SPECIAL REPORT ON SURNAMES IN IRELAND, WITH NOTES AS TO NUMERICAL STRENGTH, DERIVATION, ETHNOLOGY AND DISTRIBUTION. By Sir Robert E. Matheson. 78 pages. Originally published in 1909 at Dublin.
This very useful reference work is based on information extracted from the indexes of the General Registrar's Office. After a brief introduction, the report begins with a list of the 100 most commons surnames, in order of frequency, with an estimate of the number of persons bearing each surname. This first list is based on the index of births for the year 1890, and shows Murphy as the most common Irish surname, with about 62,600 bearing the name. The name Dwyer ranks 100 in the list, with about 8,100 persons. Next are listed the fifty most common names in England, followed by the fifty most common Scottish surnames, for comparisons. Next the derivation of Irish surnames is considered, along with observations on their distribution. Particular attention is given to names bearing the "Mac" or "O" prefixes. Another table shows the names most common in each county, usually listing from ten to twenty surnames for each county, in order of frequency. About half of the publication consists of a table of approximately 2500 surnames --all of the names for which there were five or more entries in the birth indexes for 1890. For each surname the table shows how many births were registered in all of Ireland, then breaks it down for each of the four provinces. Then the table lists those counties where the name was most frequently found. (The approximate number of persons bearing each name can be calculated by multiplying the figures given by 44.8). Finally, there is a list of names of Irish Septs contained in the Book of Arms compiled by Sir James Terry, Athlone Herald (1690).