Lá Fhéile Míchíl ~ St Michael's Day or Michaelmas is celebrated on the September 29th. Michaelmas was an important fair day in the Irish farming calendar, as well as in Ireland's administrative and legal calendar.
Such was the Catholic devotion to St. Michael that the name was very often given as a middle name to girls and of course, there was many an Irish nun called Sr. Michael.
How Irish is the name Michael?
Michael has long been a popular given name for Irish boys. But how far back does the tradition of this name go in Ireland?
Devotion to Naomh Michil (St. Michael) the Archangel came to Ireland with the Normans, who established shrines and chapels in his honour across the island. According to Wolfe, it was rare until recent times but was among the most popular Irish boys names by 1923.
Micheál (pronounced Mee-HAWL) or Mícheál (pronounced MEE-hawl) means "..." in Gaelic Irish
In Roman Catholic baptisms (traditionally recorded in Latin) the Gaelic name Mícheál was often recorded as Michaelis / Michaelus or Michaelam.
Click on the links (on the name variants below) to see how they appear on record in the Irish Census of 1901.
|Mícheál||Old Irish||Michael, Michaeal, Micael, Micahael, Micahel, Micel|
|Micheál||Modern Irish||Michael, Michal, Micael, Micil, Mical, Miceal, Miceál|
|Micilín||Little Michael||Mickeleen, Mick|
|Micí||Modern Irish||Mickey, Micky, Michae, Mick, Mic, Mich,|
|Maidhc||Nickname||Mike, Miko, Mico, Micco, Mikey, Myke, Micha|
If you are having difficulty finding him on records, remember that Mick was also a nickname for Cormac/Cormick who often appears on record as Charles.
Michael was a popular middle name too. Irish households often contained relatives of the same name (children named after an unmarried aunt or uncle living with them) and in many cases the child may have gone by their middle name, to avoid confusion. This is worth considering when a match for census records can't be found in baptismal records.
Sometimes census records inverted a double Christian name in error (e.g. Michael Mary misrecorded as "Mary Michael") so keep an eye on gender.
Over to you...
Got a 19th-century Michael or Mick in your family tree? We'd love if you added him to our Ancestors roll-call here: