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I wonder if anyone knows of a book or a web site where I may research typical nicknames used in Ireland (such as Ann being a shortened version of Anastasia or Hannah)?  Or a book that gives the Irish form of names?

I'd appreciate your suggestion.



Monday 28th Aug 2017, 04:45PM

Message Board Replies

  • This link gives you the Irish form of many common names. It doesn't particualrly cover nicknames, or diminutive names.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 28th Aug 2017, 05:16PM
  • I've been collecting nicknames and name variants from various places as I do my genealogical reserach.  Here's what I have so far:

    Boys’ Nicknames

    Alistair  =  Alexander

    Bartle, Bartly, Bat, Batty  =  Bartholomew.

    Castor  =  Christopher

    Con, Corny  =  Conor [Corny is from Latin form:  Cornelius]

    Daniel  =  David (due to poor penmanship and misreading or miscopying)

    David  =  Daniel (due to poor penmanship and misreading or miscopying)

    Darby  =  Dermot

    Edward  =  Edmond, Eamon (due to phonetic similarity)

    Gerald  =  Garrett, Gerard, Gerailt, Gearoid

    Jacob  =  James (because of Latin form Jacobus)

    Kit  =  Christopher

    Lack and Lacky  =  Laughlin

    Neily  =  Cornelius

    Patrick  =  Bartholomew (through confusion of respective diminutives Pat and Bat)

    Roddy, Rory  =  Roderick

    Sandy  =  Alexander

    Owen  =  Eugene (both being used as translations of the Irish Eoghain)

    Peter  =  Patrick (in Ulster)

    Theobold  =  Tobias (because of shared diminutive = Toby)

    Toby  =  Theobold



    Danl, Dan  =  Daniel

    Jas, Js  =  James

    Jer, Dem  =  Dermot, Jeremiah [from Demetrius]

    Jno, Jn  =  Jonathan, John

    Jos  =  Joseph

    Lau  =  Lawrence [from Laurentius]

    Matt  =  Matthew

    Mich, Michl, Mick  =  Michael

    Nics, Nich  =  Nicholas

    Patt  =  Patrick

    Thos  =  Thomas

    Wm  =  William


    Girls’ Names/Nicknames

    Alice  =  Ellen (due to the diminutive Eily for the Irish names Eilis and Eileen)

    Abigail  =  Deborah (due to the similarity of their respective diminutives)

    Abbie and Debbie  =  Gubbie (the diminutive of the Irish Gobnet or Gobinet)

    Ant, Anty, Ally  =  Anastasia, Anastatia, Anstace

    Beesy  =  Bridget

    Bess, Bessie, Betsy  =  Elizabeth

    Biddy, Biddie, Brid, Bride  =  Bridget

    Bridget  =  Bedelia, Delia, Bessy

    Centy  =  Hyacinth

    Eliza, Liza, Lizzie  =  Elizabeth

    Fanny  =  Frances

    Giles  =  Cecily, Cecilia, Celia, Julia (as renderings of the Irish Sheelagh)

    Grizell  =  Grace (In Ulster)

    Gubbie  =  Gobinet, Deborah, Debbie

    Hannah, Hanna  =  Honora, Johanna, Anna

    Honor, Honny, Onny, Noey, Norah  =  Honora, Honoria

    Jane, Jean, Joan  =  Joan, Jean (all rendered Johanna in Latin)

    Jude, Judith, Judy  =  Julia (due to similarity of their diminutives Judy and Julie)

    Jude, Judy, Juggy  =  Judith

    Maggie, Maggyy  =  Margaret

    Molly, Mally, May  =  Mary

    Nancy, Nance, Nanny  =  Anne, Hannah

    Nappy  =  Nuala, Fionnuala

    Nell, Nelly  =  Ellen, Eleanor, Helen [from Latin Helena, Eleanora]

    Noey, Norah, Onny  =  Honora, Honoria

    Peg, Peggy  =  Margaret

    Polly  =  Mary, Martha

    Sally  =  Sarah, Sorcha

    Susan  =  Johanna (a rendering of the Irish Siobhán)


    Latin Forms of Names.  Baptisms and marriages were recorded in either Latin or English, never in Irish.  Generally, where English was more common English was used and Latin was used in Irish speaking parishes.  There is however, no consistency.  The Latin version of the first name was given while the surname and place name were still written in English.

