Find the meaning of your surname:


Tracing your Irish roots can be a fulfilling and rewarding task. At Hall of Names, we have many visitors to our website, hoping to discover more about their Celtic roots and the meaning and history of their Irish name.

Our database has over a million surname histories, including many thousands of Irish surnames and ‘sept histories‘. In particular, many of our visitors are descended from Irish citizens that migrated to the New World in search of a better life. There are many resources available and here are a few ideas to get you started on your journey of discovery.


The Irish ‘Septs’


Traditional family groups within Irish communities are often referred to as ‘septs’. However, this term was not in use historically until the nineteenth century. Irish people, when speaking of themselves, employed their term ‘clan’ which means ‘family’ in Irish.

The Irish migration to the new world is well documented online and further online resources include sites such as the Irish Genealogy Toolkit  This site covers a wide variety of topics.  This includes the reasons why many Irish people sought cheap passage on board boats destined for a new life abroad.

It can be hard to know where to start when tracing your Irish roots. There are many resources available online to help you in your search for your Celtic heritage.

For example, millions of historic Irish birth, death and marriage records are available to the public online and accessed for free from There are more than 2.5 million images of old documents from the General Register Office to view.


The Titanic


Of the many hundreds who perished on board the Titanic, many were of Irish descent. you may wish to continue your research in this area. We have a useful blog with links relating to the topic in our Titantic Passenger List post. Plus, there are many other online resources for Irish descendants of Titanic passenger, for example Irish America which has useful information for the Irish family historian.



Titanic passenger list

Did passengers with your Irish name sail on the Titanic?

Websites To Visit


There are also websites available which allow you to subscribe and search for your Irish roots such as If you are not sure whether or not to subscribe to a specific site, the BBC has a great online guide here to assist you in making the right choices with genealogical research. You may also like to read our blog with top ten tips for family research.

Our Surname Histories


Each of our Irish history prints includes information such as the early origins of the surname. It also includes spelling variations, migration to the new world, and any associated motto. (Click here to order). While this is not a specific family history, it gives interesting details and fascinating facts about bearers of the name over the generations.

We would love to hear your stories and see your pictures. For example, have you had a transatlantic reunion of branches of your Irish family? Why not post a pic on our Facebook page? It’s good to share! For gift ideas that are sure to impress, do have a look at our shop for some inspiration.

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