[From Manx Note Book vol 2, 1886]



E NOW COME to the Celtic patronymics formed from personal names of purely native origin. As many of these are capable of being translated, being originally significant of personal qualities, it is often difficult to distinguish between the regular names and the mere nick-names, whose derivatives in family nomenclature are discussed in the following chapter. In making this distinction, our guide must be the old Irish records, which give us some of these words as regular names, while others appear only as descriptive epithets appended to the names. Several of these native names were borne by persons who attained the honours of saintship, and thus, like other hagiological names, give rise to secondary formations with the prefix Giolla.

CROW, or CROWE, is a translation of Mac Fiachain 'Fiachan's son,' the personal name FIACHAN meaning 'Crow.'

'Fiachan, Lord of Conaille died,' A. D. 787.

The MACFIACHAINS were one of the minor families of the English Pale who complied with the Statute of Edward IV. by which it was enacted 'that every Irishman that dwells betwixt or amongst Englishmen . . . . shall take to him an English surname.' 'In obedience to this law,' says Harris (works of Sir James Ware, Vol. II., p. 58), 'the SHANACHS took the name of FOXES; the MAC-AN-GABHANS, of SMITHS; . . . . . and many others; the said words being ,only literal translations from the Irish into the English language.'

CROWE [1582], CROW [1629].

Maughold, Bride, Lonan, Andreas, Lezayre, Onchan (c), elsewhere (u).

* Four -Mast., VOI. I., P. 395.

FARGHER, or FARAGHER, contraded from Mac Fearghoir, 'Fearghoir's son.' This name FEARGHOIR, which occurs in the Tale of Diarmaid and Grainne, is derived from the root ferg, brave,' or violent.'

'FFARCHOIR, son of Muireadhach, Abbot of Lannleire died, A.D. 848'.+


FAYRHARE [1343], MAC KARHERE§ and MAC KARHARE, [1422], JOHN FARKER, Abbot of Rushen, [1504], Mac FARGHER, FARGHER [1511], FERGHER [1540], FARGHERE [1570], F'ARHAR [1626], FARAGHER [1649], PHARAGHER [1735].

Marown, Malew (vc), Andreas, Arbory, German, Rushen, Lonan (c), elsewhere (u).

+ Four Mast., Vol. I., P. 479.
§ This is in the British Museum copy ot the Statutes only.

McFERGUS [1422] (extind) from the same root ferg, with gus, 'strength.'

KAIGHAN, or KAIGHIN, contracted from Mac Eachain, 'Eachan's son.' The name EACHAN means horseman or 'knight.' 'Don of Eachan.'

The surname KAIGHAN may possibly be the same name originally, as KEIGEEN, as a contraction of Mac Taidhgin or Mac Aedhagain (see Keigeen), or even from Mac Cahain (see Cain). It is remarkable that KAIGHAN is confined to the north of the Island, and KEIGEEN to the south, the former being of much earlier occurrence than the latter.

Compare (Gaelic) MAC EACHAN, Mc GACHAN.

These are common names on the adjacent coast of Galloway.

MAC HAUGHAN(?) [1417], MAC CAIGHEN [1422], MCCAGHEN [1511], KAIGHIN [1611], CAIGHAN [1643], KAIGHAN [1667], CAIGHIN [1745].

Michael, German (vc), Bride (c), Ballaugh (u), elsewhere (w).

KEIG, or KEGG, contracted from Mac Taidhg, 'Tadg's son.' TADG (modernised as TEAGUE) should be regarded as a proper name, although its meaning seems to be 'poet.' In Ireland the name is irrationally considered equivalent to Timothy.

'MAC TAIDHG who is lasting in battle front.'*
Muircheartach MAC TAIDHG, slain,' A.D. 1159+

'BALLYHEIGE, in Kerry, has its name from the family of O'TEIGE, its full Irish name being BAILE-UI-THADG.'++


MAC KYG [1408], MAC KEG [1511], KEAGE[1623], KEGG [1630], KEIGE [1653], KEIGG [1684], KEIG [1697]

Jurby, Lezayre, Malew, Santon, Rushen (c) elsewhere (u).

* O'Dubhagain, p. 12. + Four Mast., Vol. ll., p. 7134.++ JOYCE, 4th Edition, P. 349.

