Got That Irish Feeling?

Many people will find at least some trace of Irish ancestry and it especially shows with the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration set for March 17th. The wearing of green (an American tradition), drinking beer, watching parades, carrying shamrocks, enjoying Irish folk music and eating corned beef cabbage are traditional.  The month of March was declared officially in the United States the Irish-American Heritage Month by Congress in 1991.  The tradition of parades goes back to 1737 in Boston and 1762 in New York City.  The sending of St. Patrick’s Day greeting cards or postcards goes back to the late 1890s.

Do you have an Irish surname?  Here are a few samples of traditional surnames of Ireland.

Brown, Burke, Campbell, Hughes, Collins, Doyle, Fitzgerald, Gallagher, McCarthy, O’Brien, Quinn, O’Neill, Walsh, Sullivan, Murray, Kelly, Lynch, O’ Connor, Clarke and Byrne.

There are also popular Irish given names such as:

Patrick, Casey, Bailey, Robert, Shane, Paul, Bridget, Colleen, Patricia, Ryan and Andrew.

Approximately 34 million people in the United States claim some Irish ancestry. In Ireland in 2011 there are about 3.9 million citizens. Over the decades nearly 4.8 million people from Ireland have immigrated to the United States only, not counting the millions to other countries.

So some places to seek information on any Irish heritage include the National Archives of Ireland – Census. If your ancestors came from Ireland after 1901 or 1911, they may be listed in the Irish censuses taken in 1901 and 1911. The site has an easy search engine.  Select a year, place a surname and if certain the given name (forename) place that also.

The Archives of Ireland also offers additional sources such as parish and marriage records, transport records from Ireland to Australia and estate records.  Another good web site to check is Irish Genealogy. Here are numerous church records, also with a good search engine. The various church records are divided into Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, Methodist, Quaker, Presbyterian and Jewish records.

Using Ireland Genealogy online has the 1841 and 1851 Irish census records, a database with 200,000 Irish surnames, along with other documents from all the Irish counties, north and south.  There is a fee for copies of some documents.

May the Luck of the Irish be yours today and everyday.’

My Irish ancestry is ‘MaCartney’ from Kilrea, Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

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