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BETTELOU - This name is comprized of the oet forms of two different names. Betty is the oet form of Elizabeth. In Irish, it is spelt Beiti and pronounced as in English. Elizabeth, th source name, is from the Hebrew Elisceba, which is comprized of the elements el, 'God' and sceba, 'oath' thus meaning 'God hath sworn'. In Irish, Elizabeth is either Ailis (pronounved 'Ay-LEESH') or Ellis (pronounced 'Eye'LEESH'). Lou is the pet name form of Louise which is the feminine form of the make name Louis. In Irish, it is Laoise (pronounced 'LEE-sha').

CHARLES - Charles is originally a Germanic name meaning "free man". The name originally owned its popularity in Europe to the Frankish leader Charlemagne (742-814 a.d.) who established himself as Holy Roman Emperor. Charlemagne is from the Latin Carolus Magnus meaning "Charles the Great". Charles was called his son and eventual heir Charles. In the Irish-English dialect it is sometimes pronounced with two syllables, i.e. "CHAR-luss". It has also been used as a substitute for old Irish Gaelic names such as Cathal (pron."CAW-hul"; this is in Munster and Connacht). Calbhach (pron. "CAWL-vakh"; this is in Leinster ans Connacht), Cathaoir (pro. "CAW-heer"; this is in Leinster and some parts of Munster), Cearbhall (pron. "CAR-rul" or "CAR-vil"; some parts of Munster), Cormac (Munster and the northern counties of Louth, Armagh, Monaghan and Fermanagh), Somhairie (pro. "SORE-lee"; in County Antrim) and Toirdealbhach (pro. "TEER-lock"; in County Donegal.

DENNIS - Dennis is the usual spelling in the U.S. and in England. In Ireland, it is usually spelled Denis. This name is from the Greek God Dionysos. However, this has been used in Ireland to replace the ancient Irish name of Donncha. This is from the ancient Celt donno-catu-s, 'brown or strong warrior'. It can be spelled in Irish as Donnchadha, Donnchadh, Donncha, all of which are pronounced 'Dun-uh-kuh'. An aside is that St. Denis is the patron saint of France, a country which also spells Dennis with one -n-.

GILBERT - This name in Irish is 'Gilbeart' and indicates 'son of Gilbert'. This is a Norman personal name of Teutonic origin meaning 'hostage-bright'. The name 'Gilbert' has long been prominent in the eastern province of Leinster. Gilbertstown is now found as a place-name in five counties. The ones in Co. Louth and Co. Westmeath have been in existence since the 16th century.

GLADYS - Gladys is a Welsh name spelled either Gwladus or Gwladys and pronounced the same as in English. It;s origin is somewhat uncertain. It could be the feminine form of the Welsh word Gwledig, 'ruler'. Usually it is explained as a form of Claudia, which is Latin for 'lame one'. It was introduced into Ireland from England in about the 16th century.

HAROLD - Harold is an old German name hariwald, 'army power' which gave birth to the Norse Haraldr. Its Gaelic form is Aralt or Arailt (pronounced 'EHR-alt'). It was introduced into Ireland by the Norsemen who used the spelling Harald. Earail was the Gaelic form used by the first Bishop of Argyll and the Isles around 1200 a.d.

HOWARD - Howard is an English name and is the transferred use of the surname of an English noble family. The early spelling was Haward and is probably from a Scandinavian personal name composed of the elements ha, 'high' and ward, 'guardian'.

HUGH - Hugh is the anglicisation of one of the most ancient Celtic names aidu-s, 'fire'. The Old Gaelic form is Aed (pronounced 'ay' as in 'pay'). In the modern Gaelic dialects, the form Aodh (pronounced 'ay' also) is used in Irish Scots Gaelic and Manx Gaelic. The anglicised form Hugh is Germanic in origin and is from a root word meaning 'heart, mind'. Aed was said to have been the most frequent personal name in early Ireland and was a favorite among the O Connors of Connacht and the O Neills and O Donnells of Ulster. Several high kings of Ireland and a king of the Scots, a son of Kenneth MacAlpin bore it. In addition, two kings of early Dal Riada (a Gaelic kingdom founded by the Irish tribe of Scoti which was in County Antrim and joined with portions of Western Scotland) who died in 777 a.d. and 839 a.d. also bore it. Two of the most famous Irish rebels who raised an insurrection in the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 were Aodh (Hugh) O Neill and Aodh Rua (Red Hugh) O Donnell.

JAMES - This name is of dual origin in Ireland. As an English name borne by a few fairly recent immigrants, it is found mainly in north-east Ulster. James is an anglicised version of the Late Latin name lacormus. This in turn is a variant of lacobus, a Latin form of the Old Testament Hebrew name Yaakov, which has been anglicised Jacob. In Ireland as well as in any English-speaking country we treat James and Jacob as two different names although they share a common origin. (In French the single name Jacques acts as both). That being said, James was a name brought to Ireland by the Anglo-Norman settlers. It is in honor of St. James the Greater (the apostle) that the name is used in Ireland. The Gaelic form is Seamas or Seamus, both of which are pronounced 'SHAY-mus'. One of the Gaelic slang terms for 'fox' is Seamus Rue (SHAY-mus ROO-uh or Red Seamus). It is also an abbreviation of MacJames (Mac Seamuis pronounced 'mahl SHAY-mish') and Fitzjames (whose Irish form is the same as the previous). These were first formed from the Christian name of some members of one of the larger septs or more often Norman families.In Scotland James has strong royal associations with 7 kings of that name.

JAY - JAYis an English pet form of any of the given names beginning with the letter J. However, it is now also used as an independent name in its own right. If Jay O Connor is based on another name such as Jason or James, then upon he letting me know if such is the case, I will expand it further next month.

JOAN -Joan is an English name which has been contracted for the Old French Johanne. In Gaelic it is Siobhan (pronounced 'shi-VAWN'). In England, Joan was the usual feminine form of John from the Middle English period onwards. In the 16th and 17th centuries it was largely superseded by Jane. Joan has always retained its popularity in Ireland and Scotland. For the rest of the English-speaking world, Joan was strongly revived in the first part of the 20th century, partly under the influence of George Bernard Shaw's play St Joan (1923) which was based on the life of the French heroine Joan of Arc (1412-31).

JOHN - John is from the Hebrew name Jochanan, 'God has favored'. The oldest Gaelic form is Eoin (pronounced 'OWuN') which was derived from the Latin form Johannes (pronounced 'you-HAN-us'). This is also the origin of the Scots Gaelic name lain (pronounced 'EE-um'). However the most popular Irish Gaelic form is Sean (pronounced 'SHAWN'). This was adopted as a gaelicised form of the imported Norman name Jehan (pronounced 'zhuh-HAWN'). Sean has become in time one of the most popular men's name in Ireland. The early medieval Irish philisopher, Johannes Scotos Eriugena, may have borne Eoin as his original Irish name before it was latinised.

KATHLEEN - This is the anglicized form of the Irish Gaelic name 'Caitlin' (pronounced KAWT-leen). 'Kathleen' is considered a form of 'Catherine' which may be based on the Greek word katharos, 'pure'. The Spanish form of Catherine was 'Catalina' and the Old French form was 'Cateline' from whence came the Irish Cathleen or Kathleen.

LE NORA - This is the Gaelic short form of 'Eleanor' which, in Irish is 'Eileanora'. Hence 'Le Nora'! Eleanor is from the Provencal form of the name Helen, i.e. 'Alienor'. This name became popular in Borman times due to Queen Eleanor, wife of Edward 1. The Normans brought it to Ireland. The meaning of 'Helen' is of somewhat uncertain origin, but may be connected with an element meaning 'ray, beam of the sun' as in the Greek word helios, 'sun'.