KEIGEEN, or KEGEEN, contracted from Mac Taidhgin.

The name TAIDHGIN, little Tadhg's son,' being a diminutive of TADHG.

KEIGEEN may perhaps be contraned from Mac Egan, which is itself a contradion of Mac Edhagain.

The name ÆDHAGAN, a diminutive of.'ÆDH' may be rendered the little fiery warrior.' (See Kaighan.)

'Mcelisa Roe MAC EGAN, the most learned man in Ireland, in Law and judicature, died' A.D. 1317.§

Mageoghan, in his version of the Annals of Cloumacnoise, gives this entry-

'Mogleissa Roe MAC KEIGAN, the best learned in Ireland in the Brehon Lawe.'

The MAC EGANS were hereditary Brehons and professors of the old Irish laws. They compiled the vellum MS. called Leabhar Breac, or 'Speckled book,' the most remarkable repertory of ancient Irish ecclesiastical affairs.

Compare (Irish) KEEGAN.

KEGEEN [1697], KEIGEEN [1715].

Rushen (c), Malew, Patrick (u), elsewhere (w).

 § Four Mast., Vol. Ill., p. 517.

QUARRY, contracted from MAC GUAIRE, 'Guaire's son.'

'GUAIRE fled' at the battle of Carn Conaill, fought on Whit Sunday,' A.D. 646.*

Compare (Gaelic) MAC QUARRIE.

it is a very uncommon name in the Isle of Mann.

MAC QUARRES [1504], MAC WHARRES [1511], QUARRY [1684].

[FPC: The name re-appeared on the Island early 19th Century from Scotland]

QUINE, contraded from Mac Coinn, or Mac Cuinn, 'Conn's son' (Conn, 'counsel.') 'CONN, of the hundred fights,' was one of Ireland's greatest legendary heroes.

'MAC CUINN, son of Donnghaile, royal heir of Teathbha, died,' A.D. 1027.+

 A.D. 1403, 'The king, to all, to whom, &c., greeting, Know that we have conceded of our especial grace, to LUKE MAC QUYN of the Island of Mann, scholar, certain alms called particles in the Island aforesaid, and which were given, confirmed, and conceded perpetually to the scholars by our predecessors, former Kings of England

Compare (Irish) QUIN, O'QUIN.

MAC QUYN [1403], QUINE [1504], QUYN [1511].

Braddan, Marown, Maughold, German, Lonan (c), elsewhere (u).

* Chron. Scot., p. 91
+ Four Mast., Vol ll., P. 814.
++ Manx Socicty, VOI. VII, P. 223.

QUINNEY, contracted from Mac Connaidh, 'Connadh's son.' (Connaidh, 'crafty,' is the adjedival form of Conn).§

Compare (Gaelic) MAC WHINNIE (Irish) MCWEENY.

QUINNYE [1429], MAC INAY(?) [1511], MAC QUINYE [1529], QUINEY [1652], QUINNEY [1692].

Santon (vc), Arbory (c), elsewhere (u).

§ By Manx speaking people this name is pronounced as if spelt KUNYAH.

CAIN, or CAINE, contracted from Mac Cathain, ' Cathan's son.' This name may be rendered 'warrior' (cath 'a battle.')

The O'CATHAINS, now O'KANES, were of the race of Eoghan, who was son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, Monarch of Ireland, who died A.D. 406.

The race of EOGHAN of valiant arms,
Who have obtained the palm for greatness without fraud,
The acme of the nobility of Erin.'*

EOGHAN UA CATHAIN, abbot . . . died,' A.D. 980+

Compare (Irish) KANE and O'KANE.

McKANE [1408], MAC CANN [1430], MAC CANE [1511], CAIN [1586], CANE [1601], CAINE [1609], CAYNE [1610].

Jurby, German (vc), Michael, Ballaugh, Braddan, Marown, Lezayre, Malew, Santon (c), elsewhere (u.)

* O'Dubbagain, P. 21.
+ Four Mast., Vol. II, P. 713.

CALLIN, contracted from Mac Cathalain, 'Cathalan's son'(cathal, 'valour.') MAC CATHALAIN is corrupted into CAHALLAN and CALLAN in Ireland, the latter being now the usual form.

