[ANSTHRLD] Question

Kathleen O'Brien kobrien at texas.net
Tue Mar 7 21:54:30 PST 2006

Am digging through my email and haven't seen an answer to this yet, so...

At 06:11 PM 3/5/2006 -0600, you wrote:
>I know that Irish feminine have to have "inghean" to denote "daughter of'
>within the name, but while helping a client do some research on Irish names,
>I came across a reference in The rRed Book of Ormond: Name Patterns located
>that would indicate that there were at least two instances of women who had
>an English or Irish given name and used the patronym of "O" or "Mc".
>Admittedly one of the names listed was a bit more complex in that after the
>given name it also used the word "vidua" meaning widow.
>Should this just be considered an anomaly?

[NOTE: throughout the explanation below, I use / to indicate an acute
accent on the preceding letter.]

No, it's not an anomaly at all.  What you're seeing is that Ireland was a
country where the records were written in different languages depending on
the time, location, and type of record.  How a person's name was rendered
(including construction format) varied by language.

<inghean> is Gaelic.

In the introduction to Tangwystyl's article "Fourteenth to Sixteenth
Century Irish Names and Naming Practices" (which links to the Ormond
section), it identifies the Ormond records as:

	The Red Book of Ormond is a 14th century manuscript 
	(with some portions supplied from a 15th century transcript) 
	of legal records pertaining to the Ormond family in Ireland. 
	It was written in Latin by an English speaker. 

On the page you cite, it says:

<begin quote>

Women's names containing Irish elements fall into three groups: 


or an Irish or English given name followed by an Irish patronym. One of the
last is "complex" in that it has the designation vidua after the patronym. 
             Slany Enynimolan (i.e., inghean ui/ Mhaola/in)
             Elyn McGalman
             Emin O Karwill vidua

<end quote>

In these examples, the given names are English spellings appearing in a
Latin document that are phonetic renderings of Gaelic names.

Does your head hurt yet?  I think I clutched my head in pain the first time
I absorbed this mess...

This type of rendering is even more evident because the letter 'y' does not
exist in Gaelic (or Latin either, I think, but my brain is only half
working at the moment).

There's actually an Academy of Saint Gabriel letter where we went into
detail on forms of an Irish woman's name in different languages.  Let me
see if I can find it...

Got it!  It's report 2812 - which can be found at:


In basic summary, the same woman would have very different formats of her
name appear depending on what language the record is written in.  

Note: in a lot of name discussions, the term "Anglicized Irish" is used to
refer to a form of English where the spelling conventions work to preserve
the sound of Irish words & names.  For the purposes of this discussion,
I've lumped English & Anglicized Irish together below.

I've specifically chosen names for the examples below where I've got
examples of most of the elements in each language.

Let's look at a hypothetical woman whose given name is Siobha/n:
	Gaelic:		Siobha/n
	Latin:			Johanna
	English:		Joan
	Anglicized Irish:	Joan

Say her father was named Se/an:
	Gaelic: 		Se/an
	Latin:			Johannes
	English:		John
	Anglicized Irish:	Shane

And his family name was Mac Uilliam:
	Gaelic:		Mac Uilliam
	Latin:			McWilliam *
	Anglicized Irish:	McWilliam

[Latin form taken from "Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century Irish Names and
Naming Practices", the FitzWilliam section]

* Note: by the 16th C, many Latin records did not translate inherited
surnames from English into Latin - seeing McWilliam (the same spelling as
English) here follows this pattern.

Putting this all together, the same woman could be referenced as:

	in a Gaelic document:
		Siobha/n inghean Se/ain
		Siobha/n inghean Mhic Uilliam
		Siobha/n inghean Se/ain Mhic Uilliam

	in a Latin document:	
		Johanna filia Johanni
		Johanna filia Johanni McWilliam
		Johanna McWilliam

	in an Anglicized Irish document:
		Joan McWilliam
		Joan William
		Joan ny Shane
		Joan nyn Shane
		Joan ny Shane McWilliam
		Joan nyn Shane McWilliam

I'm not totally sure what form her name would take in a fully English
document (with no preservation of an Irish form), probably something like
Joan Williams.

Please let me know if you've got any questions or if I wasn't clear on any
of this.


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