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A Genealogical History of Irish Families

With their Crests and Armorial Bearings

 by John Rooney (1895)

In this self published book the author lists a large number of Irish family names with origin stories and reference to notable historic figures that bore the name along with associated arms.

It should be noted that the author appears to have been a ardent believer in the Milesian pseudo-history of medieval Christian writers.

None of the history dating before the medieval period should be taken as fact without additional research, nevertheless, these stories are part of the narrative that the Irish people told themselves about their history up until the 19th century.

Definitely review the wikipedia page Milesians (Irish)

The author appears to know little about heraldry, referring to arms and crests interchangeably as crests, with some of the arms being referenced for more than one family. That aside, he seems to have had a competent armorist prepare the illustrations of the arms.

Given the above, this book should still be considered useful as a reference because it contains arms for some names that are rarely referenced in other sources and there are some issues with getting a definitive list of legitimate Irish arms.

We are very lucky that any copy of this book is available to the public considering the nonsense on page 3, the author's intent was that all the copies of this book should remain in private collections and be passed down through families, never to be available through a library or reprint. Fortunately one copy was by Patrick H. Coney to the secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society and from there it somehow found it's way to the Boston Public Library (in violation of the terms on page 3) and was eventually photographed as part of a book preservation program.

Unfortunately, this one copy of the book that is available to us has suffered some damage, with a large section of one page missing, another page (of the index) missing a smaller section and one of the arms plates having the arms illustration (#217 O'Halloran ) torn out, stolen. We have done a lot of work to restore the pages and have recreated the index including the missing parts along with transcribing the text.

Notes on use:

  • The recreated Index is not complete yet, the primary entry for a family is in the index, additional alternate versions of the names will be added soon.
  • A facility to search for a name and the full text content is planned.
  • Each book page has its own page on this site, the page starts with the transcribed text followed by an image of the original page and the images of any arms referenced on the page. There will be some errors in the transcribed text (refer to the scanned page image to see the original) and some plate references may be wrong or missing, let us know about any errors so that we can fix them.
  • You can copy the text of the family histories to include with arms products that you produce, some names have information spanning several pages. You will probably want to edit out some of the Milesian BS like: 'The X family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son ...' in consideration of the fact that it is very unlikely to be true, this is not Gingis Kahn we are talking about here.
  • An entertaining quirk is that references to Elizabeth are all references to Queen Elizabeth I, considering the publication date of 1895.

Table of Contents Full Page Index Name Index


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