Question of the Week: Do you have Irish Roots?

+79 votes

Éirinn go Brách!

It's March! Celebrate your Irish heritage and tells us about your ancestors!

You might also stop by and visit the Irish Roots project to see how you can help.

asked in The Tree House by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (252k points)
I'm from Liverpool and invariably when researching family tree, I find that nearly every line takes me back to Ireland and then I get stuck. Feel free to check out my webpage:  and also can anyone offer guidance/help. I just get stuck when I find an ancestoral line in Ireland.
My earliest ancestor was  John Morris who was born in Galway in 1633.  I assume he was part of the Morris tribe of Galway.  He came to America in 1654 and the Morris name continues this day right up to my father.  I'm having difficulty finding information on him in the 1600s!
I don't know if we are allowed to do this but, @Marsha. You might want to put your information in at MyHeritage website and see if you get anything. I've been finding a lot of ancestors on there from Ireland, Belgium, and Britian...that I couldn't find on any other websites (after starting a family tree). I do however recommend only adding mothers and fathers, not the kids and bother/sisters...since it limits how many people you can add to a tree for free. Best of luck to you!
Searching Jordan, Langan, Berry, Byrne, Babcock,  St. John, Noonan  plus many more from all over Ireland .
Yes, I am, my grandfather Adam great grandfather was a Girven from Five Mile Town.
My AncestryDNA came back with 89% Irish/Scot/Wales with a direct link to ancestors in Donegal, Ulster, Ireland. May I join this project too?


For those that may have hit a Brick Wall there was a Potato Famine and there where Irish Families that Came to Canada in the Early 1800's and Landed in New Brunswick, Canada My Mothers Paternal Dempsey's where one Family. The New Brunswick Archives are Free and Records are Digitized for Download here is the Link

Also See Here
I have Irish Family on my paternal Grandmothers side. I Am still finding my way and new but I am loving the information I can find. The last name of my grandmother is Driscoll.
Asked another way.  If my 5th great grandfather was born in Ireland and came to North America over 300 years ago and I still to this day have DNA tested positive same surname family living in Ireland does this organization consider one to be Irish?
There is a strange type of endemic nationalistic racism in Ireland which denounces anybody who deserts Ireland. However, if that distant ancestor was deemed a debtor to the 'Crown', meaning the thieving agents of the yukky uk'ies and was banished to a distant colony like Oz, NZ, america, that family can come humbly back, shut their mouth and not bring that subject up and remain in Ireland, the locals will forgive you for deserting ye olde sod.

Another category of folks forced into the yukky uk'y army or navy by being seized on the street by impressment gangs, can also come back and not bring thesubject up. Unfortunately, so many hybrid wanna-be Irish-americans brag about the better life they found in the U.S, these 'e-jits', actual word idiots, have created the present conundrum of once gone from Ireland, you lost your right to consider yourself Irish.

This perverse, sadistic mentality exists in every country on the planet where those trapped behind, who couldn't afford to escape, make life miserable for any returning Irishman. It happened to my grandfather who was 1st to leave the family hearth in Carrowmacbrine Sligo.It was even worse 'cuz he came back in the late 1920's, after the Irish Rebellion created the Irish Free State. Those who left were considered traitors.

Our specific Hanley family resided on the same farm if Hanleytownship, Carrowmacbrine, Sligo for over 500 years.

97 Answers

+4 votes
My Father's half of my family tree are from Northern Ireland, in and around BELFAST
answered by David Irvine G2G1 (1.5k points)
+4 votes
My wife's roots are mainly from Ireland and Croatia. I must say that in building out her family tree I've had much better luck researching her Croatian side than the Irish side. it seems that the Irish used the exact same given names for each generation. So I have had to deal with a whole lot of Bridget McNamara's!!
answered by Bart Triesch G2G6 Pilot (180k points)
+4 votes
Yes, I am 87% Irish; My dad from Downpatrick, and my great grandmothers all from Ireland.  My dream vacation is to tour the whole country.
answered by
+4 votes
I have Irish ancestors going by the names of McMullen, Lamb, Withers . I myself have inherited 32% Irish ethnicity from my ancestors, they where originally from Northern Ireland and Dublin.
answered by Elizabeth Mitchell G2G Crew (320 points)
+4 votes

