Tuesday, 31 August, 2021
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Perplexed by how your ancestor could have so many aliases? Our unique index to those elusive old girls' Irish names is particularly useful where an individual does not appear on record as expected.

Many native, old Irish (pre-Norman) origin given names were still popular first names for baby girls in 19th-century Ireland. Discover how these names were disguised by Latin and English "translations" to break down that Irish Genealogy brick wall.

Old Irish Names for Girls & their aliases

Introduction

When Christianity was introduced to Ireland, some old Gaelic names became more popular because they sounded similar to saints' names e.g. Treasa > Teresa | Máiréad > Margaret | Áine > Anna.

In the early 20th century, confidence in the official use of one's authentic Irish (Gaelic) personal name grew.  So, in the Census of Ireland for example, a given name may have been recorded in English in 1901, but in Irish (or alternative spelling) in 1911.

In addition, your ancestor may have been recorded under a nickname (or childhood pet name e.g. Ellie, Nellie) in one census and by their formal name (e.g. Ellen, Helen, Eleanor) in another. The following index will prove invaluable if you are struggling to find an ancestor on record.  Few nicknames were exclusive to one Irish name, so keep note of any nickname that can be shared by multiple given names. 

To facilitate your Irish ancestry research, we will continue to update this index with as many known spelling variations as possible. To contribute to this resource, click HERE

READ Insights: Old Irish First Names & aliases


Index Guide

Format: Original Gaelic Irish name >  how it was recorded in Latin (italics) > all known variations in English (to include nicknames). 

  • Links to the 1901 Census have been included for the most popular spelling variant. 

  • County of origin has been included as a hint where the association is significant.  

Please note:

  • Some letters in the English alphabet do not occur in Gaelic Irish.   

  • Old Gaelic Irish names were often batched together and disguised by one shared Anglicisation.

  • To flag this, some Gaelic Irish names (from entirely different roots) have been combined in the same box.

  • Gaelic Irish names were Latinized as the priest saw fit. So an individual may appear in the same parish register under as many variants as there were priests.

  • Use of the Latin form of a Gaelic Irish name was not exclusive to church records e.g. Bidelia 

  • Some of these varied forms became popular Irish American girls' names.

The key takeaway is, of course, that a Gaelic name could have been recorded under a variety of "translations" (one individual could have multiple aliases) depending on the transcriber. 

To add to this index, please click HERE


How to Search the Irish Girls' name index

To search for a particular Irish name or nickname (without having to scroll) use the FIND function on a desktop PC. The following keyboard shortcut will open a search/ find window:

  1. Hold down the CTRL key [Mac = command].

  2. Press F.

  3. Type in the name (or part of) and press RETURN.

  4. No results? Re-try using a partial spelling of the name. 

  5. To submit a query or a suggestion, click here


POPULAR / COMMON IRISH GIRLS' NAMES INDEX OF GAELIC ORIGIN IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

A

Ailbhe, Oilbhe  (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Albea

Anglicized: Alvy, Elva, Olive, Olivia

Nicknames:  Bea

Notes: also a boys' name

Aifric (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Affrica, Africa

Anglicized: Aphria

Aine (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Anna, Annae, Annam

Anglicized: Anne, Ann, Hannah

Nicknames: Nan, Nannie, Nanny, Nancy, Nansí, Neansí, Nance, Nanno, Nano, Honny, Nancy, Nan, Nanny, Naney, Nannie.

Notes: see also: Ancestors-named-Anne-or-Nan

Aislinn, Aisling (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Ester

Anglicized: Esther, Ashling, Hester

Nicknames: Ash, Essie, Essy

Aithche (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Atia, Acia

Anglicized: Atty, Alicia

Aoibheann, Aibfinn (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Aibfinnia

Anglicized: Eavan, Yvonne

Nicknames: Evan, Evey, Evie, Evelyn, Eveline, Evelina

Aoife (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Eva

Anglicized: EvaEve

Nicknames: Aifa, Aife, Evie, Evey, Evy,

​Athracht (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Attracta

Anglicized: Attracta


B

Bean Mhumhan (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: 

