Irish First Names

Parish records were either written in English or Latin. Never in Irish. The surname ALWAYS retains the English spelling (or a phonetic variation – the same surname can be spelled differently in any set of records, probably depending on the way that the person writing it spelled the name, and whether that person was a local to the area or not.) The rules of Latin are not necessarily followed, the spelling of the name changes and does not become what it should become. That is to say, Latin has rules and with those rules the basic name will change indicating a parent or a child. The child’s name will be given in it’s basic form – that is the nominative form, but the end of the parents name will change somewhat (the genative form). Putting this as simply as possible, the child may be called after one of the parents, but the spelling of each name while it looks almost the same will end differently.

How each ending changed, depended on the nominative – the plain form of the name – and there were rules to be followed. These rules changed when it was a marriage.

However, the rules of the language were not always followed and the endings of names can be different even when it is the same person filling in the register and this causes so much confusion amongst researchers.

The root of the name is what is important – that is, how the beginning of the name is spelled – how similar it is to that of the child – so long as that is similar, then you can take it that the child and one of the parents had the same name.

Sometimes, the translation can throw us off track – for example, Johanna meaning Jane, Jean, Johanna and also being translated as *Honora*

The fact that the in Latin “J” was written “I”. Regardless of grammatical changes in names, little things such as Ioannes and Johannes being John are not too easily seen.

Latin Names

Adalbertus = Albert or George
Adam (Ade) = Adam
Aedus = Hugh
Aemilia = Emily
Agna = Agnes, Nancy
Agneta = Agnes
Alanus = Alan
Albertus = Albert
Alesia, Alicia = Alice
Alfredus, Aluredus = Alfred
Alicia = Alice, Elsie, Alyssa
Alienora, Eleanora, Elianora = Eleanor
Aloisius = Aloysius, Louis, Luis
Aloysius = Aloysius or Lewis
Alvredus = Alfred
Amica, Amata, Amia = Amy
Anastasia = Anastasia or Nancy
Andreas = Andrew
Anna = Ann, Anne
Antonius = Anthony
Arcturus, Artorius, Arturus = Arthur
Audoenus, Audoinus, Oeneus, Oenus = Owen
Augustinus = Austin
Avelina = Evelyn
Bartholomeus = Bartholomew
Beatrix = Betteris, Beatrice
Benedicta (f.)= Benedict, Benet
Benedictus (m.) = Benedict, Benet
Bertrandus = Bertram
Brigida, Brigitta = Bridget, Brigid
Carolum, Carolus = Charles, Carl
Caterina, Katerina, Katharina = Catherine
Catharina = Catherine, Kathryn, Kathleen
Cecilia = Cisley, Cecily
Cecilius = Cecil
Christiana, Christina = Christine
Christophorus = Christopher
Constantia, Custancia = Constance
Daniele = Daniel
Denisia, Dionisia = Denise
Dionisius, Dionisius, Dionysius = Denis
Donatus = Duncan
Dorothea = Dorothy
Eadmundus, Edmundus = Edmund, Edmond
Eadwardus, Eduardus, Edwardus = Edward
Lena = Helen, Ellen
Elias = Ellis
Elisabetha, Elizabetha = Elizabeth, Beth, Betty,
Erchenbaldus = Archibald
Eustachius = Eustace
Eva = Eve
Felicia = Felice
Francisca (f.) = Frances
Franciscus (m.) = Francis, Frank
Fridericus = Frederick
Georgius = George
Gerardus = Gerard
Gilebertus, Gislebertus = Gilbert
Giraldus, Geroldus = Gerald
Godefridus, Godefredus = Godfrey
Goisfridus, Gosfridus = Geoffrey
Gratia = Grace
Gualterus = Walter
Guglielmus, Gulielmus, Guilhelmus, Gulielmo, Gulielmum = William
Haraldus = Harold
Helena = Helen, Ellen, Nell, Aileen, Eileen
Henricum, Henricus = Henry
Henrietta = Henrietta or Harriet
Hereweccus, Herveius = Henry
Hieremias = Jeremiah
Honorah = Nora, Norah, (Jane, Jean, Joan!)
Honoria = Honour, Honor
Hugo = Hugh
Isabella = Isabel
Ioannes, Joannes, Joannis, Johannes, Johannis = John
Jacobus = James or Jacob
Joanna, Johanna = Joan, Jane, Jeanne, Jeanette, Joanne, Sinead, Siobhan
Johanna = Jane, Joan, Jean and Honora
Josephum = Joseph
Josias = Josiah
Laurencia, Laurencius, Laurentium = Laurence, Lawrence
Lucas = Luke
Ludovicus, Lodovicus = Lewis, Louis
Malachias = Malachy
Marcus = Mark, Marcus
Margareta, Margreta = Margaret
Margeria = Margery
Maria = Mary, Maureen, Molly, Marie
Maria Anna = Mary Ann, Marian, Marianne
Mariana = Marion
Martinus = Martin
Mathaeus, Mattheus, Mathias, Matthias = Matthew
Matilda, Matildis, Matillis = Matilda, Maud
Mauricius, Meuricius = Maurice
Michaelem = Michael
Milo = Miles
Moyses = Moses
Muriella, Miriela, Mirielda = Muriel
Oliva = Olive
Patricius, Patritius = Patrick
Petrus = Peter
Philippa, Philippe = Philip
Radulfus, Radulphus = Ralph
Randolphus = Randal, Randolph
Reginaldus = Reynold
Reimundus = Raymond
Ricardus = Richard, Dick
Rugerius = Roger, Rory
Samuelem = Samuel
Stephanus = Stephen
Theodoricus = Theodore, Derek
Thomasum = Thomas
Timotheus = Timothy
Tobias = Toby
Vincencius = Vincent
Willelmus, Guillelmus= William
Some Changes in Names seen in Irish Parish Registers

