Grandad Protestant with VERY Irish surname... is this unusual? - boards.ie
Boards.ie uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more x
Post Reply  
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
20-08-2010, 22:46   #1
Spanish Eyes
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Dublin
Posts: 765
Grandad Protestant with VERY Irish surname... is this unusual?

Just wondered if there is any history of Catholics changing their religion to Cof I during the Famine perhaps?

My maternal grandfather's name is an old Irish name found a lot in Cork (McCarthy).

Grandad's family all remained C of I except him. He converted to Catholicism to marry my Granny. His family are well recorded in the 1901 and 1911 census as being C of I.

Maybe he was C of I all along. Am still doing the research, but finding it very very difficult to find the records of grandad's father. It's fascinating, but I hope I don't reach a dead end here!
Spanish Eyes is offline  
Advertisement
20-08-2010, 23:38   #2
owenc
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Northern Ireland
Posts: 5,336
No it's not rare at all in northern Ireland it's very common because there is a lot more Protestants , my mothers family are catholic with Scottish surnames and presbyterian ancestors ie grandparents as northern Ireland used used to be nearly 90 percent Protestant so they converted I'd estimate a quarter of Catholics are protestant roots.

Last edited by owenc; 21-08-2010 at 09:59.
owenc is offline  
21-08-2010, 00:00   #3
mathepac
Banned
 
mathepac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Within You, Without You
Posts: 4,641
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanish Eyes View Post
Just wondered if there is any history of Catholics changing their religion to Cof I during the Famine perhaps? ...
It is by no means unusual.

For a number of centuries use of the Irish language and the practice of the Catholic religion were outlawed in Ireland under British rule and Catholics were forbidden to own livestock or land and were denied votes, education and representation - a completely disenfranchised people in their native country.

Underground schools or "hedge schools" were used to educate children and religious education and sacramental practices centered around "mass rocks" in secluded outdoor areas.

During the famine Protestant proselytisers established soup kitchens to distribute aid to the starving populace; the price of availaing of the food in these kitchens was to convert to Protestantism and to renounce Catholicism. The people were faced with the appaling dilemma; convert or starve with your family. Some converted and remain true to their new religion(s) to this day. Those who converted or took the soup were referred to unkindly as "soupers" at the time. Some who converted dropped the identifiably Irish-Catholic prefixes from their names - e.g. O'Callaghans becoming Callaghans, O'Briens becoming Bryans or in some cases Bryants, McCarthys becoming Carthys or Cartys, etc.
mathepac is offline  
21-08-2010, 09:58   #4
owenc
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Northern Ireland
Posts: 5,336
Quote:
Originally Posted by mathepac View Post
It is by no means unusual.

For a number of centuries use of the Irish language and the practice of the Catholic religion were outlawed in Ireland under British rule and Catholics were forbidden to own livestock or land and were denied votes, education and representation - a completely disenfranchised people in their native country.

Underground schools or "hedge schools" were used to educate children and religious education and sacramental practices centered around "mass rocks" in secluded outdoor areas.

During the famine Protestant proselytisers established soup kitchens to distribute aid to the starving populace; the price of availaing of the food in these kitchens was to convert to Protestantism and to renounce Catholicism. The people were faced with the appaling dilemma; convert or starve with your family. Some converted and remain true to their new religion(s) to this day. Those who converted or took the soup were referred to unkindly as "soupers" at the time. Some who converted dropped the identifiably Irish-Catholic prefixes from their names - e.g. O'Callaghans becoming Callaghans, O'Briens becoming Bryans or in some cases Bryants, McCarthys becoming Carthys or Cartys, etc.

Did the protestant numbers not fall in the republic?
owenc is offline  
21-08-2010, 12:50   #5
pinkypinky
Registered User
 
pinkypinky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,945
Quote:
Originally Posted by owenc View Post
Did the protestant numbers not fall in the republic?
The Republic has only existed since 1949.
pinkypinky is offline  
Advertisement
21-08-2010, 14:15   #6
owenc
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Northern Ireland
Posts: 5,336
No I'm talking about that area there's a thing on wikipedia about it
owenc is offline  
21-08-2010, 14:45   #7
mathepac
Banned
 
mathepac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Within You, Without You
Posts: 4,641
Quote:
Originally Posted by owenc View Post
Did the protestant numbers not fall in the republic?
Quote:
Originally Posted by owenc View Post
No I'm talking about that area there's a thing on wikipedia about it
Sorry I don't understand the question(s). Do you mean a fall in protestant numbers in Cork or in protestant numbers generally during the famine?
mathepac is offline  
21-08-2010, 14:56   #8
owenc
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Northern Ireland
Posts: 5,336
No it was from the famine onwards all areas in the area of the republic had a significant fall in Protestant numbers and also in ulster but only slight it's rising again now but I don't know if it's rising in ulster??
owenc is offline  
21-08-2010, 16:47   #9
Exile 1798
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 705
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanish Eyes View Post
Just wondered if there is any history of Catholics changing their religion to Cof I during the Famine perhaps?

