Irish Naming Tradition

Descendants of James Mahoney and Kate Kerlihy Mahoney

of Inchigeelah, Co. Cork, Ireland
McHenry Co. Il
and Fond du Lac, WI

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Mahoney Family History



If you follow the claim of an old Irish tradition that states how children were named after their ancestors, then we can speculate just what the names were of James and Kate's parents. 

The tradition goes like this: 
The first son is named after his paternal grandfather. 
The second son is named after his maternal grandfather. 
The third son is named after his fatherís eldest brother. (if one exists, or the name has not been used yet) 
The fourth son is named after his motherís eldest brother. (If one exists, or the name has not been used yet) 
The fifth son is named after his father. 
The first daughter is named after her paternal grandmother. 
The second daughter is named after her maternal grandmother. 
The third daughter is named after her fatherís eldest sister (if one exists) 
The fourth daughter is named after her motherís eldest sister, (if one exists). 
The fifth daughter is named after her mother. 

The order of birth, and names of known children of James and Kate Mahoney, suggest the following:
Cornelius, as the first son, was also probably the name of James' father.
Mary, as the first daughter, was also probably named after James' mother.

[So you could conclude that the names of James parents, could possibly be Cornelius and Mary Mahoney]

John, as the second son, was likely the name of Kate's father.
Hannah, as the second daughter, is probably the name of Kate's mother.
[So you could conclude that the names of Kate's parents, could possibly be John and Hannah Herlihy]

Norry, as the third daughter, can be the name of James' oldest sister
Timothy, as the third son, is likely James' oldest brother, or if James was the only son, then Tim is the name of Kate's oldest brother
Margaret is the name of the older sister of either James, first, or Kate's older sister. 

Further proof that the family followed this tradition, is when you follow the pattern of names of son Cornelius's children -  (wife was Margeret Regan, dau of Daniel Regan and Mary Scott.):
* James Mahoney, named after Cornelius' father
* Daniel? Mahoney,

(unproven) (the 1900 census, Maraget states that she was the mother of 11 children; since this family obviously followed the Irish naming tradition, and we as yet have not found any record of her 11th child, we can speculate that her second child was a male, named Daniel after her father, who probably died in infancy.)

* Catherine/Kate Mahoney, named after her father's mother (Kate Herlihy Mahoney)
* John Mahoney, named after his father's eldest brother
[note, since his father Cornelius was actually the oldest in the family, John was named after the next male in the line, Cornelius' brother John]

* Timothy, probably named after his mother's eldest brother (unproven) 
*  Mary, named after her maternal grandmother Mary Regan 
*  Cornelius/Con, named after his father 
*  Johanna/Hannah,
(Cornelius does have a sister named Hannah, but she is not the oldest sister -  his oldest sister is named Mary, and that name has been used already.   However, since there appears to only be one daughter named after an oldest sister, it is possible that this Johanna was named instead, after her Mother's oldest sister, since the paternal oldest sister's   name was already used..  Another possibility is that perhaps Margaret Regan Mahoney did not have any sisters, and if she did, perhaps their names were all used already.)

*  Margaret/Maggie, named after her mother. 
*  Honora/Nora (twin) born in America
*  Ellen/Nellie (twin) born in America

All this speculation can change,, however, if you are not sure that you have found the names of ALL their children.
The Irish naming tradition is not an exact science.  A name can be skipped if either parent does not have a sister or brother.   Also, the name of the husband's father, might be the same name as the mother' parent or brother, so sometimes names can skip.

Further studies of this tradition, show that once the families came to America, the tradition dies out.

*** Inchigeelah Parish records, as found in 
*** St. Patrick Church Records, McHenry, Ill. 
***St. James Catholic Church Records, Inchigeelah Co. Cork, as found by Mary Ingenthron in 1972.