Anglicized: Benvon

Nicknames: Benna, Benie, Bency​

Bean Mhidhe (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: 

Anglicized: Benvy

Nicknames: Benna, Benie, Bency, Benery, Benry

Béibhinn (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: 

Anglicized: Bevin, Vivian Vivienne

Nicknames: Bevan, Babeen, Babbie, Baby, Babe, Bab, Baveen

Blinne, Bluins​e (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Moninna

Anglicized: Blanche, Blanch

Bláth (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Flora

Anglicized: Flora

Nicknames: Flo, Flossie, Flors

Bláthnaid, Bláthnait (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Florentia

Anglicized: Florence

Nicknames: Flo, Flossie, Flors

Bríd (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Bidelia, Brigida, Phidelia

Anglicized: Bridget, Brigid, Delia, Breeda

Nicknames: Biddy, Breege, Bride, Bridie, Bessie, Dina, Delia, Dilly, Dillie, Beesy, Dina, Bedina, Cordelia

Notes: see also Ancestors-named-Brigid


C

Caoilfhionn (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Coelfinnia

Anglicized: Keelin

Nicknames: Keelie, Keely, Keeleen

Caoimhe (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Pulcheria

Anglicized: Keavy , Keavah

Nicknames: Keevie, Keevy

Ciannat (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Ciannata

Anglicized: Kinnat, Keenat

Clíona (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: 

Anglicized: Cleena, Cliona, Cliodhna, Clionadh, Cliodna, Kleena


D

Dairíne (Original Gaelic)

Anglicized: Darina, Darene, Dareen

Nicknames: Reena, Rina, Reeny, Darry, Darrie, Dereenie

Damhnait (Original Gaelic)

Latinized:  Dymphna

Anglicized: Devnet, Downet, Dymphna

Dearbháil, Deirbhile (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Dervilia

Anglicized: Derval, Dervilia

Nicknames: Derv, Dervy, Dervie

Deirdre (Original Gaelic)

Anglicized: Deirdre, Derdra

Nicknames: Dee, Dedrie, Deerdry

Doireann (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Dorinnia

Anglicized: Dorren, Dorothy, Darina

Nicknames: Dora, Doreen, Dolly, Dot, Dotty


E

Éadaoin (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Edwina

Anglicized: Aideen, Edwina

Earnait (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Ernata

Anglicized: Ernet 

Etáin (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: 

Anglicized: Etaun

Nicknames: Etty

Eithne (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Ethnea

Anglicized: Ethna, Eithne, Enya

Nicknames: Etney, Annie


F

​Fainche (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Fanchea

Anglicized: Fauncha

Nicknames: Fanny

Faoiltighearna (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Failtigerna

Anglicized: Whiltierna

Fiadhnait (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Fiadnata

Anglicized: Feenat, Feena

​Fionnuala, Fionnghuala (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Finguala, Finola

Anglicized: Finola, Nuala, Penelope

Nicknames: Fionna, Flora, Nuala, Nappy, Nappa, Nell, Nelly, Penny

Notes: The Children of Lir


G

Gobnait (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Abigail, Gobnata

Anglicized: Abigail, Deborah, Gobinet, Gobnet

Nicknames: Abbi, Abbie, Abby, Abina, Bena, Bina, Debbie, Debby, Gail, Gubbie, Gubby, Libby, Nabbie, Nabby, Webbie, Webby

Notes: Saint Gobnait

​Gormlaith, Gormfhlaith​ (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Gormlata

Anglicized: Gormlaith, Gormley, Barbara

Nicknames: Barbary, Babs, Babeen, Barb, Babbie, Baby, Babe, Bab

Gráinne (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Grania, Gratia

Anglicized: Grace, Gertrude

Nicknames: Gertie, Gerry, Jerry, Trudy, Trudie, Grissel, Grizel, Grizzel

Notes: The Pursuit of Diarmuid & Grainne


H

Hilde (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Hilda

Anglicized: Hilda

Nicknames: Hildy, Hillie, Hilly


I

Íde, Míde (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Ita, Mita

Anglicized: Ita, Ida, Eda

Nicknames: Itie, Edie, Edy, Meeda, Meedy


L

Lasairfhíona (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Lassarina

Anglicized: Lassarina

Nicknames: Feena, Fíona

Luighseach, Laoiseach (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Lugsecha