LILLY - Lilly is taken from the American spelling Lillian, in England the usual form is Lilian, Lilian was first recorded in the late 16th century and probably derived from a nursery form of Elizabeth, i.e, lilibet. The Irish form is Lile which is pronounced "LEE-luh Some derive Lillian from the Latin word lilium which means the flower "lily" and is a Christian symbol of purity. According to legend, the lily sprang from the tears of Eve as she was driven out of the Garden of Eden. Lily used as a derivative of the flower name did not arise in England until the 19th century.

MARTIN - This Irish surname has many origins: (1) Mac Giolla Mhartain which has been anglicised as Gilmartin, Kilmartin as well as Martin. Pronounced 'mahk GIL-luh Martin' it means 'servant of St. Martin'. This was the name of an Ulster family which was common in Monaghan, Sligo and Roscommon: (2) Mac Mairtin which has been anglicised as 'Martin'. It is pronounced 'Mahk MAR-teen'. means 'son of Martin' and was the name of a branch of the O Neills of Tyrone; (3) O Mairtin which means 'descended from Martin'. In 1216 lived a Giollaemain O Martin who was a chief ollav or professor of law in Ireland.

MARVIN - The name 'Marvin' is from a medieval variant of 'Mervyn'. Resulting from the regular Middle English change of -er-to-ar-. 'Mervyn' is a Welsh name which is spelled 'Merfyn' (pronounced 'Mer-vin'). This is from the Welsh word mawr, 'great', which is cognate with the Irish and Scots Gaelic word mor, 'great or big'.

PAT - Pat is the short form of Patricia (the feminine form of Patrick) and would be 'paw-druh-GEEN'). According to legend, St. Patricia died in Naples around 665. The use os Patricia in Ireland is comparatively recent and may have been influenced by the fact that the name was borne by Princess of Connacht, a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria.

PATRICIA - Patricia is based on the Latin word patricius, 'noble'. It is the feminine form of Patrick who is the patron saint of Ireland. The usual Gaelic form if Padraigin which is pronounced 'paw-DRUH-geen' in the southern part of Ireland and 'paw-RUH-geen' in more northern parts. In Ireland it may have been originally of Scottish origin. The patron saint of the city of Naples in Italy is St. Patricia who died there around 665 a.d. The use of Patricia in Ireland is comparatively recent and may have been influenced by the fact that the name was borne by Princess Patricia of Connacht, a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria.

PATRICK - Patrick is form the Latin word patricius, 'of noble birth'. The usual Gaelic form is Padraig (pronounced 'PAW-drig'), but can be found as Paraic (pronounced 'PAW-rick') which represents the more northern Irish pronunciation of Padraig. Patrick is considered as the national name of Ireland. St. Patrick c. 385-461) was an early missionary to Ireland. Out of reverence the name was not used in Ireland unless in compounds such as Gilpatrick (servant of Patrick) and Maelpatrick (follower of Patrick). By the time of the great Irish general and patriot Patrick Sarsfield (late 17th century) it was well established.

RON - Ron is the short form of Ronald which is taken from the Ol Norse personal name Rognvaldr. This is composed of the elements regin, 'advice, decision', and valdr, 'ruler'. The usual form is both Irish and Scots. Gaelic is Raghnall (pronounced 'RAW-nul'). This was especially adopted by the MacDonnells by whom it was incorrectly Anglicized Randal.

SALLY - Sally is English and in origin a pet form of Sarah, but since the 20th century is often treated as a name in its own right. Sally has different Gaelic names which have been attached to it as equivalents: Sorcha (pronounced 'SORE-kuh') which is a usual form in any part of Ireland: Sadhbh (pronounced 'SIVE' as in 'hive') which is the usual form in West Galway and West Mayo, and Sile (pronounced 'SHEE-luh') used in some parts of Mayo. Sorcha is from an Old Celtic element meaning 'brightness'. As a result, in Scotland, this meaning has resulted in its being translated to Clara which is from the Latin clarus, 'brightness'.

