Tracing the origin of the surname O’hAngluinn
The Aims of this Chapter are:
An Introductory comment on surnames
Surnames came into existence in Europe about 1000 A.D. Ireland was one of the first nations to use them. The introduction occurred in Ireland between 950 and the end of the 1100’s and was well established by the time of the English Tudor monarchs. It is very important to be conscious the method of naming people in pre 1000 a.d. Ireland was different from today’s method of first name followed by a family surname.
The approach taken will be to imbibe what the scholars have to say about the name, then seek to put flesh on the bones of their work by examining any books, manuscripts, registers or documents that might fill out the story of this surname.
What the scholars have to say about O'hAngluinn
‘A Rare Gaelic Surname almost exclusive to the County of Cork’
This comment sums up the views of 20th century scholars when they speak of the surname O'hAngluinn. I am referring to the work of MacLysaght, Woulfe, scholars who have studied in depth the whole issue of Irish Names and Surnames.
In ‘Sloinnte Gaelheal is Gall: Irish names and surnames’ by Patrick Woulfe and in MacLysaght’s ‘Supplement to Irish Names and Surnames’, the name O'hAngluinn is stated to be an old and quite rare Cork Surname, almost peculiar to that County in Ireland. These scholars add other points. The surname Angluinn has descended from a simple Gaelic word ‘anglonn’ (meaning a hero or champion). O'hAngluinns then are descendants of an ‘Anglonn’, a hero or champion.
They also state the usual English form of the name is Anglin/m, but there are variations. (MacLysaght adds that in 1850 the most common form in parts of North Cork was ‘Angland’. Other scholars feel ‘Angland’ is a different name.) Phonetically the name Anglin is pronounced ‘ang lynn’ with the ‘g’ being soft.
Having reread the writings of the scholars the effort is now to put ‘real flesh’ on their statements i.e. identify real people from the manuscripts books documents of the past.
Seeking the Anglin story in the Corca Luighe area of County Cork
Putting together the writings of scholars, my own reading, speaking with scholars and contact with Anglins at home and abroad who know something of their past history I was persuaded the focus of my research should be in West Cork if I am to find the beginnings of the surname.
This area of County Cork in times past was known as Corca Luighe. Corca Luighe is a coastal area. It has had trade links with Europe and England for hundreds of years and in later times also with the Americas. In the 1600’s pirates from North Africa raided Baltimore and about one hundred of their people were taken as slaves. So the area has history.
I searched for the Anglin name in historical material of this Corca Luighe area but to date without success. There was a reference to ‘Angli’ in the Genealogies in MacFirbis Book of Genealogies in the Corca Luighe area. This ‘Angli/e’ comes up also in the Annals of Ulster for the year 1121; there was a bishop of Dublin called Samuel hAngli. I researched this name lest it is another source for O’hAngluinn/Anglin but it is not. In O’Donovan’s ‘Miscellany of Celtic Society’ on page 51 in the footnote on O’hAngli (initialled in one edition by TS) the author makes clear this ancient name O’hAngli became ‘Ceangail’ or Munitir Ceangail in Gaelic and possibly MacAngli.
Not having found any O’hangluinns, the Corca Luighe is set aside until something else surfaces.
Before recording information taken from Ancient Genealogies, some comments are necessary on the role of these Ancient genealogies in Irish history and genealogy, particularly for the benefit of Anglins of the Diaspora.
These early Gaelic Genealogies pre-date surnames, even going back to pre-Patrician times. The early Gaelic Genealogies, as with Jewish Genealogies, sought to bring in deeper dimensions beyond a listing of parentage. They gave credence and validity in important issues such as ownership of territory, inheritance, leadership background etc. Parentage and descent are valuable but ancient genealogies are much more. In Ireland, genealogy was an expression of custom, and for the Irish, custom was a basis for law. Sadly some people through a lack of insight, into the why of ancient genealogies, feel they are just ‘rubbish’.
Modern people have a desire to know their roots, their origin; a desire leading to tracing out family trees. This need to know descent was also part of, but not the main purpose, of ancient Genealogies. The ancient genealogies could be said to ‘have filled out’ for a person, their identity, responsibilities etc.
Interlude on Irish surnames
It is necessary to interject here a few brief comments on three issues regarding Irish names: a) the form of names pre the growth of surnames; b) the use of ‘O’, ‘Mac’ in Irish names, and c) the use of the letter ‘h’ in the writing of words in Gaeilge. This is necessary to understand the growth and story of Anglin/m from Anglonn.