Anglicized: Lucinda, Lucia

Nicknames: Lisa, Lucy, Lou, Louie, Luey


M

Márgrég (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Margarita

Anglicized: Margaret

Nicknames: Maggie, Molly, Minnie, Maighréad, Greta

Méabh, Meadhbh (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Bena, Maud, Bina, Mabel, Margery, Marjory, Madge

Anglicized: Meave

Nicknames: Maud, Bina, Mabel, Margery, Marjory, Madge, Méibhinn

Notes: The Cattle Raid of Cooley

Mealla (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Mella

Anglicized: Mella

Nicknames: Mellie, Melly

Moncha (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Monica

Anglicized: Monica

Nicknames: Mon, Monnie, Monny

Mór, Móire (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Mora

Anglicized: More, Mora

Nicknames: Martha, Marta, Martie, Marty, Martle, Martly, Mary, Agnes

Muadhnait (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Muadnata

Anglicized: Monat, Mona

Nicknames: Mo

Muireann, Muirinn, Murainn (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Murinnia

Anglicized: Morinn, Marion

Nicknames: Madge, Mo

Muirgheal (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Murgela

Anglicized: Murel, Muriel

Nicknames: Murie, Mury, Mel, Ella, Murial


N

Neasa (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Nesia

Anglicized: Nessa, Nesa

Nicknames: Ness, Nessie, Neassa, Neas

Notes: The Ulster Cycle

Niamh (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Nabitha

Anglicized: Neeve, Neve, Niav

Nicknames: Neevy, Ninnie, Ninny, Niney, Nevia, Niva, Neeves, Nives, Niveen, Neeveen, Nivin

Notes: The Legend of Tír na nÓg


O

Odharnait (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Odarnata

Anglicized: Ornat, Orna, Eorna

Nicknames: Ornie, Orney

Notes: 

Órla, Órfhlaith (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Orlata

Anglicized: Orla


R

Rathnait (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Ratnata

Anglicized: Renny

Nicknames: Rennie

Ríonach (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Regnacia

Anglicized: Regina, Riona

Nicknames: Reena, Reenie, Reeny, Reg, Ina

Notes: short for Catherine/ Caitriona


S

Sadhbh, Sabha​ (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Sabia

Anglicized: Sarah, Sive, Sabina, Sophia

Nicknames: Sally, Sal, Sophie, Sophy, Sarah, Sibby, Sibbie, Bee, Bina, Sadie

Notes: Saidhbhín

Sláine (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Slania

Anglicized: Slany

Sorcha (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Sorcha

Anglicized: Clara, Sarah

Nicknames: Sorca, Sorsha, Sally, Sal, Sadie


T

Treasa, Treise (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Teresia

Anglicized: Teresa, Theresa

Nicknames: Tess, Tessie, Tressa, Tressy, Toireasa, Treise, Treesy, Terry


U

Úna (Original Gaelic)

Latinized: Una

Anglicized: Winifred, Agnes, Oonagh

Nicknames: Oona, Unity, Winny, Winnie, Aggie


Can't find your Irish ancestor's name? 

Some popular Irish Gaelic girls' names won't appear on this "Old Irish" list if introduced later by the Normans e.g.

  • Siobhán (Jeanne > Siobhan, Shivaun, Shevaun, Johanna, Judy, Judith),

  • Síle (Caelia > Celia, Sheila, Shelagh, Sheelagh, Cecilia), and

  • Sinéad (Janette > Sinead, Jane, Jean, Jennifer).

Our index to Irish Christian names of Norman origin is coming soon. For notification, be sure to sign-up / join here.


Over to you...

Got any of these names in your family tree? We'd love if you added them to our Ancestors roll-call here:


Help improve this Index

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What Next?

BACK TO Old Irish First Names & aliases

READ MORE  Irish Naming & Baptism Traditions |  Irish Surnames 101


Sources