St Johnston and Carrigans Donegal



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Surnames in St Johnston and Carrigans

The St Johnston and Carrigans area is in a part of Co Donegal marked by having many of the surnames that are believed to be typical of the county.  Some examples would be Friel, Bradley, Coyle, Carlin, Coll, Magee, McBride, McDaid, McLaughlin, McNulty, Sheils, Ward, Gallagher, Duffy, Diver, Gillespie, Gormley, Doherty, McAteer, McFadden and Shiels.  Most of these names are derived from Gaelic surnames. 

Like the rest of Donegal the area has Milesian surnames.  These are the ones that carry the O or Mac prefix.  An example would be O Donnell.  Many of these names originated in the eleventh century or later.  Many of the O or Mac names were created later still from the names of saints.  For example, McBride comes from St Bride or St Bridget.  Some surnames came in during the Plantation times.  The surnames names can often be traced back to placenames and baronies in Scotland.  Sometimes the name can be traced back to the work that an ancestor did.

It is unfortunate though that the St Johnston and Carrigans area of which the Parish of Taughboyne consists doesn’t have records that go back further than 1843 to get a better picture of what surnames came and went in the area.  However, none of the Roman Catholic parishes in the Raphoe diocese seems to have looked after records very well until after the parish of Templecarn (Pettigo) started making sure records were preserved.  This parish has the oldest existing records dating from 1836. 

Patrick Gormley