    For Boys:

    Carolus  =  Charles

    Cornelius  =  Latin form used for the Irish name Conor (Conchobar), which has also been anglicized as Cornelius, Conor, and sometimes Neil or Neily.

    Demetrius  =  Latinized form of the Irish name Diarmaid, which has been anglicized as Dermot, Jeremiah, Jerome, Jerry, and even Darby.

    Dionysius  =  Latinized form of the Irish name Donncha, which has been anglicized as Denis

    Donatius  =  Daniel

    Eneas  =  Latinized form of the Irish name Aonghus, which has been anglicized as Angus

    Eugenius  =  Latinized form of the Irish name Eoghan, which has been anglicized as Owen

    Gulielmus  =  William, Liam

    Hugones  =  Latinized form of the Irish name Aodh, which has been anglicized as Hugh

    Nigellus  =  Neil, Niall

    Ioannes  =  Latinized form of the Irish names Seán and Eoghan, which have been anglicized as John and Owen

    Jacobus  =  Latinized form of the Irish names Seamus, which has been anglicized as Jacob or James

    Johanes, Joannes  =  Latinized form of the Irish names Seán and Eoghan, which have been anglicized as John and Owen

    Kyrianus  =  Kieran

    Patricius / Patritius  =  Patrick

    Randolphus  =  Randall, Randolph: Ralph

    Timotheus, Thaddeus  =  Tadgh, Thady, Timothy


    For Girls:

    Anna  =  Ann(e)

    Brigida / Brigita  =  Bridget

    Honoria  =  Hannah, Nora, Norry

    Ioanna  =  Latinized form of the Irish name Siobhán, which has been anglicized as Johanna, Hannah, Joan, and Jane

    Johana  =  Latinized form of the Irish name Siobhán, which has been anglicized as Johanna, Hannah, Joan, and Jane

    Juliana  =  Julia

    Margarita  =  Margaret, Peg (Peig is actually the Irish name for Margaret)

    Maria  =  Latinized form of the Irish name Máire, which has been anglicized as Mary or Marie




    Tuesday 29th Aug 2017, 12:57AM
  • Sorry about the multiple-line spacing.  Not sure how that happened and I can't seem to revise it.


    Tuesday 29th Aug 2017, 01:02AM
  • Lacky = Malachy

    Judith in Irish = Siobhan

    Penny = Penelope

    Gerard, Parish Liaison Lackagh

    Sunday 10th Sep 2017, 08:50PM
  • Many thanks for the information!  This is just what I have been looking for.  



    Wednesday 13th Sep 2017, 10:58AM
  • Here's a unique index to the most perplexing nicknames and aliases for Irish boys names of "old Irish" Gaelic origin:…

    Rua, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘︎

    Saturday 19th Oct 2019, 02:14AM
  • Has anyone run across the name Welch (Walsh, Welsh) as a given name?  His children were born in County Leitrim and I'm thinking this was a nickname, perhaps  he came from Wales???  Thanks for your time.  



    Sunday 20th Oct 2019, 12:28AM

    Had a great time searching for " Charles "  given as his father's name by my great grandfather, Denis and recorded on his marriage certificate in London in 1871.  Couldn't find a Charles having  a son Denis anywhere in the parishes that they were meant to come from in south west Cork.  Then found a possibility for the correct date in Muintervara, a Charles who, on the baptismal entries for his older children was listed as CAIN !  then on his marriage as KEANE, and when he died his name was given as Keane.  I think that it would properly have been CIAN.  So this man went from Keane at his marriage to Cain for his first children, then after the family moved parishes from Schull East and then Schull West to end up near Durrus in the parish of Muintervara.  Perhaps the parish priest there was keen on Aglicising names??



