upload image

Irish Naming Standards

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Irelandmap
This page has been accessed 877 times.


Suggestions toward establishing a guideline for naming Irish Profiles

This is a supplement to Name Fields for European Aristocrats for Irish profiles. If a conflict between the two occurs, a G2G discussion should be started.

  • Introduction of hereditary surnames to Ireland began about 1010.


If the profile belongs in Early Scandinavia Project, ie was born in Scandinavia up till 1200, this is the way to present the profile: Space:Early_Scandinavia_Project_-_Example_Profiles, and these are the name guidelines for the Early Scandinavia Project :Space:Early_Scandinavia_Project_-_Name_Guidelines.

pre 1500

If the Annals use different names, use the oldest annal. Many of the annals use the father's name, i.e. mac Muiredaig. Use mac (lower case m) as "son of" and Mac (upper case M) as part of a known surname.

  1. Use Middle or Modern Irish - with alternate names in English in name field if desired and in Old Irish in the Bio section where known;
  2. Ireland started using sur-names c.1100
  3. Use oldest known source of annals or books;
  4. If no LNAB is given use lower case mac and father's first name; (Patronymics) example: mac Conchobhar
    1. EXCEPTIONS: all -ach names become -aig after mac. Example father's name Cellach becomes Son mac Cellaig.
    2. For woman use ingen and father's first name for LNAB. example: ingen Conchobhar
    3. For women "Current Last Name" bean and husband;s first name can be used if a source can be found. example: bean Conchobhar
  5. Never use a kingdom, Clann or place names, if at all possible;
  6. Once an eponym is established, all subsequent descendants should use the same LNAB. Note: A name change may occur when a new sub-Clann is established,

pre 1700 Irish (Gaelic is not supported in Wikitree)

Names should be written in MODERN Irish - with alternate names in English in name field if desired and in Old Irish in the Bio section where known.

pre-1700 Norse/Viking Proposed

List all variations of the name (with sources), grouped by language, at the head of the biography.

pre 1700 Anglo/Irish (Hiberno/Norman)

Names should be in French or English according to the style adopted by the family with alternate names in Irish if that was the language actually used.

pre 1700 English

Names should follow the guidelines established in the British Isles section of the Euroaristo Project. Titles and distinctions should be in the appropriate language and style of the descent lines; ie Gaelic "Chiefs of the Name" whose style varies; Irish equivalents for "Prince" (Tánaiste), "King" (Rí + name of kingdom), and "High King" (Ard-Rí ) should used with an explanation in English.

Hiberno Norman Peerage of Ireland, as per guidelines established in the Euroaristo Project - except in the case of surrender and regrant, in which both the Irish title and that granted in the English Peerage should be noted.

Irish / Norman names:[1]

Last name at birth: This is the name they had (or would have been known by) when they were born. In most cases, it is one word. Exceptions to this are ‘de Vere’ and families that had ‘St’ as part of their name (such as St John, St Aubyn, St Hilary, St Liz, St Pol, St Sauveur). See below for PREFIXES IN LAST NAME AT BIRTH FIELD.

  • Names like St John: "St" is a prefix which stays with the surname; that is, "St John" goes in the LNAB field, and St is not dropped nor separated out into the prefix field. Do not put a period after the St and do not spell out the word Saint.
  • The common ‘de’, ‘du’, ‘le’, ‘la’, ‘de la’, ‘von’, ‘van’ before a surname does not go in the LNAB field; it goes with the surname in the Current Last Name field while the surname, ONE word, goes in the LNAB. Example: Last name at birth: "Villefort", Current Last Name: "de Villefort". There are some exceptions to this rule, such as de Vere or de la Mare. Members of these families should have both words in the LNAB field. Please contact a lead in the Euroaristo project for naming clarification.
  • Names that include ‘Fitz’: Fitz- names should be written with mid-caps, that is, a capital letter for the father's name. For example, write FitzAlan, FitzGeoffrey, FitzGerald, etc. This is the same pattern as used in names with Mac-: MacMurray, MacDonald, etc. Do not leave a space.

