Clare History and Genealogy
2:00 p.m. Friday 21 April 2017
Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis,
Naming customs in Ireland
- Names in Ireland were spoken and written in three languages
- in Irish by the ordinary people;
- in Latin by the church authorities;
- in English by the civil authorities.
- M', Mc, Mac, O' prefixes indicate Gaelic surnames.
- de and Fitz prefixes indicate Norman surnames.
- Spelling variations in Christian names (first names) and
surnames (last names) are inevitable due to:
- absence of computers
- evolution of language
- poor handwriting
- present-day transcribers from foreign cultures
- two continents separated by a common language: Mahoney,
Costello, Doherty, etc.
- the Ellis Island myth
- Middle names did not exist in ordinary Catholic Ireland;
to the U.S. frequently turned a patronymic into a middle name to
- Naming patterns: first two sons and first two daughters
generally named after their grandparents.
- Witnesses at marriages and sponsors/godparents/gossips at
baptisms are generally relatives or neighbours.
- Marriages took place in the bride's parish, and often the
and baptism of the first child also did, often with the maternal
grandmother as baptismal sponsor.
- Older siblings (after confirmation) were often sponsors for
- Infant mortality was high and names were recycled.
- Ages didn't matter until 1909 when the Old
Age Pension was introduced.
- Birthdays didn't matter until Hallmark Cards was founded the
The Curtin surname
Edward MacLysaght's The
Surnames of Ireland (pp. 71-2):
(Mac) Curtin Formerly Mac
Cruitín now Mac
hunch-back). An old Thomond sept later found chiefly in Co. Cork. Up to
the end of the sixteenth century MacCruttin was the anglicized form. In
the `census' of 1659 MacCurtaine and O'Curtaine in Cos. Cork, Kerry and
Limerick are treated as synonymous, thus accounting for the use now of
the prefix O as well as the more correct Mac.
Seán de Bhulbh's Sloinnte
Uile Éireann/All Ireland
Surnames (pp. 203):
numerous: mainly N Cork-W Limerick. Originally Mac
Cruitín of Clare where they were a notable literary
family, the Irish is now Mac/Ó
The Curtin DNA project STR results find most Clare
Curtins are from haplogroup R1b; SNP results awaited. Those from across
the Shannon Estuary are mostly from haplogroup J.
The Clare Roots project at
FamilyTreeDNA (of which I am co-administrator) welcomes anyone (male
or female) with roots in County Clare.
Curtins in County Clare were hereditary bards (ollamh; poets
genealogists) to the ruling O'Brien family (descended from Brian Boru,
High King of Ireland, who ruled from Killaloe until he was killed in
1014 at the Battle of Clontarf)
Curtins in the 1911 census
Some interesting Curtins from County Clare and elsewhere from
the 17th century to the present day
- Aindrias Mac Cruitín (c.1650–c.1738)
- of Moyglass
composed an Address to Donn of Doughmore [now Trump
International], an imaginary being, supposed to preside over the
fairies of a district in the county Clare, supplicating Donn to take
his service, as he is neglected by mortals; and in praising the
hospitality of the chief of the fairies, he obliquely censures the
parsimony of the gentlemen of the country (T. Crofton Croker)
Manuscripts in Royal Irish Academy, Dublin
- Wikipedia; Ricorso; ainm.ie
- his cousin and pupil, Aodh Buí Mac Cruitín
- of Kilmacrehy
part of the Flight of the Wild Geese in 1691
returned to Ireland 1714
published A Brief
Discourse in Vindication of the Antiquity of Ireland
(Dublin 1717), written in English, first Gaelic history to be published
imprisoned either for this or for satiric verses attributed to him
moved to Louvain on his release and there wrote Elements of the Irish Language
(Louvain 1728), being the first grammar of Irish in English
issued an English-Irish Dictionary compiled by Conchubhar Ó
Beaglaioch (Paris 1732)
returned to Ireland again at death of Aindrias in 1738 to take up
hereditary office of ollamh to the O'Briens
left genealogies to his daughters
of poetry published 2012
- Wikipedia; Ricorso; ainm.ie
- Laurence Curtin d. 12 May 1915 aged 17
- Private 9787, 1st Battallion, Royal Munster Fusiliers
- Born in Kiltrellig or Kilbaha (map)
- Not found in birth records or census returns, so possibly
changed his name
Died at Gallipoli
UK, Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects,
Commemorated by CWGC at Chatby War Mem. Cem. in Egypt and
on war memorials in Kilkee
Facebook appeal after unveiling of
the Ennis memorial in November 2016 failed to find any other records of
- Michael Curtin from Sragh (map map), blacksmith to the Queen of
- "Sragh must be a very comfortable place to live - lots of
Curtins and lots of Cushens".
