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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2004 (January-March) » Surname pronunciation « Previous Next »

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Doreen (198.81.26.45 - 198.81.26.45)
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 02:31 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Chairde: I've come to a dead end in my genealogical search and wonder if pronunciation might be a key. I've found my New York born grand parents on the 1920 census and discovered that my Ford great grandparents were born in Ireland and were Irish speakers. I'm wondering how the names 'Ford' and 'Tracy'(in any dialect) may have sounded to a census taker, spoken by a native speaker.
Since my grandfather was born in 1883, my grandparents were probably born in Ireland in the late 1850's or early 1860's. I don't know enough about the history of Gaeilge to know if they were likely to have come from one county over another . I'm probably grasping at straws here. Any pronunciation or historical information might be helpful.
Le Meas
Doreen

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Maidhc Ó G. (4.76.84.227 - 4.76.84.227)
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 09:52 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

O my, Doreen. The problem, it seems could've began on the other side of the pond. OK, here's what I can get.
From "The Surnames of Ireland" by, Edward MacLysacht:
Ford(e) - A well-known English name, widely used as a synonym of several Irish names viz. MacKinnawe, MacElnay, Foran, Forhane.
(Ó)Foran - (Ó Fuaráin*)*I'd pronounce this very much as Foo-er-uhn
Found in Cos. Limerick and Waterford: also changed to Ford.
(Ó)Forhane, Forahan (Fuartháin*) *Like foor-uh-hawn. Older forms of Foran used in Kerry and West Cork.
MacElnay - The monaghan form of Mac Giolla na Naomh. This is corrupted to Macgiollarnath*in Connacht and mistranslated Ford. (See also Gilnagh.) *Muh-gill-er-nuh
Gilnagh is found in Longford. A variant is MacAneave in Co. Roscommon
Mac Kinnawe, Kinneavy - Mac Conshnámha* Kuh-now-uh or Kuh-naw-vuh, I should think depending on the speaker.
A Connacht name, now usually made Forde by mistranslation; actually the derivation is from 'cú', hound_snámh, swim. In Co.Leitrim it is Cosnave.

(Ó)Tracey, Treacy - Ó Treasaigh* (treasach, warlike) *traw-suh. The name of two septs of importance (Galway, Leix - and Fermanagh). It is now numerous in every province.

Whew. I hope this helps some.

Go n-éirí an t-ádh leat,
Maidhc.

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Paul (68.164.202.158 - 68.164.202.158)
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 10:02 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Doreen, a chara,
Here's what I found in MacLysacht's Surnames of Ireland:

(Ó) Tracey, Treacy -- Ó Treasaigh (treasach, war-like). The name of two septs of importance; it is now fairly numerous in every province. According to Fr. Travers there is a destinct sept in Fermanagh.

Ford(e) A well-known English name, widely used as a synonym of several Irish surnames, viz. MacKinnawe, MacElnay, Foran, Forhane.

"The Surnames of Ireland"
by Edward MacLysacht
Irish Academic Press
www.iap.ie
Dublin/Portland, Oregon
ISBN 0-7165-2366-3

Is mise, le meas, Paul

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Doreen (198.81.26.45 - 198.81.26.45)
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 10:56 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Maidhc and Paul:
Looks like I've got plenty of detective work ahead of me. I remain undeterred! MacLysacht's book sounds like a must have and I thank you for the particulars.
My second paragraph should have read "...my great grandparents were...born in Ireland..." I find it sad that the Irish language disappeared from my family within one generation, yet I suppose it was a very common occurrence.
Le Meas,
Doreen

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Doreen (198.81.26.45 - 198.81.26.45)
Posted on Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 02:27 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Chairde:
After more research, more questions related to my original question posted here. Since I've seen many hundreds of Fords and Tracys on Ships' Passenger Lists from 1851 to 1891, I'm going under the assumption that any name changes probably occurred in Ireland.
I researched all possible spellings and translations of Ford/Tracy(also Wood and McTague, but I don't think these great-grandparents were native speakers.) Then I read an article from the Brooklyn Eagle, 1895. An interview with someone hired to gather information for a City Directory stated that many of the people spoke no English at all, sometimes women didn't know how to spell their husband's surname, and so what was written down was whatever the name may have sounded like.
Recently I met a man from Co. Kerry, not a native speaker but he learned Gaeilge in school. He offered help with pronunciation (lucky me!). Many words I'm used to hearing on the "Learning Irish" tapes sound very different in the Munster dialect, which seems somehow softer, less 'down in the throat'(Does that make sense?)
So my question is: how many different ways might a native speaker pronounce these names? Would the 'F' in Ford sound like another letter entirely? Could an initial 'T' sound like something else?
My brother and I have both visited Ireland and are talking about returning. He has visited our Italian ancestors who have been in the same town for several hundred years, and tells me that the feeling of standing in the place your ancestor's came from is a feeling that brings a catch to your throat and a tear to your eye. We would like to experience that feeling in Ireland, but can't get past Brooklyn! Any suggestions on pronunciation of my family names would be helpful
Le Meas,
Doreen

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