    Monday 21st Oct 2019, 10:07AM
  • regarding "IrelandXO Insight - Old Irish first names and aliases"

    Would you people be able to answer a question about the term "alias" as it was used 200 years ago, please?
    I have a wedding document which gives the name of the bride as "Elizabeth McKelvy alias McKeen" (written in 1835)

    What did the priest mean by that notation?
    Thank you for helping me

    Richard Boyd


    Tuesday 22nd Oct 2019, 01:42PM
  • Hello Richard,  I have always been told that the term  " alias  "  should be read as referring to the woman's maiden name, i.e. her father's name.  This is how my great grandmother was named at her marriage in Wexford Town.  She was a widow when she married, and the entry read:   " Mary Furlong alias Rossiter  "  so she had married a man named Furlong but her own name was Rossiter.  

    Therefore your Elizabeth would have been Elizabeth McKeen who had married a McKelvy, who unfortunately died.

    Hope this helps,




    Tuesday 22nd Oct 2019, 05:37PM
  • To add to your index of English variants of traditional Irish boys' names, for Muircheartach, I have come across Mortagh, Murtagh, and Morty in records from Killinaboy Parish, Clare, in addition to those you've listed. I've also seen it Latinized as Morteus.


    Tuesday 11th Feb 2020, 01:27AM


    Hi,  thank you for the above nicknames and other naming traditions. Kevin45fsl that is a great list you have put together.  

    I have a ggg-grandfather with a name that doesn't fit traditional naming patterns or at least I don't think so.  Dowling Wall, b about 1778, possibly Old Leighlin; d. sometime in 1838 and buried in Rathelin, County Carlow.  It appears he married, raised a family and lived in Co.Carlow.  Church records show his children where baptized in the parish of Dunleckney, or Old Leighlin, C. Carlow.  

    I would love to hear from anyone who can shed some light or have thoughts on the origin of his given name.  Between the 1800's to current days there were many Wall families living in C. Carlow as well as many Dowling families.  Could Dowling Wall's mother been a Dowling ?  I haven't found any evidence to support it though.  His name has been spelled "Dooling" as well.  Looking foorward to hearing your thoughts.




    Wednesday 12th Feb 2020, 04:36PM
  • Hi Anne

    Dowling was an Anglicisation of the ancient Irish personal name Dúnlang.

    Having said that, any Gaelic first name beginning with D could have been disguised as Dowling in English. He may have been Dualta or even Donncha for example. I wouldn't rule out Dennis as an alias. Take a look at all the D names in our index.

    Rua, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘︎

    Thursday 13th Feb 2020, 12:58PM
  • Ellen,

    Thanks for the additional aliases for Murtagh... Much appreciated!

    Rua, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘︎

    Thursday 13th Feb 2020, 01:00PM


    Thank you so very much for your response to my question regarding  Dowling Wall and the origin of his first name.  I believe this new information will be helpful with my continued search for Dowling's family which I now more than ever believe is County Carlow is his birthplace.

    Again thank you!  You may have helped me break down a 10 year brick wall.

    Sincerely,  Anne



    Friday 14th Feb 2020, 05:20PM
  • Is Albeus (Latin) for Ailbe instead of Albertus?  See and



    Thursday 20th Feb 2020, 08:52PM

    I don't have an answer but a similar question. Which Irish form of Joseph was used for personal names? I have two great-grandfathers named John Joseph. I am wondering if one form is reserved for Saint Joseph like one form  NM of Mary is reserved for Saint Mary  

    Also, what about Jane?  I have a great-grandmother named Mary Jane. Would that be Siobhan or Sinead?  Her birth certificate reads Maria Johanna.

    Thank you 

    Kind regards,




    Tuesday 11th Aug 2020, 08:17PM
  • So I have my great X3 grandmother in Magherafelt, County Derry. It's not an Irish name but it's still confusing. She is baptized there in 1834 as Martha Black. But through her life we see not only Martha, but Matty, and oft times, Mathilda. The latter, for me, seems closer to Matty than Martha. So, my question is: could she have been all three, or was there confusion between Martha ansd Mathilda, and is she either just Martha or just Mathilda, with Matty serving as the diminutive?


