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Northern Ireland Johnston Web Site

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  • don johnston
    Those of you with Northern Ireland forebears may find this site interesting, I found it worth a surf through and there is a message board and information on
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 13, 2004
      Those of you with Northern Ireland forebears may find this site
      interesting, I found it worth a surf through and there is a message
      board and information on the name Johnston also.
      Best Wishes

      Welcome to IrishGen.com. "Cead Mile Failte" or a hundred thousand
      welcomes to you. IrishGen is a new Irish-based portal site for Irish
      genealogy, ancestry, heritage or roots.

      Introduction to Irish Surnames

      "Irish surnames are to be found all over the world. Some are more
      obviously Irish than others, for example those beginning with 'Mac' or
      'O'. However there are many types, groups and classifications of
      Ireland was one of the first countries to adopt hereditary surnames.
      This was thought to begin around the time of the reign of Brian Boru,
      the High King of Ireland. Previously, the ancient Irish, the Celts, used
      only one name, and sept or tribe names were used to describe large
      groups from different territories. Around the tenth century, when
      populations began to expand and people became more mobile, a system of
      surnames developed, probably spontaneously, in order to identify
      individuals more accurately. Commonly, the prefixes 'Mac' and 'O' were
      used with surnames. 'Mac' meant 'son of and preceded the father's first
      name to give the surname (e.g. MacDermot). 'O' when used before a name
      generally meant 'grandson of' (e.g. O'Reilly means 'grandson of
      A great many Gaelic surnames in Ireland were anglicised during the time
      of the Penal Laws in the 17th and 18th centuries. This involved dropping
      the 'Mac' or 'O' prefix, or adopting the English translation of an Irish
      name. For example MacGabhainn was changed to Smith, the English word for
      gabhann. The Gaelic Revival of the late 19th century inspired a
      re-adoption of the Gaelic form of many names. Often this involved adding
      'Mac' or 'O' to surnames. However, those who emigrated from Ireland
      prior to the 1890's generally retained the anglicised form of the
      surname, e.g. Reilly instead of O'Reilly.
      Norman names became common in Ireland after the Norman invasion in the
      12th century, and later Scottish names were introduced with the arrival
      of Cromwell and the Plantation of Ulster. Both remain common in Ireland
      today. Over the years, through inaccurate translation and spelling, and
      through variations in pronunciations in different areas, some surnames
      have gradually mutated so as to be ultimately quite different to the
      original name. Variants therefore exist for most surnames, which have
      mostly developed from the same origin.
      To search for information about a particular surname, please enter the
      surname in to the box labelled "Search for a surname:" on the left hand
      side. The results for this search will display the surname, if found,
      and any surnames of similar spelling".
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