemen in Ireland, is captured and killed by Maelseachlainn, king of Meath. 853 Danish fleet defeats the Norwegians and takes possession of Dublin.
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1014 Irish defeat Norwegian and Danish forces at Clontarf. 1066 William the Conqueror becomes King of England. 1169 First Norman settlers arrive in County Wicklow, accompanied by 300 soldiers from southern Wales. 1169 Invaders are repulsed by the Danes of Waterford. 1492 Christopher Columbus sails to the New World, William Eris (or Ayers), a man from Galway, is reportedly amongst the crew. He is said to be one of the forty volunteers left behind in Hispaniola and apparently killed by Indians after Columbus' departure. 1550s British Queen Mary encourages English setllements in Ireland. 1598 An Irish rebellion against the English began. Promised Spanish help did not arrive until 1601, too late to help. 1600 The most determined resistance to reconquest came from the Gaelic chieftains of Ulster (the northeastern quarter of the island), led by Hugh O'Neill, 2d earl of Tyrone, at the end of Elizabeth's reign. In suppressing their rebellion between 1595 and 1603, English forces devastated the Ulster countryside. Once these chieftains had submitted, however, King James I of England was willing to let them live on their ancestral lands as English-style nobles, but not as petty kings within the old Gaelic social system. Dissatisfied with their new roles, the chieftains took ship to the Continent in 1607. This "flight of the earls" gave the English crown a pretext to confiscate their vast lands and sponsor scattered settlements of British Protestants throughout west and central Ulster (the Ulster Plantation). The crown's actions indirectly encouraged the much heavier unsponsored migration of Scots to the coastal counties of Down and Antrim. Land was sold to Scottish immigrants for six pence per acre. These settlements account for the existence in present-day Ulster of numerous Protestants (many of them Scottish Presbyterians) of all social classes. Elsewhere in modern Ireland, Protestantism has been confined to a small propertied elite, many of whose members were the beneficiaries of further confiscations a generation after the Ulster Plantation. 1641 The pretext for these new confiscations was the rebellion of the Gaelic Irish in Ulster against the British settlers in 1641. Indeed, this rebellion triggered the English Civil War, which put an end to King Charles I's attempt to create an absolutist state (represented in Ireland by the policies of his lord deputy, Thomas Wentworth, 1st earl of Strafford). 1644 Daniel Gookin (1612-1687), son of an early Irish settler in Virginia, moves to Massachusetts and eventually becomes a member of the Governor's Council, major general of the militia, and superintendent of Indian affairs. 1649 Oliver Cromwell quickly imposed English authority on Ireland. Cromwell repaid his soldiers and investors in the war effort with land confiscated largely from the Anglo-Irish Catholics of the Irish midlands who had joined the rebellion hesitantly and only to defend themselves against Puritan policies. 1652 A list of inhabitants of most of the southern part of County Dublin is assembled. 1652 Thousands of Irish men and women were involuntarily "transported" as laborers to the West Indies by Cromwell's forces. Many of these people and their descendents later moved to the United States. 1654-1656 A civil survey is recorded of major landholders. 1659 A census was made of all major landowners. 1663-1666 Hearth money rolls registered for property owners. 1677 Charles McCarthy from Cork leads a party of 48 Irish immigrants in founding a colony at East Greenwich, Rhode Island. 1678 About 100 Irish families sail from Barbados to Virginia and the Carolinas. 1685-1705 Many French Huguenots seek asylum in Ireland. 1691 Treaty of Limerick penalizes public worship for Catholics and Presbyterians.
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1700-1720 Ulster lands were confiscated from Irish owners and offered to British and Scottish immigrants. 1702 Partial lists of male householders for Kilkenney enumerated separately by religious denomination and parish. 1708 Registry of Deeds established. 1709 Over 6,500 Palatines leave war-torn German countries and settle in Ireland. 1710 200 Palatine families leave Ireland for Britain. 1720 Noting that some 2,600 Irishmen had arrived in Boston during the past three years, the governor of Massachusetts complained of the "public burden" imposed by the coming of "so many poor people from abroad, especially those that come from Ireland". The General Court of Massachusetts warned immigrants from Ireland to leave the colony within seven months. 1721-1742 Over 3,000 immigrants arrive in 21 years in the U.S. from Ulster alone. 1737 The Charitable Irish Society was formed on St. Patrick's Day in Boston by 26 Irish immigrants "to aid unfortunate countrymen, to cultivate a spirit of unity and harmony among all Irishmen in Massachusetts colony and their descendants, and to advance their interests socially and morally." This is now the oldest Irish society in the U.S. 1740 Protestant householders in counties Antrim, Armagh, Donegal, Londonderry and Tyrone are listed. 1749 A census of most of County Roscommon, part of County Sligo, and nine parishes of County Galway is taken. 1750 Catholic inhabitants of County Tipperary were taxed. 1757 Military oaths of allegiance are registered. 1766 Rectors of the Church of Ireland record householders by parish, indicating religion and other details. The only records still surviving today are for North Cork and the counties of Limerick, Londonderry, Louth, Tipperary and Wicklow. 1772-1777 A decline in the linen trade and exorbitant rents spurred a new wave of emigration from the north of Ireland. Some 30,000 Ulstermen sailed for America in a five-year span. 1776 Men of Irish birth or descent formed netween one-third to one-half of the American Revolutionary forces, including 1,492 officers and 26 generals. 1790 The first census of the United States records 44,000 Irish-born residents, more than half of whom lived south of Pennsylvania. Historians consider this figure to be lower than reality. 1791 James Hoban, a native of Kilkenny, designs the White House, modelled upon Leinster House in Dublin. 1798 A revolutionary uprising by the Society of United Irishmen was destroyed by the British, many of the Society's members emigrate to the United States.