'Maeleracibhe UA CATHALAIN.'++

Compare (Irish) CALLAN.

In some cases it may possibly be a contraction of MAC ALLEN, 'Allen's son.'

McALEYN [1511], CALLYNE [1601], CALLIN [1623].

German, Maughold, Malew (c), elsewhere (u).

++ Four Mast., Vol. I., p. 565.

KERMODE and CORMODE, contraaed from Mac Dermot, a shortened form of Mac Diarmid, 'Diarmaid's son.'

'The fifth year of DIARMAID,' A.D. 544.§

'CATHAL MAC DERMOT, the son of Teige, Lord of Moylurg, and tower of the glory of Connaught died,' A.D. 1215.*

The MAC DIARMIDA or MAC DERMOTs were princes of Moylurg in Co. Roscommon. They split into three families, the head of whom was styled the MAC DERMOT,and the other two, who were tributary to him, were called MAC DERMOT Ruadh, the Red, and Mac Dermot Gall, or the anglicised.'* It has been supposed that the scandinavian ÞORMOðR is an accommodation of DIARMAID. It may, however, beadistina Scandinavian name containing the usual prefix ÞOR, though, as it is not found in the Sagas, probably not. We find in the History of Olave the Black, King of Mann, from the Flateyan MS., under date A.D. 1229, that 'when Ottar Snakoll, Paul Balkaison, and Ungi Paulson heard this, they sailed southwards to Sky, and found in Westerfiord THORKEL THOMODSON, whom they fought and killed, with two of his sons, but his third son THORMOD escaped by leaping into a boat, which floated alongside of a vessel, and fled to Scotland, but was lost on the passage.'+ It seems probable that, considering the forms which KERMODE has always taken in the Isle of Mann, that it came to us through the Scandinavians, though originally of Celtic origin.

Compare (Gaelic and Irish) MAC DERMOT.

KERMODE is much commoner than CORMODE.

MAC KERMOTT [1430], MAC CORMOT, MAC GERMOT, [1511], KERMOD [1586], KYRMOD, CORMOD [1601], CORMODE [1656], KERMOTT [1611], KERMODE [1694].

Andreas (vc), Jurby, German, Ballaugh, Lezayre, Marown, Rushen, Lonan (c), elsewhere (u).

§ Four Mast., Vol. I., P. 183.
* Four Mast., Vol. III., p. 185.
+ O'Donovan Introduction, P. 20

CONNELLY, contraccted from Mac Conghalaigh, 'Conghalad's son,' (Congal, 'a conflict.')

'Donnchadh, son of Donnehadh Ua CONGHALAIGH, royal heir of Ireland was slain,' A.D. 1016.++

It is a very common name in Ireland, but is scarcely found in the Isle of Mann now, though formerly common in Jurby.

+ 'Manx Society, Vol. IV., P. 44.
++ Four Mast.,- Vol. II., P. 791.

CANNELL, from ' Mac Conaill, 'Connall's son,' though it may sometimes be a contraction of Mac Domhnaill, 'Domhnall's son.' 'Domhnall is a diminutive of the root dom=dominus, a lord or master.' The d by aspiration is often omitted in sound, which has given rise to the family name MAC CONNELL, now common in ULSTER.' The confusion between MAC CONNELL and MAC DONNELL may have been promoted by the fact that Connall was actually the name of an ancestor of the O'Donnell family.

'CONNALL, Gulban, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages (from whom are descended the CINEL-CONAILL) was slain.'+

The Scotch clan of MAC DONALD derive their name from DONALD, eldest son of Reginald, second son of the celebrated Somerled of Argyle, and King of the Isles.

Compare (Irish) CONNELL (Gaelic) MAC DONALD, Mc WHANNEL.

The name CANNELL is peculiar to the Isle of Mann.

CANNELL [1606], CANNEL [1615], CONNIL [1623], CANNAL [1655]

Michael, German (vc), Jurby, Braddan, Ballaugh, Marown, Andreas, Rushen, Lonan (c), elsewhere (u)

 * MS. letter from Dr. Joyce.
+ Four Mast., Vol. I., p. 147.