I just got my DND results from myheritage. My DNA showed no Irish whatsoever! This was a big surprise as I have been doing genealogy for years and my mom's family is mostly Irish who came to Canada from Ulster, Cavan, Wexford and Carlow.(surnames like Lynn, Thompson, Gibson, Green, Moulton, Morris, Matchet - all who whom hail from Ireland)...virtually all protestant and probably were emigrants at one time from Britain or the continent if you go back to the Norman conquest!, perhaps they were scot-irish but I have no proof of that. My dads parents were both born in Italy. 
DNA showed Results: 

22.4 % English ! no Irish and no Scottish! 

31 % northern European principally France and Germany , 

15% eastern European and 6% western Asian......I have no known ancestors from any of these last three places!) 

22% surprise there; 

now, I know folks moved around a lot over there .....but where are my Irish ancestors?????

commented Apr 15 by Shirley Mancino G2G Crew

answered by Shirley Mancino G2G1 (1.8k points)
+4 votes
Many of my ancestors are Irish, Most of my Hanrahan family in Galway lived in the townland of Garryad and Garryduff in the parish of Killimor, Galway.  Land records from the Griffiths Valuation of 1855 were very helpful.  Although census and land records are available for individual family members, another very helpful resource is an overview of the townland itself, from "Killimor Our Parish and Our People".

Published by Killimor and District Development Society, edited by Angela Geoghegan and Nuala McGann, the book  is the culmination of eight years of research. “Killimor - Our parish And Our People” is the story of Killimor parish in County Galway. The book is available locally and from Charlie Byrnes book shop, Galway and can be ordered online: email:

The complete section on Garryad and Garryduff can also be found on Facebook at


I'm so glad to know about the Irish Roots project.  I've had trouble finding records before 1800, let alone before 1700
answered by P Hanrahan G2G1 (1.5k points)
+3 votes
Yes!  I would like to be part of the Irish Heritage group if possible.  Here is a list of my Irish ancestors that I've identified so far that were born in Ireland and died in America.  I've listed their place of birth as reference.  My DNA estimate indicates that I am over 50% Ireland/Scotland/Wales

James Hillen (b. 1758 and d. 1846) – Ireland,

William Lewis (b. 1670 and d. 1706) Donegal, Ulster, Ireland,

John Duncan Campbell (b. 1674 and d. 1741) Drumabodan, Ireland,

William Obediah Gregg (b. 1738 and d. 1789) Antrim, Ireland

Robert Michell (b. 1704 and d. 1799) Cavan, Londonderry, Ireland

William Buchanan (b. 1677 and d. 1756) William, Tyrone, Ireland

Rebecca Jean Sayers (b. 1674 and d. 1754) Deroran, Tyrone, Ireland

John Walker (b. 1737 and d. 1809) Ireland

Hugh Weir (b. 1725 and d. 1779) Enniskillen, Ireland

Abner Brooks Casey (b. 1700 and d. 1786) Tyrone, Ireland

Phoebe O’Connor (b. 1764 and d. 1820) Cork, Ireland

Joseph E. Brown (b. 1731 and d. 1815) Londonderry, Ireland

Mary Porter (b. 1737 and d. 1824) Ireland

Johannes Hall (b. 1734 and d. 1810) Belfast, Ireland

Castleton Harper (b. 1715 and d. 1799) Ireland

Joseph Fitzpatrick (b. 1710 and d. 1781) Upper Ossory, Ireland

James Mundell (b. 1720 and d. 1805) Ireland
answered by Ryan Compton G2G Crew (640 points)
Hi Ryan and welcome to the Irish Roots Project.
+3 votes
Yes... Scots-Irish... From the Clan Gregor, Gaelic Scots :)
answered by Ron Gragg G2G2 (2.8k points)
+3 votes
If you looked at me, you would think I was all Irish, with my red hair and fair skin. Especially when I was married to my first husband McGowan.
answered by Cheryl Hess G2G6 Pilot (119k points)
+3 votes
Our actual gaelic name OhAinle or OhAinleigh was switched to Hanley when Cromwells thugs forced the Irish to be anglicized. The name OhAinle in Gaelic means 'the beautiful people'

The catch is, if your Hanley heritage does not go back beyond Brian Boru to the Kings of Connaugh, like my Hanley ancestry line can, you can't claim the Hanley heraldry symbols like Shield, Crest or Motto.

