The Surname 'Anglin'

Chapter 6

Anglin genealogy – our identity

button-previous button-next

The Aims of this Chapter are:

  1. To ask what is the value of genealogical research
  2. To indicate what research tells us about our identity
  3. To draw together the essential elements of the work of research
  4. To use the knowledge gained to guide future research

A key chapter

This is a key chapter of the study as it seeks to draw together in one coherent whole the various threads referred to in earlier chapters.

The value of genealogy

In the past I ignored family trees. I accepted my name to be Anglin, I was Irish and I was a Catholic and I left it so. No Anglin group in Ireland had prepared a family tree, yet many of those living outside Ireland had. Having pursued the study of the origin of the family name I now realise genealogy has got to do with a persons identity. Each tree listed in Appendix 8G has set out a potted family history by merely listing the members of their family line.

Why do people prepare such trees? I believe it is an expression of something important to us – our identity; who we are. Family Trees, Family Genealogies, Pedigrees etc. are not new. There are a number in the Old Testament of the Bible; in the New Testament there are two genealogies of Christ, slightly different. Ancient Gaelic Genealogies and MacFirbigs Book of Gaelic Genealogies have been referred to.

A study of genealogy is an exploration of identity. This explains why religious minded people of the Judea Christian tradition wrote in their history a link to Adam and Eve. They were expressing their understanding that in some manner they were linked to the Divine. In Michael Mullens book on Matthews Gospel he opens up the genealogy of Christ in a manner I found quite eye opening, I really had not grasped what the author was about when he wrote down all those names. Mullen makes clear the scriptural author was saying much more than parent naming. This aspect, expressing something beyond physical parentage, was true of the old Gaelic Genealogies. The law governing people and behaviour in ancient Ireland flowed from the native customs. Annals and Genealogies were an expression of law but based on past custom, they were the whole story of a people, of a clan/sept, they were not a mere set of rules; Native law and custom came as it were from the people up; but with the coming of the New English, Law came from the Top down.

So what am I doing when I write down my own family genealogy, is it just a list of names or is it more? Something in the human spirit seeks knowledge of who we really are; the family tree search is just one aspect of such searching. Now an effort will be made to broaden insight with the help of the various threads referred to in the other chapters.

Hopefully family trees and other aspects of genealogy will then be viewed with more understanding and depth. Our identity is in our name but our name symbolises so much more than a name on list. Hopefully this study adds a little more understanding of ourselves.

What does the family tree give us?

I am aware of the following Anglin family trees. The Anglins of Bristol and Bridgewater in England; the two lines of Anglins in Canada: the three groups of USA Anglins of the DNA Groups, then the Maryland Anglins now ceased? and the Chris Anglim line in the USA; the Glanmire Anglins and the Wexford Anglims in Ireland; and the Madeira Azorean Hickling/Anglins. What have these family trees given us? Fundamentally they give us our descent by male physical parentage.

What has geographic mapping added to the knowledge present in family trees?

Geographic mapping indicates the scatter of the Surname. But in so doing indicates specific areas within Ireland where the surname has taken root.

It then raises the question where in Ireland is the original root source or sources. The answer presently suggested for Anglins is County Cork; but mapping also indicates a long presence of the surnames in other counties.

The next question follows, where in county Cork is the ultimate root area? There is no clear answer but historical documents would suggest West Cork is certainly the original root area for some Anglins.

What has history added to the understanding gained from family trees?

It has told us the Anglin name is a Gaelic Irish name with a long history in Ireland. It was born in, and into a Gaelic language and culture, and the surname has scattered via Europe and England to many other countries.

What has the DNA project added to the knowledge present in family trees?

The DNA Project gives confirmatory evidence of discrete Anglin groups, possibly five to eight of them, with more than a suspicion the root origin of each group lies within Ireland irrespective of where the surname is in the world today. This Irish origin has been proven to be true for some groups, 2 and 3, and is being investigated for others.

DNA also indicates each Anglin group is made up of more than one individual family tree. The separate family trees of a particular group belong together as they share the ‘same’ DNA profile. Within a group all are ‘cousins’ though the relationship may be remote in time.