In Latin, the spelling of a name will change depending on whether it is simply the name itself, or whether it is the name of a parent or a bride. If you have two names in a register which to your mind should be spelled exactly the same way and they are not – then this is because the rules of Latin and the way that names should be spelled tell us whether it is the child or parent who is being named.

The name changes to indicate “son/daughter of, bride of.” The first name is spelled as it should be and the way the parents first name ends

James son of James should read : “Jacobus filius Jacobi.”

This combination of endings is constant for any male name that ends in “us” eg. Anthonius, Bartolomaeus, Cornelius, Carolus, Edwardus, Franciscus, Gulielmus, Henricus, Josephus, Patricius, Petrus, Stephanus, Timotheus.

Any name ending in “us” used as the father’s name should end in “i”

e.g Anthonius, filius Edwardi; (Anthony son of Edward)
Petrus, filius Stephani; (Peter son of Stephen)
Josephus, filius Patricii. Joseph son of Patrick
John son of John becomes Johannes, filius Johannis

Any name ending in “o” or “ae” in the nominative case e.g Johannes, Danielis, Micaelis takes the “is” or can remain the same
Danielis filius Micaelis : Daniel son of Michael
Danielis filius Johannis : Daniel son of John
Johannes filius Danielis : John son of Daniel

Names ending in “o” add “nis” to the father or the mother
Hugo filius Hugonis : Hugh, son of Hugh

Names ending in “a” should end in “ae” when it is the father or mother who is mentioned in the records – in most cases with Irish records the “e” is absent when it comes to Mariae
e.g. Maria, filia Mariae : Mary, daughter of Mary
This group includes:
Anna, Brigitta, Caecilia, Catherina, Elena, Elinora, Hanoria, Honoria, Johanna, Rosa.
e.g.
Brigitta, filia Annae : Bridget daughter of Anne
Honoria, filia Johannae: Honoria daughter of Joan (see name list above Honora = Joan)
Catherina, filia Elenae : Catherine daughter of Helen.

Helen is a name that is rarely seen in parish records that are written in English up to the late 19th century. This name is usually found as Ellen in Irish parish records that are written in Latin

Winifred should belong to this group and just becomes Winifreda

Marriage can be slightly different: if the name ends in “a” the ending becomes “am”
e.g
Johannes nupsit Annam : John married Anne
Jacobus nupsit Brigittam : Jacob (James) married Bridget

5) names ending in “ix” should become “icis” in the genitive: Beatrix filia Beatricis

6) there are a few odd ones, namely Thomas, Jeremias, Barnabas, Adamus, which
don’t fit the rules and can be found in different forms
e.g Thoma filius Thomae : Thomas son of Thomas
Thomas filius Thome : Thomas son of Thomas
Adamus, filius Ade or Adam : Adam son of Adam

The name Bridget usually follows the same form in baptismal records as it should in marriage records, i.e. Bridget is often written as Bridgetam in baptismal records whereas it should read Bridgeta