In early years people had just one name, like the people in the Bible. In the Ireland of those times there were thousands of names and as the village populations were small and people did not travel much names did not have to be used twice. As populations grew, if a name was used more than once, as is the case of the three Conall’s to be mentioned below, there grew the custom of adding an epithet to the name and so Anglonn (hero) was added to Conall giving us Conall Anglonn to distinguish him from his grandfather another Conall, named Conall Ceranach (victorious). Notice no ‘O’s or ‘Mac’s at that stage in history. I presume in those times other individuals had the epithet ‘anglonn’ added to their name.
The next developmental stage comes with the naming of immediate descendants, e.g.’ grandson of’ Conall becomes O’Conall: Or using another method ‘son of’ Conall which becomes Mac Conall.
At the same time another method came into use with names. Instead of using ‘O’ or ‘Mac’ and the proper name of the person in this case Conall, the focus was put on the epithet rather than the proper name by referring to his grandson as O’Anglonn. (In the Anglonn / Anglin line the Mac version was never used, so never MacAnglonn)
Putting the ‘h’ before Angluinn. I simplify this; the use of ‘h’ was cosmetic; it was placed before any ‘O’ name beginning with a vowel to make it easy to say.
In Gaeilge the ‘h’ is also used in another fashion. It is used to indicate a varying of the sound of a consonant. A ‘h’ is placed after a consonant e.g. Anghluinn is not to change the spelling but to indicate the sound of the consonant ‘g’ is different when speaking the word.
Having failed to find a source for Anglin within the examination of ‘h’Angli’ the research continued but this time yielding valuable information. In ‘MacFirbis Book of Genealogies’ written in Gaelic compiled in 1650-1660 from earlier sources, an important stage in evidence of the origin of the O'hAngluinn / Anglin name is found. There are two references 1290.4 ff. and 573.5 ff. and they concern names with epithets. The quotations below are from the English translation.
The first reference is found in 1290.4:
The Families of Rudhraighe together with various compilations
There are numerous progenies from various fathers in old books intermixed together. The proper arrangement of whose ramifications we do not find; here are some of them according to the language of the old writings themselves, which say:
1290.5: These are the families whose history is not easily captured, even though it is not right to be dubious about them…Sons of Feidhlimidh Reachtmhar… i.e. the three Conalls: …
1292.5: The Progeny of Conall Cearnach:
1292.6: The two Conalls of Eamhain Mhacha: Conall Cearnach mac Aimirgin and Conall Anglonn mac Irel Glunmhar mac Conall Cearnach
1292.7: Fionnchaomh, daughter of Cathbhtaidh the druid, was mother of Conall Cearnach
1292.8: Three daughters Maghach, d…were born to Cathbhaidh the Druid, i.e. this Fionnchaomh; and Deithghean mother of Cu Culainn; and Ailbe, mother of the sons of Uisneach, as the poet said:
1292.9: ‘Fionnchomh daughter of gentle Cathbhtaidh
The second reference is 575.3 ff:
The Genealogy of O’hEilighe
He speaks first of the clan Chonchabhair and then goes to speak of the Clann Chonaill Chearnaigh, starting there we find written:
576.8: Clann Chonaill Chearnaigh
The original name of Eamhain Mhacha was Druim. Some say.
576.9: Why is Eamhain Mhacha (so called)
576.10: Cas Coill was its original name at first
576.11: See Eamhain Mhacha in an Leabhar Dinnsheanchaasa (the Book of place lore) (se page 579)
576.12: The two Conalls of Eamhain (sp.na) Mhacha (sp.Maiche): Conall Cearnach Aimhirghin and Conall Anghlonn’s. Irial Glunmhar’s. Conall Cearnach
This really places us at the beginnings of the O’hAngluinn / Anglin Story with a real person Conall who had been given an epithet of Anglonn. I have been unable to identify the progeny of Conall Anglonn. Of course it would be difficult as in those days there were only first names the ‘O’ idea had not commenced and further this is unlikely to be the Anglonn from whom we take descent, it is historically too early. But knowing epithets were used puts flesh on the scholar’s statement that our surname grew form the epithet Anglonn in a manner similar to many other epithet surnames.
This material belongs to Patrician times or earlier.