The story hidden within the list of names of family trees

This is an important aspect of genealogy and identity and as yet has not featured much in the work of Anglin researchers though there are some exceptions. Part of Genealogy is the ups and downs of Anglin history and there is no harm in the ‘down bits’, it reflects the Irish history of which we are part. But there are also the up bits and we all need to be conscious of them. Those stories remain to be told.

A few individual stories have been told. I have heard the story of the Anglin brothers of Alcatraz, Margaret Anglin of the Theatre, Timothy Anglin the Canadian Journalist. But what of the others? I am vaguely aware of a Mary Anglin a nurse in the first war in England who nursed injured Russian soldiers, got smallpox? And ended up a nun serving people in South Africa. I wonder is all that true!

Some general thoughts on Anglin identity

Anglins carry a Gaelic Surname O’hAngluinn, which grew out of the epithet ‘Anglonn’ being awarded to individuals before surnames began. One such individual is known, Conal, he was credited with being an Anglonn, a brave person, a hero, a warrior. These Anglonns were of the Gaelic tradition, not Viking, nor Norman nor English. O’hAngluinns were born of a person(s) who were considered ‘brave’ by their peers. Anglins, being Gaelic Irish in origin belong to a culture, which understood suffering, had compassion for those in need, was Christian, which lauded ‘military courage’, respected learning. That is the culture to which we belong. This is our heritage.

The way forward – learning by reflecting on group two

DNA group 2 is a grouping of family trees sharing the same DNA profile. It includes The Macroom Anglin, The Canadian Protestant line, the present day Clonakilty Anglins, The Glanmire Anglins. Some Tipperary Anglims. The first three of these have documentary evidence their root source is west Cork and where exactly in West Cork is currently being investigated.

Since Glanmire Anglins share the same DNA they too must originate in West Cork, even though to date they are rooted north east of Cork City. Incidentally their tradition is they had cousins in Glandore, which is West Cork.

What of the Descendants of William of Group 2 (‘The Caswell County NC Anglins’)? They are similar to Glanmire Anglins, they hold appropriate DNA but have yet to establish by documentary evidence their root area to be West Cork. But they have to be rooted in West Cork, as that is the source of the other members of Group two. Maybe by further research they too will unearth documentary evidence.

The Canadian Catholic line is different. They have documentary evidence that their roots are West Cork, so if they were DNA tested it would be natural to expect their profile would be group 2.

The way forward – the procedure

The Group 2 consideration above can be the template to move things forward. the surname is Irish so all Anglins have Irish roots unless they adopted the surname.

Three general groups can be identified:

  • Anglin/ms living in Ireland in counties, Belfast/Down, Tipperary, Clare, Waterford, Wexford, Limerick and in North Cork and East Cork
  • Anglin/ms living outside Ireland who have documentary evidence of Irish Roots
  • Anglin/ms living outside Ireland whose name is Irish but that is all that is known

A two pronged approach is needed a) to identify the DNA profile of those who are definitely Irish, that is those living in the various Irish Counties listed above, or attached to them by known parentage. This done then those Anglins outside Ireland can compare their DNA with these samples. b) Anglins outside Ireland who have documented their Irish Origins, but unlinked to any Family living in Ireland. They require a DNA test to establish their link to an existing Anglin group, or as with ‘Bristol Irish Anglins’ they may actually establish a new, previously unknown, DNA profile line of Anglins.

Note 1

An aspect of work still undone is the linkage of Anglins in the various counties to County Cork.

Note 2

Cork City is treated differently, as City dwellers must originally have their roots outside the city. ‘The Bristol Anglins’ are belong to this category.

Materials consulted in writing this Chapter

  • The written and unwritten work of the DNA team
  • Bill Anglin’s site
  • Work of the members of the Anglin Convention group of Evelyn Williams
  • Most of the material supporting this chapter has been taken from information received from those who have prepared family trees. Access to such material is really at the discretion of the families involved. Contact with them can be through the Anglin DNA Project team.