British Isles DNA by County

Irish Surnames 

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Irish Surnames

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Content by
Linda Jonas 2006

Your Ancestor's Surname

The surname (last name) recorded on American records was written and spelled by American clerks who may not have understood your ancestor's pronunciation of his name. In Ireland, the surname may be recorded quite differently. For example, the surname Thompson may be recorded in Ireland as MacComb (meaning son of Thomas). The best source for locating the origin and meaning of surnames, surname variants, surname distribution maps, and more is John Gresham's Irish Surnames. This massive work is on compact disc. There are also has a good number of books that can help you find more information on Irish surnames and given names (first names). See especially

MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families: Their Names, Arms and Origins

MacLysaght, Edward, More Irish Families

MacLysaght, Edwad, The Surnames of Ireland


Finding others who are researching your family

British Isles Genealogical Register (BIG R) is a list of researchers from all over the world who sent in their surnames for inclusion. The register lists the surnames being researched including the place[s] and time periods. When you located your ancestor's surname, you can obtain the name and address of the person researching your family. This register was compiled in 1994 and 1997 and put on microfiche.  The 2000 version of the BIG R is on compact disc.
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Project Administrators:  Roy Keys and Linda Jonas