The UK 1901 census test page is up and running at http://www.census.pro.gov.uk. I checked it out and discovered that my grandfather, Thomas was listed under the spelling Geraghty. His brother Michael was also listed, but was using the spelling McGarrity. My mother used the spelling Garrity. I have a cousin in Australia who spells his name Garritty. Grandpa Tom’s surname was recorded as Garrety in the British census of 1861?
All very confusing isn’t it? I’m reminded of a copy of an article from a Mayo newspaper sent to me by my good friend Nick Geraghty. It’s headed “Whatever happened to the MacOireachtaighs? And reads….
‘In 1465 the English Parliament passed a law which said “every Irishman that dwells betwixt or amongst Englishmen in the County of Dublin, Myuth, (undeciperable) or Kildare shall take to him an English surname of one town such as Sutton, Choster, Trym, Skryne, Cork, Kinsale, or colour as white, black, browne, or art or science, smith or carpenter, or office as cook, butler, and he and issue shall use this name under paytid of forfeiting of his goods yearly till this premise is done.“
This and subsequent attempts by the wicked English to obscure the identity of the Irish proved singularly unsuccessful. The Mac Oireachtiaghs may have had to disguise themselves as MacGeraghtys, Geraghtys, Gearetysr, Gerittys, Gerraghtys, Gertys, Gheratys and Jeretys, but the most striking thing about all these names are that they remain irrespressibly Irish’.
The article does not mention a couple of dozen or more spelling variations of the name. It’s worthwhile checking out other spellings in your ancestral search.
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