CONILT and CONILL (extinct) probably merely forms of CANNELL.

CONYLT, McCONYLT, HONYLT, McHONYLT, and McGIL HONYLT [1511], COWNILT [1649], COONYLT [1652] , CONILT 1659], CONILL [1660], QUOONILL [1654], COONILL, [1661].

It was formerly common in Maughold, but disappeared early in the 15th century.

KENNAUGH,contracted from Mac Cainneach 'Cainneach's son,' (Cainneach, devout' or chaste.')

'CAINNECH, of Achadh Bo. born,' A.D. 516.++

He was a Saint who died, A.D. 598.

This name is peculiar to the Isle of Mann. Compare (Irish) McKENNA.

MAC KENNEAGH, KENEAGH [1511], KENEAIGH [1636], KENNAUGH [1668], KENNAGH [1676], KENNIAGH [1697], KENAGH, [1714].

It is almost confined to the parish of German. German (vc) Michael, Santon (u). Scarcely found elsewhere.

++Chron. Scot., P. 539.

KANEEN, contracted from Mac Cianain, 'Cianan's son,' (Cianan is a diminutive of Cian, which is itself a diminutive of ci, 'to weep.')

' CIANAN, Bishop of Doimhliag died,' A.D. 488.*

Compare (Irish) KEENAN (Gaelic) MAC KINNON.

KYNYNE [1422], KENEEN [1666], KENEN [1676], CANEEN [1729], KANEEN [1740], KENAN [1783].

A purely Manx name. it is almost confined to the parishes of Andreas and Jurby. Andreas (vc), Jurby (c), elsewhere (u).

* Four Mast., Vol. I., P. 153.

KNEEN, probably also a contractionof Mac Cianain. In our early documents it seems to be confused with NEVYN or NEVYNE. Andrew John NEVYN is one of the 24 Keys in 1417, while Jenkin M'NYNE in 1429 is as called Jenkine MAC NEVYNE in 1430.If it is a corruption of NEVYN, which is common in Scotland at the present day in the form NIVEN, it will have quite a different origin : from (Gaelic) Naomh, 'a saint.'

It is a purely Manx name.

MAC NYNE [1429], KNEENE [1504], KNEEN [1598].

Bride (vc), Ballaugh, Marown, Andreas, Lezayre, German, Santon, Rushen (c), elsewhere (u).


DOUGHERTY, originally O'Dochartaigh, 'Dochartach's descendant' (Dochartach, stern.')

'Donnall O'DOCHARTAIGH, lord of the territory of Kinel-Enda and Ard Mire, died,' A.D.1119.+

The name is almost confined to the parishes of Andreas and Jurby, and is now very uncommon everywhere in the Isle of Mann. In Ireland it is very common.


Andreas, Jurby (formerly c).

+Four Mast., Vol. II., p. 1009

KNEAL and KNEALE, contracted from Mac Niall, 'Niall's son.' This is a name of Celtic origin, meaning champion, but it was adopted by the Scandinavians at a very early period, and largely used by them.

'NJALL, m. a pr. name (from the Gaelic), Landnámabok."*

It has been a famous name in Celtic history from the time of NIALL Of the Nine Hostages, who reigned over Ireland from 384 to 411 A.D., to that of Hugh O'N EIL, Earl of Tyrone, in Queen Elizabeth's time. The Egilla Saga says that one NIAL, or NEIL, was King of Mann, in A.D.914. The Flateyan MS. mentions, Thorkel, the son of NEIL,' in 1229.

Compare Irish and Gaelic) McNIEL and McNEAL. (Scandinavian) NIELSEN and NILSSON. (English) NELSON (which see.)

McNELLE [14o8], MAC NEYLL [1430], MAC NELE [1511], MAC NEALLE [1521], KNEAL [1598], KNEALE [1666].

It is much commoner in the North than in the South of the Island.

Andreas, Bride (vc), Jurby, Maughold. Lonan, Patrick, Ballaugh, Lezayre, German, Santon, Michael (c), elsewhere (u).

* Cleasby and Vigfusson, P. 456.

NELSON is probably in the Isle of Mann a translation of MAC NIAL. It is found chiefly in the Southern parishes, where KNEALE is uncommon.

