March is the perfect time to celebrate your Irish heritage!
My great great great grandfather on my dad’s side was Irish. From my research, I believe he came from Roscommon, Ireland. My Irish ancestry has been hard to trace. Once they are in the states I have no troubles, it’s the arriving here and before that, I struggle to find accurate information.
I *think* they came to America sometime between 1851 and 1856. I have seen my great great grandfather as having been born here and Ireland. I wrote down all these dates and places to try and narrow down when I search ships manifests. So far, I’ve had no luck.
Why is it so hard to find information?
My biggest problem is with the names. As I mentioned in last weeks blog, names change and spelling is often done phonetically. I cannot tell you how many different ways I have seen the last name spelled. It also doesn’t help that first names are popular names like Thomas, Jane, and John. There seems to be a lot of those in Ireland.
I did find some interesting information recently on the last name issue. I think I’ve found the root name, O’Duignan. I haven’t finished looking and researching yet but all signs seem to point to that being the original name. At some point, the O was dropped and then it seems the spelling was changed when coming to America.
I’ve made note of this discovery but haven’t added it to my ancestry.com tree yet because I’m not 100% sure, more like 85%. It feels like the right path and I am going to explore it some more but definitely need more information. Is the reason I can’t find my relatives because they did a complete 180 and chose a random last name when they left Ireland? Or maybe they didn’t even come from Ireland but wanted people to think they did so they picked an Irish name? Maybe they were outlaws living under an assumed name! See? So many possibilities and why I’d like a little more solid confirmation before I proceed.
I did find a Wikipedia page for O’Duibhgeannain, which seems to be the original version of O’Duignan*. They were a clan of historians, which is pretty cool. It’s fascinating history and research for me either way. I’m kind of a nerd and enjoy learning.
*There’s a multitude of old and modern spellings that all seem to be of the same family or clan.