While few texts of Irish Mythology have survived yet those, which have survived, give information on the Fenian Cycle. This cycle is about Irish heroes. The stories appear to be set around the 3rd century and mainly in Leinster and Munster. The stories, usually in verse, concern Fionn Mac Cumhail and his band of soldiers, the Fianna. The most important source for this Fenian Cycle is the ‘Acallamh na Senorach 1’ (Colloquy of the Old Men). It is found in 15th century manuscripts. The text is dated by linguistic evidence to the 12th century. The following is a quotation:
272 Francan ocus Luth Re Srian da ech thaisigh scuir na bh—fhian
273 Luth ac Scuirin, codhnaibh gal is Francán ac Dub Druman
274 Gerr in Oir, Gerr in Arcait maraen do cinndis carpaid,
275 da ech do bhi ag Aillmi ann ag ingin aird-righ Eireann.
276 Dub Esa is Duhb Thuinne da ech Aenghuis Angluinne,
277 Cáilti is Oisin amach maraen teigdis gach n-aenach.
278 Each Guill meic Morna don muigh fa faire do b(ui) a Maenmhuigh,
279 tan do—leicthe ar sliabh no an muigh fa comhluath r(e gaeith) n-erruigh.
Here is seen the development of the name from an epithet but not yet as the surname O'hAngluinn, I suggest it is at the intermediate stage, Aenghuis of Angluinn.
Other ancient documents
The next document is later but still in the period when Ireland was Gaelic speaking. In the 14th century we have ‘The Pipe Rolls of Cloyne’, a Latin document, recording land use in the parishes of Cloyne diocese. Bishop Swaffham of Cloyne prepared it in 1364 a.d. he was a Carmelite monk a native of Norfolk, England. In it a ‘Simon Anglyn’ had rented some land (it gives the acreage and also the rent) in the parish of Brewhy now Britway, which is near the modern town of Castlelyons in northeast County Cork.
The scribe seemed to have used a phonetic spelling of the Gaelic name to Latin, rather than a translation into Latin.
There are other Irish historical writings called ‘Annals’, the most well known being the ‘Annals of the Four Masters’. These Annals contain historical information of Ireland’s past, set out annually. They record the unusual events of a year rather than recording the common occurrences.
In the ‘Annala Rioghachta Eireann; Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters from the earliest period to 1616’ written in Irish, but now with translations. There is recorded under the year 1490 a.d. the death of a Fionn ua hAnghluinn, chief timpanist of Ireland. The quotation in Gaeilge is:
1490 Fionn ua hAnghluinn primh thiompanach Ereann dec.
Unfortunately it does not state where in Ireland he lived. The English Translator spelt the name in English Finn O’hAuglinn.
English documents regarding Ireland
‘The Elizabethan Fiants’, are legal documents of Queen Elizabeth who reigned (1557-1603). The correct title is ‘Fiant Litterae patentes’; they are the decisions of her courts regarding individuals. The following is a list of pardons taken from those documents. The numbers refer to a particular Fiant each Faint contains a group of names. At this time the Anglicisation of Gaelic names had commenced so the variation in the English spelling of the Gaelic names. The first surnames in the following list clearly derive from O'hAngluinn even if in the later cases do not. These documents importantly indicate O' hAngluinns were living in County Cork in the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 (1558-1603) as the places named seem to be in county Cork. Their occupation indicate they were ‘ordinary’ people:
In Burke's 'A Genealogical History of Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, enjoying territorial possessions of High Official Rank, but uninvested with heritable Honours' in Volume 3 pages 397-399, he refers to a marriage between v. Honora O'Donovan Daughter of Teige O'Donovan of Rahine and Drishane, the great grand daughter of Donell, chieftain of the O’Donovan Sept to a Dermot Anglin. This Honora died in the 1670's.
A full reading of this reference is important for a number of reasons:
The history of Clonakilty by local historian O’Rourke
O’Rourke in his history of Clonakilty may be suggesting the surname is present in the Book of Ballymote (14th century). I have yet to find the evidence to support that view. O’Rourke a local historian of latter half of the 20th century states ‘each tuath of Corca Luighe was governed by a Taoiseach and beneath him were the hereditary leaders. Tuatha O Fitcheallaigh and O Dunghalaigh merged in Clonakilty. O'Fehilly and O'Dunlea were the Taoiseacha. Oglaigh or Leaders are represented by names which still survive, i.e. Duggan, Keady, Eady, Anglin, Kennedy, Cagney, Hennessy, Leary, Dineen, Cronin, Hayes or O'Hea, Murray, Dulea, Coffey, Cowhig, Cullinane, Downey, Lahiffe, Shinnick, Deady and Muintir Oh Illigh or Hill. The O'Driscolls were the ruling race.
