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Latin Translation

The article on Irish names and their Latin equivalents was very interesting but one that I have been unable to find any information on is 'Modestum'. Even searching a Latin dictionary hasn't made me any wiser. Found in Baptismal records of West Limerick, I suspect it was an attempt to 'latinise' the name Morgan. I wonder has anyone else come across this name and if so how did they interpret Modestum? Anne M





Anne M

Monday 21st October 2019, 01:24AM

Message Board Replies

  • I've never seen that as a given name before, but the priests who chose to use Latinized first/given names in parish registers were not always cinsistent in the way they did so, so the name might have been used for various names beginning with an "m".

    There was an 8th century Irish missionary to the Slavs of Carinthia (Kärnten in modern-day Austria, now a German-speaking area) whose name was Modestus (also called the Apostle of Carinthia), and I believe that Modestum would be the form used in saying in Latin "I baptized Modestus", which might be abbreviated as "Bap[t] Modestum" (my Latin grammar is not very good).  The priest may have known the story of Modestus, and - as you suggested - used it for a name like Morgan.

    Morgan is actually a Welsh name, a given name which also developed into a surname (Ap Morgan).. The surname is found in several places in Ireland, and surnames were sometimes used as given names, although that was much less common among Catholics, at least until the 20th century.  According to MacLysaghts Surnames of Ireland, the Welsh surname Morgan was sometimes used to anglicize the Irish surnames Ó Muireagáin {also anglicized as Merrigan) and Ó Murcháin {also anglicized as Morahan).


    Monday 21st October 2019, 10:22PM
  • Thanks Miriam and Kevin. My apologies for my delay in responding.

    Miriam, the context was the baptism at Shanagolden on 29 March 1927 as follows

    " Modestum  f.leg. Stephane Mulcare et Margarita Cummane. Sponsores erant Phillipus Mulcare et Allicia Connell.  P Reeves " which I interpret as Morgan legitimate son of Stephen Mulcare and Margaret Cummane. Sponsors were Phillip Mulcare and Alice Connell. P Reeves was I believe the priest who conducted the baptism.

    Your comments re the origin of the name Modestus were very interesting thank you Kevin and a likely explanation for the use of the name here. Regards, Anne M.





    Anne M

    Sunday 24th November 2019, 01:13AM