clan n. group of (esp. Highland) Irish/Scots with common ancestor, esp. while under patriarchal control (~’sman, member, fellow member, of clan); tribe; family holding together, whence ~’nish a.; party, coterie; genus, species, class; hence ~’ship n., clan system or behaviour. [ME, f. Gael. clann f. L planta sprout] (The Concise Oxford Dictionary)
While researching your Irish ancestry, it’s helpful to be aware of Irish customary naming patterns regarding given names:
- First born son named after his father’s father
- Second born son named after his mother’s father
- Third born son named after his father
- Fourth born son named after his father’s oldest brother
- Fifth born son named after his father’s 2nd oldest brother or his mother’s oldest brother
- First born daughter named after her mother’s mother
- Second born daughter named after her father’s mother
- Third born daughter named after her mother
- Fourth born daughter named after her mother’s oldest sister
- Fifth born daughter named after her mother’s 2nd oldest sister or her father’s oldest sister
Baptisms of Catholics were held within a day or two of birth, or even on the same day, at times. Up to the mid 19th century, more than one name was rare, with the exception of Maryanne, or Annamaria, which were considered a single name.
The Irish would be buried on the south side of a church, facing east. No matter where they died, they were always buried back home if at all possible. Catholics would even be buried in a protestant cemetery if it had previously been their family’s cemetery. The earliest tombstones in Ireland only date back to about 1725.
Up to the middle of the 19th century, Catholics of any substance were married in the brides home. Only the very impoverished, whose houses were unfit for a wedding, were married in church. Since the registers were kept in churches, a depressing number of marriages were never written down. The priest having forgotten about them by the time he and his registers were united. Each year there was a great wave of pre Lenten weddings. About two thirds of the years marriages took place in January and February. Early marriage tends to be another clear sign of impoverishment. Prosperous persons married relatively late, perhaps 30 for a man and 25 for a woman. A labourer with little money might marry at 20. The son of a substantial farmer would not be permitted to do so.