Irish naming convention

Did you read yesterday’s posting about the 1826 Tithe Applotment record and ask “couldn’t Bartholomew have been James’ father, instead of brother?”

In the Hickey family, the first name Bartholomew is very unusual. The Irish family naming convention is one of the reasons why I concluded Bartholomew was not James’ father:

For SONS

  • The first son was usually named after the father’s father;
  • The second son was usually named after the mother’s father;
  • The third son was usually named after the father;
  • The fourth son was usually named after the father’s eldest brother;
  • The fifth son was usually named after the mother’s eldest brother.

For DAUGHTERS

  • The first daughter was usually named after the mother’s mother;
  • The second daughter was usually named after the father’s mother;
  • The third daughter was usually named after the mother;
  • The fourth daughter was usually named after the mother’s eldest sister;
  • The fifth daughter was usually named after the father’s eldest sister.

Note I’ve added the word “usually.” Not all families followed the pattern, and its use seems to have diminished in the late 1800s.

Four Hickey siblings, the children of James and Margaret Hickey, emigrated to America in the 1840s: Michael, Patrick, Bartholomew and Margaret. Michael, nicknamed “Pat,” never married. The following table shows the first names given to the next generation (born between 1857 and 1873), in birth order.

Patrick’s children Bartholomew’s children Margaret’s children
Mary James James
Margaret Michael (died before age 9) Thomas
James Mary Elizabeth Martin
Honora “Annie” Margaret “Maggie”
Julia Michael H.
Patrick Eileen Bridget
William John
Ellen “Nell”
Michael

The naming supports that they were grandchildren of James and Margaret Hickey, but the pattern wasn’t universally followed. I don’t know the name of the father of Margaret’s husband, Martin Collins; it may have been James – or it may have been Thomas. Similarly, I haven’t confirmed wives’ parents’ names for Patrick or Bartholomew.

Baptism records were found at the Tipperary Family History Center for two other daughters of James and Margaret, named Ellen and Bridget, undoubtedly the reason Patrick and Bartholomew used these names for daughters.

Another naming pattern is exemplified in Bartholomew’s family. When a child died, the parents often gave the deceased’s name to the next-born baby. Bartholomew’s second son, Michael (born 1858), apparently died before reaching nine years of age; another son, born in 1867, was named Michael. [This naming tradition also applied in my own maternal (Dutch) family. A pair of twins, John and Henry, were born in 1908 and died shortly thereafter. The next son, born 1912, was named John Henry.]

Few Bartholomew Hickeys are to be found in County Tipperary in 1901/1911 Irish census records, and the results are inconclusive so far.

 

 

 

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