Prefix should be part of LNAB:

  • ap (or "ab") and ferch (or "verch") are Welsh terms meaning "son of" or "daughter of," respectively, as in Madog ap Rhys and Gwenllian ferch Rhys[2].
  • Bean - "Wife"
  • De - "of the": Norman-French
  • Hy - "descendant of" is used in reference to a kin-group or clan. Normally not used in the surname.
  • Ingen means "daughter of" and substitutes for either "ó" or "mac" in women's names.[3].
  • Mac - "son of" - when not part of a sur-name it is in lower case i.e. mac
  • Mc and M' "abbreviations of Mac" - normally should not be used in historic profiles.
  • Mag - "son of"
  • Mhic - Compressed form of bean mhic "wife of the son of"
  • Maol or Mug - "slave of or devotee of"
  • Mael - used in its place for given names i.e. Mael Bridget, Mael Padraig and evolved into surnames i.e. Ó Máel and Mac Mael
  • Ó - indicates "grandson" or "male descendant of"
  • Ní - used for women instead of Ó
  • Nic - used for women instead of Mac
  • Ua - "son of" - same as Ó
  • Uí - the plural of Ó or Ua and is used in reference to a kin-group or clan, Normally not used in the sur-name

Not part of LNAB :

  • Og - little or young - can be used as part of a nickname.[4]
  • The - Head of a kin-group or clan. i.e. The O'Neill, - can be used as part of a nickname or Title
  • na - Of The kin-group or clan

Social Classes in Ancient Celtic Ireland

Kings, Chiefs, and other Leaders[5]

  • Árd-Rí "High-King"
  • Ri "King"
  • Cúig Cúigi i.e. "five fifths" or provinces, Connacht, Leinster, Meath, Munster, and Ulster
  • rí ruirech or rí cóicid was the king of a province
  • ruire was the overlord of several tuath
  • rí tuaithe was the head (i.e. King) of a tuath, Also refered to as The (kin-group)
  • tuath "tribal kingdom" or clan
  • airi aicme, the upper class
  • herenagh, was the chief elect of a sept (family group) Wikipedia

Druids, the Priestly Class

They were the clan’s healers, judges, mediators in disputes, and advisors to kings (Some say the Kings of Tara came from this class) Between 450 and 1200, they became known as the Bard, Brehon or Filí class.

Bards, recorders of history and genealogy

Bards (aka Filí) were a class of poets and singers, entertainers, and more important, recorders of history and genealogy.

Brehon, the judges

Brehon were the judges, close in importance to the chiefs. Brehon law was administered by brehons.

Áes Dána (‘people of craft’) Artisans and Craftsmen

Anyone with a skill in high demand sat high on the social ladder.

Flaith, the Nobles

Men and women who attained their positions by skill, wealth, the strength of their character, or leadership. They did not necessarily rise through kinship.

Feines, the Freemen

They owned their own huts, fields, and cattle and managed their own affairs. Greater landowners were supported by céilí, or clients. These and other grades of society, minutely classified and described by legal writers, tilled the soil and tended the cattle.

Bothach, the Lowest Class

Unskilled laborers, criminals, and indebted farmers. People with no property and stripped of all rights.

Cumal or Mug, Slaves

  • cumal, or woman slave, Cumal was also widely used as a unit of value for cattle and land.
  • mug, or male slave

You could end up a slave if you had overwhelming debts and sold yourself into slavery; if you were captured in battle; or if you were born of slaves. [6]


  • Kern mercenary foot soldier (both Irish or Gallowglass)
  • Gallowglass, gallóglaigh (lit. "foreign young warriors") mercenary soldier of Scottish decent.

G2G discussions


  1. from Wikitree guidelines Name Fields for European Aristocrats
  2. http://www.genealogytoday.com/genealogy/answers/What_does_the_term_ap_mean_in_a_family_name.html
  3. Early Irish Feminine Names
  4. https://www.libraryireland.com/IrishPlaceNames/Og-Root-Word.php
  5. https://www.britannica.com/place/Ireland/Early-Celtic-Ireland
  6. Irish Slaves - Stephen Tempest, MA Modern History, University of Oxford (1985)

Pre 1700

Irish Language

Irish is divided into the following four leading periods :

I. Old Irish : from about 800 to 1000 a.d.
II. Early Irish, or Early Middle Irish : from 1000 to 1200 a.d.
III. Middle Irish : from 1200 to 1550 (and in the case of the Four Masters and O'Clery even to the seventeenth century in many instances). The chief MSS. here are the Yellow Book of Lecan, the Book of Ballimote, the Leabar Breac or Speckled Book, and the Book of Lismore.
IV. Modern, or New Irish, here called Irish: from 1550 to the present time.

  • Login to edit this profile and add images.
  • Private Messages: Contact the Profile Managers privately: Richard Devlin, Maggie N., and Ireland Project WikiTree. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)

Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.