Name Variants

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  Name Variants, Non-paternal events and name changes

The Eoganacht surnames are being studied through the use of Y-DNA tests. The YDNA tests only the male lineage. The number of matching markers indicates the closeness of the genetic relationship between two families in genealogical time and the approximate time that the families diverged can be estimated. The results for the 67 markers are the most enlightening but 25 or 37 markers can place individuals in a lineage.  

There are numerous reasons why Eoganacht surnames have base haplotypes different than those expected from a family's cultural history. The reasons for the different surnames primarily are:

I want to share with each of you some very interesting information that Susan Hedeen, a M222 researcher, has provided us regarding the diversity of surnames and base haplotypes.  It explains a great deal of why so many Eoganachts have different yDNA base haplotypes than would be expected from the family cultural history.
According to Susan Hedeen:
  • Hereditary surname usage at the earliest began about 1050; however, not everyone was on board with that for at least a couple of hundred years.  Additionally in the beginning, they rarely stuck for more than 2 generations before they changed.  That's just the start. Additionally many if not most of the famous Irish surnames were actually associated with a sept or a tribe who's leader may have gone by a particular "tag" and therefore those with-in that sept often adopted the tag in honor of.  There are various and numerous origins of the same Anglicized surnames today.  Surname usage has been an ever evolving thing...the Gaelic names went through many different conventions and evolutions followed by Anglicization and standardization and registration of those surnames later.  To muddy it up more, migrations and displacements, name changes and assumptions...

    Another misconception, particularly in DNA is that it is assumed that certain tribes and septs had homogenous DNA.  They did not. There may be a majority family, however these people even after Christianity kept concubines, were polygamous previous...both genders and it was normal and accepted...fostered out their children to other allied tribes and many other customs which are foreign to us but perfectly normal in their societies ...just like raiding one another's cattle, blood feuds among kissing cousins to find a common enemy the next day to kiss again and make up.

"...numerous influences upon surnames inclusive of the Ango-Norman invasions and settlement beginning 1169 and the Anglicization of surnames occurring in the 17th and 18th century CE; in more recent times the registration of surnames in Ireland during the mid 1800s (Santry, Claire 2012)  

Non-paternal events:

  • Adoption, stepchildren or other similar reason for diversity in a surname.

  • Deliberate name changes:

    1. Adopting a Eoganacht surname when surnames were being adopted in 1000's AD. 

    2. Taking the surname of a dominant family in order to belong or enjoy protection provided by the surname: "It seems many males picked surnames or were essentially given surnames from the estate on which they lived and worked, but they had no recent relative status to the dominant family owning the estates.  So this cluster analysis is alive and well and could be applied to a popular surname like Sullivan", according to Dr. Ken Nordvedt.

    3. Changing a surname to obscure origin: Irish descendants may have changed their surname in order to assimilate into the U.S. in order to avoid persecution from being Catholic and/or Irish.

    4. Additional non-Sullivan surname matches likely occurred prior to the adoption of surnames in Ireland (900-1100 AD).  Families who lived in the same area without surnames may have adopted surnames when surnames became necessary/required/prevalent based on their current family group rather than the family group based on their DNA origins.

  • "Result of female inheritance in which new surnames could be introduced could be introduced within a Clan noted in "Pursuit of the Heiress: Aristocratic Marriages in Ireland 1740-1840 by APW Malcomson.  Malcomson talks about a practice that was common in the 1700s called cadet inheritance.  Irish women could hold land in their own right, they could pass it down to the second  son in the family (first son always got the father's land and title) provided the second son assumed his mother's family name (i.e., his maternal grandfather's family name). So a genetic second-born son of a Sullivan-Driscoll marriage, for example, might end up a Driscoll.  This may not have happened frequently, but is another route by which "odd" non Sullivan surnames wind up being close matches, and why "Sullivans" end up in "non Sullivan" surname clusters."  Marge Sullivan

  • In the 8th century, after winning victories against other tribes, they would often take over their lands, their names and even their saints according to Professor Lyndon as written by Professor Donnchadh Ó Corráin in his paper "Nationality and Kingship in Pre-Norman Ireland":

    • After this Brecrigi disappear from history. They were totally absorbed by Cenél Maine, a rising branch of Uí Néill who invented a pseudo-eponym for them, Breccán mac Maine, and from the grandson of this Breccán the new ruling family of Brecrigi is said to descend. Not only were the lands of lesser peoples appropriated but the conquerors frequently took over their names and even their tribal saints.

Name variants within a surname:

  • The numerous nicknames Sullivans invented in order to differentiate among their more distant family branches over the centuries or because of a need to differentiate among the many Sullivans in an area or family.  These nicknames would eventually become surnames.

    1. Cadet branches or septs of the main Sullivan clan arose at various points in time as individuals attained fame or settled in certain areas---Sullivan Beare for example settling in Beara peninsula and Bantry in  West Cork. When name variants appeared for Sullivans, sometimes they were used like an additional surname, but sometimes they became surnames in their own right. Examples are: MacGillacuddy, McGrath, Scully, etc., Tiege or Teague,  all of which are connected to the greater O’ Sullivan Clan.

      1. Such as Bowe derived from Sullivan O'Buadhaigh (Bogue).