Names, Personal

Irish surnames of Gaelic origin were commonly used in England until they laid claim to the kingdom in the 15C. Legislation under English rule led to the anglicization of many Irish names and to the adoption of many English surnames. For example, the surname Houlihan or O'Houlihan may have taken on the anglicized form of Holland.

Other surname variations resulted in the dropping or adding of prefixes to names. Examples include the use of Mac or O. At times, the law forbade the use of such prefixes but by the end of the 19C many people resumed the use of them at will (choosing to either use them or drop them).

Irish given names also underwent variations over time. Many Irish given names originated in Gaelic were anglicized and the names were changed.

Other challenges with Irish given names is that many times names were used for both males and females. Also nicknames, common in Ireland, often do not resemble the given name and can be a completely different name than what is commonly known as being a nickname.



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