Our ancient OhAinle ancestors won the right to the Hanley heraldry devices for their service to Kings Of Connaugh as the palace guard. The tribe/clan back then was awarded the north shore of the Shannon River, called Dooleyhanley before Cromwells thugs seized it.

My cousin Betty, who was chief researcher at the central Dublin Library and her dad Vincent Boland, back in 1950, did all the leg work to trace our specific Hanley tree back to Tuathae Danae. For reasons beyond my ability to combat colossal stupidity, a person named Hanley who is not in our specified family tree can't claim any part of Betty's research which was donated to the Dublin Library.

I caught many imposters who grafted themselves into Betty's work by claiming some name they came across in the 1700's as their own relative. This type of phony so-called 'research' is the bane to the entire genealogical world. These shyster phonies charge folks for their cut and paste ancestries based on Betty's original documents, photo's of gravesites her dad found.
answered by John Hanley G2G Crew (800 points)

I have Irish ancestors on both sides of my family tree. My maternal side has my gt. gt  grandma and gt gt granddad from County Down, Seapatrick, Banbridge to be precise.  They were Patrick Taggart or Teggert, and Ann Meehan or Meeham. There daughter Catherine, known as Kate Taggart was born on the 11th June 1868 in Seapatrick, and as far as I know there were from Catholic and Protestant backgrounds. Came to escape the persecution of being from either side, to the UK and Salford

On my dads side there was Ann *Mina* Mills born in 1806 in Ireland, no clue where though.

I have no clue what I need to do, but would love to help with this project please?  

Thanx Sandra for the speedy reply. In rural Ireland way back when, a majority of the population lived as farmers in 'townships. Go to the irish rootsweb, look at the 'townships' in each of the national census in the area you have a distant relative, to see if that family name showed up.

The reason a distant relative seemingly disappears is due to being a 'debtor',shipped off to a debtor colony like Oz. OR, that relative changed names to escape the law, OR, 'pressed' into the service of yukky uk'y-land royle navy, hopefully that person jumped ship to start a new life in a distant land like South America like several of my distant ancestors were forced to do, just to survive.

Keep in mind Irish Catholics who sold their birthright to the Protestants for a bowl of soup during the many famines to hit rural Ireland. These 'soupers' as they were called escaped the wrath of devout neighbors by escaping to factories of yukky uk'y-land fed likea  dog, treated worse than slaves.

Between 1700 and 1900 the actual population of Ireland went from 12 million to 4 million due to famine, being debtors, forced off their farms for a debt a small as 1 dollar, those fortunate to be able find a sponsor to enable them to migrate.

Keep in mind during U.S Civil War families were separated and forced to fight in either Northern or Southern Army. There are 1,000s of histories of Irish brother or cousin fighting Irish brother or cousin, tragically dying on the bloodiest battlefields ever fought.

Anybody tracing an Irish ancestor has to know Irish history intimately if they ever expect to make any progress. It is not an easy task, to say the least.

In the 1960s the stupidest of the stupidest, referring to yukky uk'y-land politicians, of course, decided to pass a law stating every soldier serving in yukky uk'y-land military had to be a uk'y citizen. Within 1 month of the proposal to Parliament, 2/3s of uk'y military, those with Irish roots, resigned enmasse...the most humiliating yukky uk'y-land military defeat ever recorded.

These single digit IQ mental midget UK politicians called these Irish troopies deserters, called for them to be executed, instead of realizing they made the biggest blunder in yukky uk'y-land history. Sorry excuse called the Prime Minister of that time, Wilson, did his usual ostrich maneuver by scooting off to Russia to consult with master puppeteers who control his every move, every statement he made while in office, they advised him not to go to war with Ireland, they would be sure to have the backing of the U.S army, full of Irish descendants.

