A new study of one of Europe’s oldest hereditary surname systems may reveal a lot about what’s in an Irish name. The National University of Ireland will spend the next three years examining the centuries-old structure of names in that country to come up with the first-ever atlas of Irish surnames. Through the project, researchers hope to establish the origins of Ireland’s surnames and of ethnic diversity on the island. They’ll also analyze the distribution of surnames during Ireland’s changing times, from 17th-century plantations to 19th-century upheavals to the late 20th century. Read more about the project, and see how certain Irish surnames (such as Collins and Quinn) are spread across the island, at <www.ucc.ie/research/atlas/>.
From the June 2001 issue of Family Tree Magazine