The O’Donnell Surname

This brief historical survey concerns the O’Donnell or Ó Domhnaill surname as associated with County Donegal. There are a number of other O’Donnell septs in Ireland, in Connacht, Clare and Cork in particular, who have no connection with the Donegal O’Donnells and their history is not included here. The O’Donnells descend from a segment of […]

Ancient Kildare

  My latest paper shows me with my political geographer hat on as distinct from my genealogy hat. The paper is called ‘Reconstructing the territorial framework for ecclesiastical and secular power structures: a case study of the kingdom of Uí Fáeláin’. This is basically a reconstruction of the political and spatial structures of the ancient […]

A new book on the Fitzgeralds

  A recent book launch in Trinity College, Dublin, saw a detailed set of studies into the Fitzgeralds published. This volume will be of great interest to students of genealogy as well as to family and more general history. Edited by Prof. Sean Duffy and Dr. Peter Crooks, and published by Four Courts Press, this […]

The O’Brien Clan

The O’Brien surname The ancestors of the O’Briens are first found in humble origins in the 6th century and slowly increase their power and status until becoming kings of Munster in the late 900s, in the person of Brian Boru or Bóroimhe, who is undoubtedly the most powerful Irish high king to rule before the […]

New records from the National Archives!

Last month the Irish National Archives released online several new record sources for Irish family history. I give details of these below. Firstly copies of pre-1858 wills and index references to others. Before 1858 the business of wills and probate was the responsibility of the Anglican (Episcopalian) state church in Ireland. While all original records […]

Genetic genealogy and surname studies

I recently featured in an Irish television programme called Creedon’s Epic East (see below for the link and above for a screen grab). This four part series sees Irish tv presenter John Creedon touring historical and cultural places in the east of Ireland and featuring interesting elements of history, archaeology and folklore. The underlying theme […]

Free genealogical online magazine

Wonderful free genealogy magazine online! Irish lives remembered has long been a staple of the Irish genealogy scene, created by Eileen Munnelly of Millennium Media and her team. This free genealogical e-zine has covered a broad swath of Irish genealogical and family history subjects, from sources to research methodology to local and national historical subjects. […]

Irish surnames and genetic genealogy

Attention all McCarthys, O’Connells, O’Sheas, O’Callaghans, O’Keeffes, O’Hegertys, McAuliffes and O’Sullivans In recent years the study of medieval genealogy has been revolutionised by the science of genetic genealogy. This is primarily based on studying the yDNA chromosome and the various rates of change or reproduction mistakes which occur over generations. The y chromosome is the […]

Irish Census Records Part 2

This is a continuation of material covered in an earlier post which may be accessed at The census of 1911. This census is basically the same as that of 1901 but with three additional questions. How many completed years has the present marriage lasted. Total of children born alive within that marriage. How many […]

The Dingle Timeline Project, Co. Kerry

The Dingle Timeline Project, County Kerry   One of the more interesting research projects I have been involved with in recent times is the Dingle History Timeline project. The Dingle Peninsula is the western-most part of Europe, as locals say, ‘the next parish to America’. It is one of the most beautiful and historic parts […]