Hopefully this will aid you in doing a re-think as to where your distant relatives ended up. Another point to consider. Catholic Ireland supported unmarried pregnant women whose 'pregnator' avoided his responsibility thru being imprisoned, exiled, pressed into UK military service, meant these women spent many years in hospital laundries run by the Church, or became nuns themselves. In virtually every instance, families of these impregnated unmarried women were so impoverished themselves they were the reason these women ended up in these laundries.
+3 votes
My great great grandfather was born in County Antrim, (Now Northern)  Ireland in 1822.
answered by Norm Matthews G2G Crew (580 points)
+3 votes
Although I don't know exactly where in Ireland he was born, my fourth great grandfather William Sweetman is known to have been born in Ireland ca 1810 due to the marriage bann of his son William b in Birmingham, England in 1836. My DNA also backs this up.
answered by Barry Sweetman G2G6 Mach 2 (22.2k points)
+3 votes

Yes .. McGrath and Dorrell Irish family lines .. and Barbu Gaelic-Irish family line .. 

C'est Bon Magnifique !  

answered by Jerry Baraboo G2G6 Pilot (468k points)
+3 votes
My Irish roots stem from the Gleeson family from Silvermines, Tipperary who arrived in Australia first in 1850 and settled in the Wilberforce area on the outskirts of Sydney. Other family members followed in 1859. At the moment the earliest direct Gleeson match I have is Michael Gleeson born 1760 in Kilmore, Tipperary, with most information I have being researched and provided to me by Mr DJ Gleeson (my 4th Cousin).

My wife is also of Irish decent being a Corrigan, her father being from Dublin and leaving there during WWII to join the British Army.

Other Irish family names I am very interested in researching are Sheehy, O'Brien, Kennedy, Walsh and Cassidy.
answered by Peter Honeywood G2G Crew (920 points)
+2 votes
I have Irish roots my Maternal Grandad was born in Belfast around 1910.

His name was Joseph Mcgahan he had a twin sister i think her name was Alice he had a sister called Mary Bridget more commonly known as Bridie.

He had brothers called John & Patrick.

His mum was Alice and his dad Henry. They lived in Macauley street in Belfast.

Joseph was married to a woman called Rose  who died in child birth they had one child patrick.

He moved to England and met my Nan Frances Abbott they married in 1946.
answered by Stefanie Fowler G2G Crew (930 points)
+2 votes
8 of my 64 great grandparents were born in Ireland. Two from Cavan (Robinson and Good), two from Antrim (Hawthorn and Ingram). The other four are not certain, both as my ancestors and where in Ireland. My greatgrandfather's mother isn't 100% confirmed.  His father married in 1894 a Marian Buel or Bull he divorced her before the 1900 census where my second great grandfather appears with my great grandfather, who was about 5. I have yet to find his birth records to confirm he was a product of that marriage. The next year my second great grandfather remarried Louise Alice Griffith, who is listed as my great grandfathers mother sometimes, but is likely just his step mother.

If Marian Buel is my second great grandmother as I suspect, He grandparents are all from Ireland, William Bull and his wife Isabella (Unknown surname) and Alexander McCall and Mary (Cassels) McCall.

I don't have many records from Ireland, so I would love to have a good source pointed our, or any tips of where to look.
answered by Allison Schaub G2G6 Mach 1 (13.3k points)
+2 votes
My Maternal grandfather is Joseph Henry Mcgahan Born in Macauley street in Belfast around 1910 his Father was Henry Mcgahan His mother was Alice.

He married a woman called Rose who sadly died in child birth.

His son Patrick lived he was a big part of my life growing up.

Joseph moved to England some time before 1945 as that is when he married my nan Frances Abbott.

My Dads biological Father John Francis Higgins was born in Cavern in 1929 he died in manchester England around 1986 i am led to believe he was not a nice man and spent some time in early 1980s in jail i am unable to confirm this as of yet but i am trying. I believe my 3x great grandparents were John Higgins and Ellen Murray they married in the 1890s.

My great great grandfather on my dads maternal line was born in Wicklow in 1870 his name was Peter Lenighan. He married  Catherine maiden name unknown she was born in Swansea Wales in 1868-9.

I would love to join this project and help any way i can as i am struggling with my Irish roots.

Thank you
answered by Stefanie Fowler G2G Crew (930 points)
Hi Stefanie,  welcome to WikiTree and to the Irish Roots Project..

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