SUSAN - This name is from the Hebrew Shushanna, 'lily-grace'. The Greeks adopted it as Sousana. In Irish, it is Sosanna (pronounced 'so-SANA'). This name was introduced into Ireland by the Anglo-Normans..



GEENAN - The modern Gaelic form is O Gaibhneain (pronounced 'Oh GEE-nawn') It means descended from the 'small hound' since its form in Irish originally was O Cuineain (descended from Conan which means 'small hound' as stated). This is originally a name from the west of County Clare which also became quite numerous in the north of Co. Tipperary and also in Co. Offaly where it is spelled 'Guinane'.

HEALY - The Healy Clan split into two seperate Clans after the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. The minor branch spells their name in Irish as O'hEilidhe (pronounced 'Oh Hay-li-hee'). They are now usually found in the province of Connacht, especially in Counties Mayo and Sligo. The major branch is from County Cork and spell their name in Irish as O hEalaithe (pronounced 'Oh Hah-luh-hee'). The root word is from ealadhach (pronounced 'ah-luh-hack'), meaning 'ingenious'. The County Cork branch was based in Donoghmore, County Cork but is now spread all over Cork and County Kerry.

HILL - This can be an English name which would be Gaelicized as Chnuic)pronounced 'ah Ku-nick') which means 'of the hill'. As an English name, it is numerous in north-east Ulster. In County Kerry, it would be an agnomen, i.e., tacked on to the end of an Irish name if that person (be he O Sullivan or O Donoghue, etc.) lived on a hill. Again, the agnomen in Irish would be a Chnuic.

GUTHRIE - Originally a Scottish name, Guthrie is taken form the Barony of the same name in Angus. Its meaning is unknown. Some Guthries moved from Scotland to the north of Ireland. Interestingly, some of the O Laithimh"s of County Clare adopted the name Guthrie. At this point the reason for that remains unknown. (The name O Lithium (pron. "Oh LAW-hiv") comes from the Irish word flaithimh (pron. "FLAW-hiv"; meaning "ruler"). It was Squire Guthrie who brought Sir William Wallace back to Scotland from France in 1299. Sir David Guthrie was King"s Treasurer in the 15th century and built Guthrie Castle near Friockheim in 1468. Sir Tyrone Guthrie was a famous theatrical director of the 20th century.

HOPKINS - This is taken from the English pet form of Robert which is Hobkins (little Robert). From the Irish perspective, Hopkins is fairly numerous in Connacht and County Longforf. Hopkins is used as the modern form of the Gaelicized Norman name Mac Oibicin, the Irish being pronounced 'Mahk AWE-bee-kin'.

LANTZ - The nearest I could find to this name Lant, the Gaelic form of which is Lannt, both pronounced the same. This name, 'son of Lant' is an Anglo-Saxon personal name found in the Domesday Book as the name of a landholder in the time of Edward the Confessor. Lant is now considered an old Kilkenny surname.

LISTER - This name in Ireland has four distinct origins: (1) an abbreviation of MacAllester (Mac Alastair, 'son of Alastar or Alexander') and Irish-Gaelic family in Scotland, a branch of which returned to Ulster as gallowglasses (mercenary soldiers) in the 14th century; (2) in Ulster the Scottish Mac an Leastair, alias Fletcher; (3) an occasional synonym of St. Leger in Co. Kilkenny; and (4) English, Lester (dyer) or de Leycester.