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1801 The Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland abolished the Irish legislature and created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. 1802-1803 A census of Protestant parishoners was made, records of 28 parishes still survive. 1820-1830 50,000 Irish immigrants enter the United States. 1821 A general population census is taken (most of which was destroyed by fire in 1922). 1824-1838 Tithe applotments (or tax lists) are compiled. 1829 The Emancipation Act lifts penalties for Catholics and Presbyterians. 1830-1840 237,000 Irish immigrants enter the United States. 1837 Vital registration begins. 1838 Poor Relief for Ireland enacted. 1840-1850 The Great Famine strikes, more than 1,000,000 Irish men and women emigrate. 1840-1850 800,000 Irish immigrants enter the United States. 1846 All of Ireland is mapped for the first time, many county boundaries finally defined. 1848-1864 A householder list is compiled of every householder and land owner/renter. 1850 Tenant-Right League founded, it's goals were: fair rent, fixity of tenure and free sale. 1851 Government census taken, most of which was destroyed in a fire in 1922. 1852 Tenement Act provides for a uniform evaluation of property for tax purposes. 1858 Probate Act changes jurisdiction from the Church of Ireland to the newly-established Court of Probate. 1861 & 1871 Censuses were taken and then destroyed by order of the government. 1868 Irish Reform Bill passes British Parliament, allows a million more men the right to vote. 1869 Disestablishment Act deprives the Irish Church of property and authority. 1870 Irish Land Act provides protection for tenants. 1898 The administrative counties are formed.
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1901 A government census was taken, this one survives today. 1911 Second surviving census. 1916 Great Easter Rebellion suppressed by the British. 1917 Irish Republic adopts a constitution. 1921 Irish Free State becomes an independent member of the British Commonwealth. 1922 Public Record Office and Four Courts fire destroys many irreplaceable records. 1948 Republic of Ireland Act establishes a free country independent of Britain.
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These figures do not include Irishmen entering the United States from Great Britain who were normally counted as "British", nor does it count those who entered (legally or illegally) via Canada. Year Immigration ---- ----------- 1820 3,614 1821 1,518 1822 2,267 1823 1,908 1824 2,345 1825 4,826 1826 4,821 1827 9,772 1828 7,861 1829 9,995 1830 12,765 1831 13,598 1832 15,092 1833 14,177 1834 16,928 1835 13,307 1836 15,000 1837 22,089 1838 8,149 1839 20,790 1840 25,957 1841 36,428 1842 49,920 1843 23,597 1844 37,569 1845 50,207 1846 68,023 1847 118,120 1848 151,003 1849 180,189 1850 184,351 1851 219,232 1852 195,801 1853 156,970 1854 11,095 1855 57,164 1856 58,777 1857 66,080 1858 31,498 1859 41,180 1860 52,103 1861 28,209 1862 33,521 1863 94,477 1864 94,368 1865 82,085 1866 86,594 1867 79,571 1868 57,662 1869 66,467 1870 67,891 1871 65,591 1872 66,752 1873 75,536 1874 48,136 1875 31,433 1876 16,432 1877 13,991 1878 18,602 1879 30,058 1880 83,018 1881 67,339 1882 68,300 1883 82,849 1884 59,204 1885 50,657 1886 52,858 1887 69,084 1888 66,306 1889 60,502 1890 52,110 1891 53,438 1892 48,966 1893 42,122 1894 39,597 1895 52,027 1896 39,952 1897 32,822 1898 30,878 1899 38,631 1900 41,848 1901 35,535 1902 29,138 1903 35,310 1904 36,142 1905 52,945 1906 34,995 1907 34,530 1908 30,556 1909 25,033 1910 29,855 1911 29,112 1912 25,879 1913 27,876 1914 24,688 1915 14,185 1916 8,639 1917 5,406 1918 331 1919 474 1920 9,591 1921 28,435 1922 10,579 1923 15,740 1924 17,111 1925 26,650 1926 24,897 1927 28,545 1928 25,268 1929 19,921 1930 23,445 1931 7,305 1932 539 1933 338 1934 443 1935 454 1936 444 1937 531 1938 1,085 1939 1,189 1940 839 1941 272 1942 83 1943 165 1944 112 1945 427 1946 1,816 1947 2,574 1948 7,534 1949 8,678 1950 5,842 1951 3,144 1952 3,526 1953 4,304 1954 4,655 1955 5,222 1956 5,607 1957 8,227 1958 9,134 1959 6,595 1960 6,918 1961 5,738 1962 5,118 1963 5,000 1964 5,200 1965 5,463 1966 4,700 1967 1,901 1968 2,268 1969 1,989 1970 1,562 From 1971 through 1980 a total of 11,600 Irish immigrants arrived in the U.S.
Counties of Irish Emigration
Where did they come from? During the period 1856 through 1910, the following ten counties in Ireland had the highest rate of emigration: 1. Kerry 2. Cork 3. Clare 4. Longford 5. Leitrim 6. Galway 7. Limerick 8. Mayo 9. Tipperary 10. Cavan The county of Dublin has had the lowest rate of emigration. The Irish constituted 42.3% of all immigrants from 1820 through 1850 and 35.2% of all immigrants between 1851 and 1860. Thereafter the percentage delined continuously: 1861-1870 18.8% 1871-1880 15.5% 1881-1890 12.5% 1891-1900 10.6% 1971-1980 0.3%Back to top of page
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