    Thursday 8th Oct 2020, 07:51AM
  • The Irish name Maitilde dates back to when the Normans came to Ireland (based on the Norman-French name Mathilde), and anglicized forms are/were Mathilda, Matilda, Matty (as a diminutive), and even Maud, harking back to the time of the Empress Maud (Mathilde), the mother of King Henry II of England.  According to Woulfe's Irish Names for Children, however, the name never became all that popular in Ireland.  There was an ancient Irish given name for women Mór (meaning "great"), which led to Móire (Moira), but became subsumed in many cases into the more common name Máire (Mary).  However, sometimes it ended up being anglicized as Martha (or the Irish form, Marta).  People sometimes altered the anglicized form of their name as time went on, perhaps because they had not personally chosen the original anglicization themselves.  For example, a baby girl might be given the Irish name Sorcha by her parents, but the priest insisted on writing it down as Sarah when she was baptized (the Irish name is totally unrelated to the Bibllical name Sarah).  The family may never have actually calleed her Sarah, and then later in life she may have chosen to use Sally instead, because it was more popular or she just liked it better.  Something like that may have happened in the case you mentioned.


    Thursday 8th Oct 2020, 06:48PM
  • The name "Elly"- can you tell me if it's male or female AND what the name is abbreviated from! So many thanks!!!!


    Thursday 24th Dec 2020, 06:29PM
  • What about t Geo for George- I find this multiple times? Sandy 



    Tuesday 29th Dec 2020, 04:31PM
  • Geo isn’t a nickname. It’s an abbreviation, commonly used in official documents. Other examples are Wm for William, Andw for Andrew, Jno for John.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Wednesday 30th Dec 2020, 11:26AM
  • While searching information on old Irish names I have come across the following - the name as Gaeilge, the pronunciation and then the meaning -

    Girls names:

    Seamaisíona - Shay-ma-shee-na – supplanter, may God protect
    Bébhaill - Bay-vill – like the wind
    Cadhla - Kay-la, Kolla, Ky-la – beautiful or graceful
    Forlaith - Fer-la, Orlaith – golden queen
    Ibernia - Eye-burn-ee-a – from Ireland
    Iseult - Ee-sult – Irish mythological princess
    Iesult - Izz-ult – ruler of the ice
    Kentigerna - Kin-ti-gur-na – kind ruler
    Labhaoise - La-vee-sha, La-wee-sha, Lee-sha – warrior maiden
    Réitlín/Réiltín - Rayt-leen/Rail-teen – little star
    Searc - Shark – love and affection
    Tuathla/Túath/Tuala/Tuathflaith - Too-a-la – princess of the people
    Tuilelaith - Too-li-laya/Til-a-la/Tallulah – princess of abundance
    Síohmha - Síthmaith - Sith = peace, Maith = good – good peace
    Mealla - Mella, Meh-la – sweetness or lightning
    Róinseach - Rone-shack – rón = Seal
    Céibhfhionn - Kay-vee-un, Kay-vin, Kay-von – fair locks
    Eriu - Eh-ru – Irish goddess, Erin
    Lúile - Loo-la – child with thick hair

    Boys names:

    Don Cuan - Don-Coo-Un – little brown wolf (donn = brown, chin = little wolf)
    Áed (Aodh) - Ay, Ayd – fire
    Saebhreaathach - Seev-Ra-Huck – noble judge (soar = noble, breathe = judge), Justin
    Conchobar - Cun-i-ver, Con-co-var,Con-co-bar, Cru-hoor , Conor – Lover of canines
    Oengus, Angus - En-guss – one strength (son = excellent, gus = strength)
    Rochadh - Ruc-ah -– battle (plus variants)
    Ámhra - Aw-Vra – very wonderful, noble distinguished person
    Gruagh - Groo-Ah – giant
    Levin - Sle-Vin – mountain or mountain climber
    Mathghamhain – Mack-a-Von, Ma-Hon - bear
    Setanta - Se-Tan-Ta – son of Sualtam
    Ardkill (Cillian) - Ard-Kill – from the high church
    Ockey, Ochaid, Eochaid - Ock-ee, Oak-aa, Ow-kidge – horseman
    Críostóir - Cree-stow-er – Christ-bearer
    Ailbi, Ailbhe - Ayl-bee, Ayl-beh – white hawk, intelligent, noble
    Nuada - Noo-a-da – protector or to acquire
    Labhrás - La-oh-ross – from Laurentium
    MaoilSeachlainn - Mwale-hock-lin, Mwale-shock-lin, Mee-hack-lin – servant of St. Seachnaill
    Burne - burn, byrne – from the brook


    I trust this will be of interest to anyone searching this type of information.


