This Irish Genealogy site offers the Irish descendant (from New York, Canada, UK, Australia...) the chance to trace their Irish family tree and search for their surname origins and the records of their Irish ancestor's birth, marriage or death.
The genealogies which appear in this database are taken from the work of
John O’Hart. His Irish Pedigrees or the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation,
to give its full title, is probably the best known Irish genealogical publication
in the world. The first edition appeared in 1876, but was followed by several
subsequent editions that added greatly to the overall size of the work.
The following pedigrees are taken from a limited edition published in New
York in 1923, twenty years after the author’s death. The book also contained
many appendixes of additional information which we hope to publish at a
future date. But for now we make available all the genealogies (over 1,000
of them) which appear in this publication.
John O’Hart was born in Crossmolina, Co. Mayo, in 1824. He received an excellent
education with the intention of joining the priesthood. However, he instead
spent two years in the constabulary (the police), after which he was employed
by the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland from 1845, the first
year of the Famine. He became an Associate in Arts at the Queen’s University,
and thereafter he was an active member of several scholarly societies. He
was an avid genealogist and took a keen interest in Irish history, despite
never receiving formal training as an historian. Politically he was an Irish
nationalist, and in religious matters, a committed Catholic. Both of these
factors permeated his work. He died in 1902 in Clontarf, Co. Dublin, at
the age of 78.
O’Hart used many sources to compile the information that appears in these
pedigrees. His principal sources were Gaelic genealogies, like those of
O’Clery, MacFirbis and O’Farrell. Along with the Gaelic annals, especially
the Annals of the Four Masters, O’Hart was able to ‘reconstruct’ the medieval
and ancient pedigrees that appear here. He also used later sources, like
the works of Burke, Collins, Harris, Lodge and Ware to extend these lineages
into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But arguably the most important
information contained in these genealogies came where O’Hart gathered the
details directly from the families concerned, often from private papers
or family tradition. These sections concern the later period, particularly
post 1800, and are good for many specific localities like western Co. Clare.
There are two types of genealogies in this database, the genealogies of
the Gaelic families and the genealogies of Anglo-Norman and other later
settlers. O’Hart made one important distinction in his treatment of these.
Irish mythology records that every family was descended from a certain Milesius
of Spain who in about 1700 BC led his followers to invade and conquer Ireland.
The Christian monks who wrote these genealogies down in the 9th century,
2,500 years after Milesius, also added their own beliefs. So they recorded
that Milesius was the 36th in descent from Adam! O’Hart, being both an ardent
believer in the Gaelic myths and Christianity, followed their example. In
his Gaelic genealogies a number representing the generation of descent from
Adam precedes every generation. By contrast the Anglo-Normans and later
invaders made no such claims, so O’Hart’s genealogies of these families
do not include these numbers.
It should also be noted that following these mythological genealogies, O’Hart
showed that every Gaelic family was descended from four of Milesius’s family.
These were his three sons, Heber, Ir and Heremon, and his uncle Ithe. These
four were considered the ‘stem’ lines of the genealogies that followed and
are included in this database.
There are several problems that a user of O’Hart’s work should be aware
of. While he undertook a great deal of research, using the majority of available
published sources, many Gaelic scholars have superseded his work over the
last 100 years. He was not familiar with the abundant unpublished Gaelic
manuscript sources available. These have shown that many of his genealogies
are incorrect for the years prior to 1600 AD. Furthermore, O’Hart was not
a professional historian or genealogist, and had little training in using
the esoteric sources he consulted. As a consequence he misunderstood a great
deal about Gaelic society and culture, a world which had largely disappeared
from Ireland long before he put pen to paper. He was also credulous in using
the sources he did consult, believing that the myths were fact.
Despite these limitations, careful use of his work can be very productive.
His genealogies for the years after 1600 have great value, and are often
unavailable elsewhere. He was also able to consult many sources which have
since been destroyed or lost. In the words of Edward MacLysaght, Ireland’s
most famous authority on the history of surnames, he ‘made use of it [O’Hart]