McCARTHY - The Gaelic form of this very prominent Irish clan is Mac Carthaigh (pronounced 'mac CAR-hig' in Southern Ireland and 'mac CAR-hee' in Northern Ireland. It is composed of the elements mac, 'son of'. and Carthag, 'loving'. Carthach (anglicised as Carthage) is an ancient Irish personal name. The MacCarthy's were the chief family of the Eoghanacht (pronounced 'OWE-un-ACT') Clan. This name indicates they were descendants of Eoghan Mor, Son of Oilioll Olum, King of Munster in the 3rd century A.D. Prior to the Anglo-Norman invasion, the MacCarthys were Kings of Desmond, or South Munster. Shortly after the invasion they were driven from the plains of Tipperary into the present counties of Cork and Kerry. They became very numerous and retained considerable possessions down to the revolution of 1688. They were divided into three great branches, the heads of which were known respectively as MacCarthy More (the big McCarthys) who resided chiefly in Kerry; MacCarthy Reagh who was Lord of Carbery in West Cork; and MacCarthy of Muskerry which is in Midwest Cork. There were numerous minor branches.

O BRIEN - The Gaelic form of this name is O Briain (pronounced 'oh BREE-un'). It means 'descended from Brian' and although its precise meaning is not entirely clear, may be rooted in the Old Irish word bran, 'a raven'. The O Briens derived their name and descent from Brian Boru, King of Ireland, who was slain at the Battle of Clontarf in the year 1014. This battle ended occupation by Danish and Scandinavian ruling families in Ireland. Brian raised his clan to pre-eminence among the Dalcassians (the clan designation of the chief families in the vicinity of County Clare). They became one of the most powerful families in Ireland. Some were kings of Munster (the southern province) and some of all Ireland. Their possessions included the whole of Co Clare and large portions of the counties of Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford. They divided into several braches the principal ones being as follows: the O Briens of Ara in north Co Tipperary; of Connagh in the east of Co Limerick; of Pobelbrien, now a barony of that name in Co Limerick whose chief stronghold was Carrigogonnell on the River Shannon; of Aherlow in Co Tipperary; and of Cumaragh in Co Waterfords. O Brien is now one of the most numerous surnames in Ireland.

O CONNOR - The Gaelic forms of this name are O Conchobhair (pronounced 'oh con-HORE') and O Conchubhair (pronounced 'oh con-HUR'). The modern Gaelic spelling is O Conchuir which in addition to the above pronunciations can also, in the spoken language, be pronounced 'oh crow-HUR'. This surname is based on the ancient first name of Conchobhar which means high-will or desire. This first name was latinised into the unrelated name of Cornelius which enjoyed wide-spread popularity, but which now has been mostly superseded by the modern Irish name Conor which is much like the original first name in pronunciation. The surname O Connor represents some of the major families in Ireland and there were at least six distinct families bearing that name: (1) O Connor of Connacht who derived their name and descent from a King of Connacht who ruled in the latter part of the 10th century; two of these became kings of all Ireland. They were divided into three great branches, namely O Connor Donn (the brown O C.), O Connor Rua ( the red O C.) and O Connor Sligeach (the O C. of Sligo); (2) O Connor of Offaly who derive their surname from Conor, son of Fionn, lord of Offaly, who died in the year 979 a.d. They were powerful and for more than 300 years successfully defended their territory against the English of the Pale (the territory held in and immediately around Dublin). (3) O Connor of Kerry whose chief stronghold was Carrigafoyle, near Ballylongford, Co. Kerry; (4) O Connor of Corcomroe who were descended from Conor, son of Maelseachiainn, lord of Corcomroe, who was slain in the year 1002. Corcomroe is in West Clare. (5) O Connor of Keenacht which was a territory called Cianachta in Co. Derry. Shortly before the Anglo-Norman invasion they were dispossessed by the family of O Cathain (O Kane). (6) The O Connors of Ui Breasail, a branch of the Oirghialla (pronounced ore-ee-alla) which was an ancient territory comprised of the modern counties of Armagh and Monaghan and parts of south Down, Louth and Fermanagh.

We will be adding new names each month.

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Last Update: August 2004

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