His grandparents were probably Michael Curtin and Nora Cushin who had
three children baptised in Doonbeg parish from 1876 to 1879.
- Curtins of Sragh in 1901 and 1911
- Michael meets the royals
Radio documentary (1981)
Champion's closest Clare connection to the Queen
when she visited Ireland in 2011
- Other Sragh Curtins went through Ellis Island to Jersey City
- Con Curtin, Sliabh Luachra traditional musician
Curtin Traditional Music Festival
- Ted Curtin, racehorse trainer
- from Limerick, died in 2014
trained in Ireland for wealthy Americans like Nelson Bunker Hunt and
picked out Exceller for USD25,000 in 1974; he
won USD1,500,000+ in prizemoney
trained The Bart, later beaten a nose by John Henry in the first Arlington
Million in 1981
- Gerard Curtin, local historian, west Limerick
- In Every Field Had a Name: The Place-names of
West Limerick (Sliabh Luachra Historical Society, 2012, p.
2), he writes:
The details on Catholic parish boundaries are
taken from research work done by the Limerick Archives and Family
Ancestry when they were in operation at The Granary, Michael Street,
Limerick. Some of their research may not be seen as correct in a small
number of parishes, as in my travels I came across varied opinions of
Catholic parish boundaries. In cases it was put forward that people in
certain areas were paying church dues to a certain parish or playing
football or hurling with another parish. However, where townlands are
divided between parishes the whole situation was locally generally
confused and it was decided to let the research stand ... the
boundaries of the civil parishes and the later Catholic parishes were
in almost all cases totally different. [see here
Also author of A Pauper
Warren: West Limerick 1845-49 (Sliabh Luachra Books,
- Seán Curtin, photographer
- author of sixteen volumes of Limerick:
A Stroll Down Memory Lane
- Frank Curtin from my FTDNA Family Finder matches
- half-identical region:
no earliest known ancestors
no ancestral surnames
no family tree
possibly former Curtin Clan Vice Chief and Director?
Free sources for Irish genealogy
Famines in Clare
- The 1740 famine (caused by Arctic winter weather) was
proportionally more severe than the 1845 famine (caused by potato
- Kilcasheen Grave Yard "was a
deserted burying place in the year 1739 ... in the ensuing year ...
famine and pestilence raged through the country and dead human bodies
were to be met with by the roads and ditches".
- Kilcasheen later became one of countless cillíní.
- Unbaptised infants, strangers, bodies washed ashore, and
those who committed suicide were denied
Christian burial in consecrated ground.
- Historic Graves is one of many
projects recording old graveyards using new digital technologies.
- Today's Irish are the descendants of survivors of the
- Many victims of the Great Famine have no living
- The victims' surnames are still our surnames.
- The Illustrated
London News sketches of Kilrush Poor Law Union
during the famine illustrate every published work on the subject.
- The National Famine Commemoration has
held annually since 2008,
rotating between the four provinces.
- It was held in Kilrush Poor Law Union in 2013: facebook
- The logo was the ILN sketch of Elizabeth Henrietta
(1842-1925), later 4th Countess of Clanwilliam, distributing clothing
- The heroic role of her father, Captain Arthur Edward
Kennedy (1810-1883), had been forgotten until he was rediscovered by
local history students in the 1970s.
Clare Roots Society
- Est. 2006
- monthly talks on the 3rd Thursday of each month
- three international conferences (2011, 2013, 2016)
- 20+ publications
IGP's County Clare Ireland Genealogy Group
Clare Past Forum
- A partnership of Clare County
Library and Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library
Local Studies Centre, Clare County Library
Last but not least ...
Like all libraries, the objective is to put itself out of business by
making material available online.
Look out for Curtin, O'Friel & Co.
founded by Michael Curtin on
your way to the Local Studies Centre: brass plate window 1