Irish Naming Patterns

I found this while searching the web and it's as you see following; if you can provide me with the appropriate person to credit, I'd be pleased to give them their just due.


Dear Robert, Kathy, Doreen, et al,

I first came across the "Old Irish Naming Patterns" description, which I've found very useful, in an on-line Scots/Irish newsletter. I've included the URL, and the pattern as it appears therein, below. It includes the 4th son - named for the eldest brother, and fourth daughter - named for the eldest sister, too. This can be especially useful, as the eldest brother (the first son in their family) was himself named for their father's father... and likewise, the eldest sister was herself named for their mother's mother. Or, as it was pointed out, the fourth son was named for the paternal grandfather, and fourth daughter for the maternal grandmother. Essentially the same thing. Thus, another generation can possibly be gleaned, from a complete and accurate list of a given family (parents & children) - which had followed the pattern, of course.

Many things can derail this means of deducing ancestors, however... if the father of the children was himself the eldest male, for example, in which case his fourth son would be named for the eldest of his younger brothers - who was not named for their father's father. Also, if the mother's father had the identical name as her husband - one couldn't very well give the 2nd and 3rd sons the same name, so another name would have been chosen, etc. We need a contingency naming pattern guide!
 
In the past, these naming patterns probably occured more often than not. I suppose, too, that as families grew smaller, the naming patterns were followed less stringently... plus, some parents may have felt that there were too many boys named John - or girls named Mary in the family, or what have you... and these names may have begun appearing as middle names honoring beloved relatives, etc. That's how it went in my family anyway,
where a MARTIN married a QUINN, on this side of the pond. It seems that the given names have grown more and more inventive in recent times, too, if not more bizarre within some families (though not mine of course).

From the newsletter:

>Here is information on old Irish naming patterns, as given in a lecture on May 15, 1997, in Rochester, NY, by Ida Troye, Editor of The Septs, published by the Irish Genealogical Society, International (IGSI).

Old Irish Naming Patterns

1st son was named after the father's father.
2nd son was named after the mother's father.
3rd son was named after the father.
4th son was named after the father's eldest brother.

1st daughter was named after the mother's mother.
2nd daughter was named after the father's mother.
3rd daughter was named after the mother.
4th daughter was named after the mother's eldest sister.

These patterns were not locked in, so to speak.
 

Found at this URL:

http://bally.fortunecity.com/mulligan/173/pages/newsletters/i_s_1997-06.txt

It can be located about three-quarters the way down.

Best regards,

Bill Martin
bmartin@gatecom.com
 
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