NEALSON [1430], NELSSON [1511], NELSON [1653].

Rushen, Malew (c), elsewhere (u).

KELLY, contracted from Mac Ceallaigh, Ceallach's son' (ceallach, 'war, strife.')

Death of Ceallach, son of Maelcobba in the Brugh.' A.D. 654.+

'CEALLACH, joint Monarch of Ireland, died,' A.D. 656.++,

The name is as common in the Isle of Mann as it is in Ireland. Connell Mageoghan, who translated the Annals of Clonmacnoise in 1627, gives the following account of the O'KELLY'S, under A.D. 778, 'Though the O'KELLY's are so common everywhere that it is unknown whether the dispersed parties in Ireland of them be of the families of O'KELLY, of Connaught, or Brey. . . so as scarce there is a few parishes in the Kingdom, but hath some one or other of these Kelly's."§

McHELLY [1417], McKELLY [1429], MAC HELLIE [1430], KELLYE [1601], KELLY [1605], KELLEY [1628].

Braddan, Marown, Michael, German (vc), elsewhere (c), except in Maughold and Lezayre.

+ Chron. Scot., p. 95.
++ Four Mast., Vol. I., p. 269
 O'Donovan Notes, pp. 2-3.

KILLEY, originally Mac Gilla Ceallaigh, anglicised in Ireland into Mac Killey Kelly and Killy Kelly. The MAC and the KELLY have been dropped leaving KILLEY, which is identical in meaning with GILL (see Gill.) (Gaelic Gitilley, Irish Giolla, a servant.') Indeed, in the Isle of Mann formerly the same person was called GILL and KILLEY indifferently.

'The Clan Of MAC GILLA CEALLAIGH, the honourable.'*

The name is of late introduction, and is purely Manx. KILLIE [1610], KILLEY [1651], KILLY [1704].

Maughold, Lonan, Onchan, Malew German (c), elsewhere (u).

* O'Dubhagain, p. 67.

QUILLIN, contracted from Mac Cullen, 'Cuilen's son,' (Cuileann, 'a whelp.')

'CUILEN, son of Cearbhatt slain,' A.D. 884.+
'ADHUC MAC GUILLIN was slain,'A.D. 1355.++

The MAC QUILLANS of the Ronte, Co. Antrim, are said to have been originally Welsh or Anglo-Normans Quasi, MAC or AP LLEWELLI N,'§ but this does not appear likely.

MAC WILLINE [1429], O'QUYLLAN and QUELEN [1511], QUILLINE [1654], QUEILIN [1657], QUILLIN, [1659], QUILLEN [1682].

It was formerly common in Arbory, but is now rare.

+ Four Mast., Vol. I., p. 537.
++ Four Mast. Vol. Ill., p. 609.
O'Donovan, p. 23.

MOORE, contradled from 0 ' Mordha, 'Mordha's descendant.' (Mordha is derived from mór, 'great.')


O'MORDHA is anglicised O'MORE and MORE, which has now usually become MOORE. The O'MORE's were a powerful sept in Ireland.

'JENKIN MOORE, Deemster,'A.D. 1419*

MOORE [1499], MORE [1511].

MORE is the usual form till the end of the 16th Century. It is a common name in Ireland, Scotland, and the North of England, as well as in the Isle of Mann.

Braddan, Santon, Malew, Arbory (vc), Ballaugh, Marown, Maughold, German, Bride, Rushen, Lonan, Patrick, Onchan (c), Michael, Andreas, Jurby (u).

Four Mast., Vol. II., p. 811.

* Statute Law Book, p. 6. This date, though given as 1419, is probably 1499.

KINLEY, contraded from Mac Cinfaolaidh, 'Cinfaoladh's son,' a name which may be translated wolf head' (cean, 'head,'faol, wolf.')

'The first year of CEANNFAOLADR, son of Blathmac, in the Sovereignty of Ireland,' A. D. 670+


Ballaugh, Marown, Andreas, Lezayre, Malew, Santon Lonan (c), elsewhere (u).

+ Four Mast., Vol I., P. 281.
++ Four Mast., Vol. I., p. 18, is given a full account of the curious legend of 'MAC KINEELEY, and his famous cow called glasgaivlen




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