Memorandum Explanatory of Alphabetical List

Robert E. Matheson
Memorandum explanatory of Alphabetical List

It now remains to add a short explanation of the structure of the Alphabetical List.

It has been compiled from (a ) office notes made from time to time for many years past of cases actually coming under observation in the examination of the Records and preparation of the Indexes; (b) from special reports received from the Superintendent Registrars and Registrars of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, and the District Registrars of Marriages, under the 7 and 8 Vic., cap. 81; and (c) from the results of a special examination of the printed Indexes in the General Register Office.

The list does not profess to be a complete list of surnames, but only a list of those surnames of which varieties have been met with or reported by local officers to be used in their localities.

The principal names are printed in capitals and numbered throughout consecutively. It is not to be understood that these are the original forms of the names, but the forms which appear to be now most commonly in use.

The names following each of the principal names are the varieties and synonymes of same stated to exist. Where printed in italics they have been reported to be Irish forms (or equivalents) of English names, or vice versa. Where a variety is placed in brackets, thus “[Cromie],” it will be found also as a principal name, and where given thus:—

“Archbold (Aspell),” or “Snowden (Snedden)”

the second name has been reported as a variety of the form of the name immediately preceding it.

It is not intended to convey that the names appearing under the principal names are in all cases forms of the same name, but only that they have been found to have been used interchangeably in the examination of the registration records, or that they have been reported to be so used by local officers.

Neither is it to be inferred that the use of a particular synonyme is general throughout the country. In many cases it is only local. On the other hand, in some cases, the same peculiarities have been observed in many different parts of the country.

Frequently the same name appears as a variety under different principal names. Thus “Cahan” is used as an alias for “Kane,” and also for “Keohane.”

In many instances numbers have been added after the name to denote the districts from which the variety has been reported. The key to these reference numbers is printed after the list. In cases not so marked, the variety has been met with in the examination of the records in this office.

With the view of curtailing the size of the list, the following will generally be found under one form only:—1. Names ending in ie, y, or ey, as Dempsie . Dempsy . Dempsey. 2. Names terminating with double consonants, as Farrell . Farre[l].

N.B. In some cases, as a result of the original print being of poor quality, some reference numbers in the alphabetical list are indecipherable. Where this is the case, a best guess has been made followed by a question mark in square brackets, i.e. [?].