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Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland
V. Tribal Nomenclature

English), or by phonetic approximation (e.g., "0 Cearnaigh" in Gaelic became "O’Carney" in English), or by "attraction," in which case a family’s name was translated (by them or for them) by using a common English name of roughly similar sound (e.g., "0 hUiginn"—O’Higgin—became "Higgins").

Regarding tribal and clan names, these also indicate descent: "cineal," "clann" and "corca" generally translate as meaning the progeny or kindred of the ancestor whose name follows. Similarly, "dal" means "tribe of," "muintear" means "family of," "siol," seed or progeny, "ui," grandsons or descendants, and so forth. Likewise, terminal affixes such as "-acht," "-na," "-ne," "-raighe" in. dicate descent from the name which precedes. "Fir" or "feara" means "men of," and is used in clan names which make reference to territories.

As for the families and the area and time covered, with the exception of a few merchant families, and some Anglo-Norman families around Dublin, the entirety of Gaeldom in 1500 was under the political dominance of the families dealt with in Part 11. As a genealogical note, it should be stated that descent from these families is a thing to be particularly proud of, for these were the chiefly families whose actions molded the history of Ireland and Scotland. For such families, a code of honor went hand-in-hand with their royal or noble status, and was a major force in the Gaelic ethos, though there were of course exceptions. Family standards of ability and conduct were set generation by generation, and such kin groups were expected, as a matter of blood, to live up to the precedents set by their ancestors and maintain or advance the family’s honor and position within the Gaelic tribal aristocracy. Such is the stuff of history.

These Gaelic aristocratic families tended to be very prolific, having large families and often producing children by mistresses as well. As a result, there tends to be a redundancy of patrilineally-traced royal blood in Gaeldom, as men of the commoner sort tended to lose out in the numerical contest of fatherhood, especially over time.

The next five chapters (each beginning with a genealogical chart) provide concise histories of the individual families and of their respective sub-tribal and clan groups. Appendix I lists the coats of arms of the families dealt with in these five chapters, and Appendix 11 contains a list of comprehensive surnames.

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