    Thursday 28th Jul 2022, 10:37AM
  • Thanks to IrelandXO for this site and this thread.  My question is slightly off-topic but still related and I wonder if anyone has any suggestions:

    My gg grandfather, John O'Brien and his wife Ann, emigrated to upstate New York just prior to the great famine, giving birth to Patrick Henry O'Brien in 1844.  The most promising US Census entry that could be him and his family in 1850 is headed by a "James" O'Brien.  A paid researcher insists that this is almost certainly the same person. 

    Apart from the simple possibility of the census taker writing down the wrong name, I wondered if there was a more traditional pattern behind it- say, "John James" or "James John."  But in every other record, including baptismal certificates for his children, he is listed as John.  The strongest candidate for his early years in Ireland were in Fethard, Tipperary, where his father was also apparently called John, which would eliminate the "John James" possibility as a means of identifying his father.

    This may just be random, but I wondered if anyone had any insight into how the two names might have been used interchangeably.  Thank you.


    Thursday 28th Jul 2022, 02:56PM
  • Hello, does anyone know what Teag means? On a 1876 list of landowners in Co Derry I have William Moore - Teag.


    On 1858 Griffiths I have Edward Moore - Ned. Does Ned distinguish him from other Edwards or indicate his father was Edward or another explanation? This is in Co Derry in Carrowreagh or Carrowclare. 


    Marilyn Long


    Thursday 28th Jul 2022, 11:27PM
  • Hi

    Is there an Irish name for Lydia?




    Saturday 30th Jul 2022, 06:12PM
  • re:  "John O'Brien and his wife Ann..."  and Census record for 1850 headed by a "James" O'Brien

    Can suggest that depending on the style and clarity of the handwriting for "Joannis" , a transcriber could read "nn" as "m", and make a written record of the head of household as James.

    First rule:  Irrespective of the name provided on paper or spoken, the cleric/clerk/recorder/official will write down as he/she hears or reads.  

    Cross-check:  Assume this paid researcher is correct, and James is your man & family in that Census. Is there any other family line descended from this James that is clearly unrelated to you?  

    In short, *assume true, until proved to the contrary.

    * Mathematics:  form of proof is known as reductio ad absurdum 

    NB. If consulting, take note of their 'Alert'.  If needing other references, consult mathematical logic texts.




    Sunday 21st Aug 2022, 01:01AM
  • Can anyone tell me the meaning of the name belinda ? I came across it in the parish records for gallen and Reynagh, also the name aminan or animan (hard to decipher)  thanks


    Wednesday 24th Aug 2022, 06:57PM
  • Many thanks for your suggestion Elwyn, XO Volunteer! 

    These lists are very helpful. My grandmother's name is Anne Campion on her marriage record (1893) and her father's name appears to be listed on the marriage cert as Kiernan (or could it be Harnon?) Campion.  Unfortunately, I've been unable to find a birth record for Anne with Kiernan as her father.  I did find an Anastasia with Kyran as the father.  Could that be my Anne, with variations in spelling/anglicizations?  I'm attaching a copy of the marriage record, as well as the record (image unavailable) of the baptism record.  Any help will be greatly appreciated.




    Saturday 15th Oct 2022, 01:12PM
  • I was wondering if someone named Patrick would ever be referred to as James? I was told my great grandfather was James Clune who married Mary Ryan and had seven children from County Clare but in researching I found a Mary Ryan who had 7 children but it said her husband was Patrick Clune.

    Alice MacKenzie

    Thursday 20th Oct 2022, 02:50PM
  • When I was about 2 evidently I called myself Biddy and told everyone that was my name! I was baptised Sheila Mary (Power). My parents didn’t know where I got the name Biddy from. All my ancestors were Irish but we live in Australia. A mystery!


    Friday 14th Jul 2023, 09:32PM
  • My mother's first or "Christian" as it was often called was Doris, but her nickname was Dorie. She was referred to as Dorie by her father who was of Irish decent - County Cavan, by the time she was six years old. She enjoyed being called Dorie by friends and family.



    Monday 18th Dec 2023, 02:40PM

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