These races were gradually pushed south of the Bandon River by the Eoghanachta of whose ruling families were O'Mahony's and O'Donoghues. Other names have descended in the form of Spillane, O'Neill, Long, Flynn, Keating, Ring, Canty, Mehigan, Dillon, Healy, Slattery, Coghlan, Cahalane, Canniffe, Heenigan, and Flahive.
I include this material but for the moment I cannot use it as evidence regarding the story of the O’hAngluinn / Anglin surname.
Relating the evidence found to the aims of this section
Following the evidence given in Chapters one and two of the study, it is reasonable to accept the scholars were correct.
The geographic source of this old and rare Gaelic name, O'hAngluinn, lies not only in Cork but specifically in West Cork; the evidence supports this even if it is weak.
Some literature has been uncovered relating to the surname and the milieu in which the name originated.
The study has revealed an Anglonn, Conall: Was he the first? Who knows!
This actual origin of the surname may in itself explain why the O’hAngluinns were a numerically small grouping (heroes are rare), in truth they had to be rare.
In view of the use of ‘Anglonn’ as an epithet attached to a personal name it seems reasonable to accept there will be more than one DNA line of people whose name would be O’hAngluinn.
The research supports the view the English surname Anglin/m has its source in the Gaelic surname O’hAngluinn which in turn has its source in the epithet Anglonn being applied to real person(s?).
The issue ‘Did the original Anglonn reside in the Corca Luighe race area of County Cork, or somewhere else in County West Cork (!)’ was not proven, but indications suggest early Anglins came from West Cork. The possibility of there being another Anglonn in a neighbouring area or county still exists.
A multiplicity of ‘champions’ would not seem to make sense, as by definition they were quite special people. However that there were a small number over the years seems reasonable
Before Concluding: It must be stressed; efforts need to continue in the examination of literature in 1200 to 1490 period to find persons with the O’hAngluinn surname.
It is important to hold fast to a realization of the ‘epithet’ nature of this surname. This Anglonn epithet may have been ‘conferred’ on others in the time span from Conal ‘Anglonn’ to the point when surnames were introduced (950-1200 a.d.). But whether they were many or few, it is only in 950-1200 that the step to ‘grandson of Anglonn’ (‘O’hAngluinn) could have occurred. It is at this period and only at this period that O’hAngluinn became a family name. Could this step have been taken for two or three individuals? The answer must be yes.
The Surname by its very nature must be rare, even if more than one family of O’hAngluinns came into being. In this it differs from clan/sept names, where members of the clan/sept used the clan/sept name.
Relevant information on Anglins surfaced when records of important people were searched e.g. Elizabethan Fiants, or the O’Donovans family records. This fact must influence research methods. Study of the O'hAngluinn name up to 1700 has been difficult due to the surname’s rarity. This fact has to be accepted as normal and ‘research methods’ adjusted accordingly. The evidence unearthed for O’hAngluinn during 1200-1550 is scant, so exploration of the major Gaelic families of West Cork for that period is necessary.
To date the presence of Anglins in the Corca Luighe area in the 12-15th centuries has not been found, but material in the 16th and thereafter points to West Cork as the root source of the surname. This territory Corca Laoighdhe of the race Lughaidhe Laidhe of whom Mac Con was monarch of Ireland in the 3rd century was also co extensive with the Diocese of Ross, (now part of Cork and Ross) and whose centre was the town of Ross Carbery. The O’Driscolls and O’Learys were the chief families in this area in later generations. The O’Donovans were also located roughly speaking in this broad area too. And there was a MacCarthy presence at times. These families have been researched but to date other than the earlier reference to O’Donovan’s have not yielded appropriate evidence.
This geographic area today would extend from the Bandon River to Clear Island and it is in that area the search must continue.
Documents examined in research for this chapter on the O’hAngluinn name
Other material worthy of research:
Further developments on Chapter 2
1. Necessary corrections
2. New Material
The Gaeilge surname O’hAinlighe is in MacFirbis (243.2) and without the O’h is also present in 242.23, 243.16 and 1077.5 and 6. It also occurs in ‘MacCarthaigh’s Book (published in Miscellaneous Irish Annals ed. S.O’ Hinnse). He refers to:
The surname also occurs in the Annals of Connaught particularly in the 1400’s.
I have examined this surname in depth. It has no relationship to O’hAnglainn or Anglin. It is rendered as Hanley in an English translation of MacFirbis p.192 and is still rendered today in County Roscommon as Hanley.
O’hAinlighe is not a source for the surname Anglin.
Some further documents examined in the preparation of this Chapter