My maternal grandfather's name is an old Irish name found a lot in Cork (McCarthy).

Grandad's family all remained C of I except him. He converted to Catholicism to marry my Granny. His family are well recorded in the 1901 and 1911 census as being C of I.

Maybe he was C of I all along. Am still doing the research, but finding it very very difficult to find the records of grandad's father. It's fascinating, but I hope I don't reach a dead end here!
No, not unusual at all.
Exile 1798 is offline  
Advertisement
21-08-2010, 17:39   #10
mathepac
Banned
 
mathepac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Within You, Without You
Posts: 4,641
Quote:
Originally Posted by owenc View Post
... a significant fall in Protestant numbers and also in ulster but only slight it's rising again now but I don't know if it's rising in ulster??
I wasn't aware of a significant drop in the numbers of Protestants generally at that time but was aware of the tremendous relief works undertaken by (for example) the relatively tiny numbers of Quaker & Heugenot families and the near enough halving of the Catholic population in certain areas. Do you mean Ulster (9 counties) or the gerrymandered Ulster aka Northern Ireland (6 counties)?

Any links to the wiki or other stats as I've never heard this situation mentioned before? Were the proselytisers then trying to bolster already declining numbers and if so what initiated the decline?
mathepac is offline  
21-08-2010, 17:43   #11
owenc
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Northern Ireland
Posts: 5,336
Quote:
Originally Posted by mathepac View Post
I wasn't aware of a significant drop in the numbers of Protestants generally at that time but was aware of the tremendous relief works undertaken by (for example) the relatively tiny numbers of Quaker & Heugenot families and the near enough halving of the Catholic population in certain areas. Do you mean Ulster (9 counties) or the gerrymandered Ulster aka Northern Ireland (6 counties)?

Any links to the wiki or other stats as I've never heard this situation mentioned before? Were the proselytisers then trying to bolster already declining numbers and if so what initiated the decline?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestantism_in_Ireland Read the bit about the protestant decline in the republic, around 1861, that was around the famine, though i think the numbers are rising now. The map shows it declining very fastly! When i say ulster i mean ni. Apparently my county has got a significant loss, its probably due to them ones from donegal coming in! Though my region is 60% protestant, so its very diverse, weird in ni it can change so quick.

Last edited by owenc; 21-08-2010 at 17:46.
owenc is offline  
21-08-2010, 20:52   #12
pinkypinky
Registered User
 
pinkypinky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,945
Quote:
Originally Posted by owenc View Post
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestantism_in_Ireland Read the bit about the protestant decline in the republic, around 1861, that was around the famine, though i think the numbers are rising now. The map shows it declining very fastly! When i say ulster i mean ni. Apparently my county has got a significant loss, its probably due to them ones from donegal coming in! Though my region is 60% protestant, so its very diverse, weird in ni it can change so quick.
This sentence is broken!
pinkypinky is offline  
21-08-2010, 23:17   #13
Dionysus
Registered User
 
Dionysus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,368
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanish Eyes View Post
Just wondered if there is any history of Catholics changing their religion to Cof I during the Famine perhaps?

My maternal grandfather's name is an old Irish name found a lot in Cork (McCarthy).

Grandad's family all remained C of I except him. He converted to Catholicism to marry my Granny. His family are well recorded in the 1901 and 1911 census as being C of I.

Maybe he was C of I all along. Am still doing the research, but finding it very very difficult to find the records of grandad's father. It's fascinating, but I hope I don't reach a dead end here!
Not too unusual. If the change occurred during An Gorta Mór 1845-51, they quite possibly "took the soup", were "soupers": http://www.google.ie/#hl=ga&source=h...46baef42e43791

If the change occurred prior to this they most probably 'conformed' to the (anglican) Church of Ireland in order to maintain their position in Irish society (under the Penal Laws Catholics were forbidden from owning any property except bogland). 'Conforming' was deemed more acceptable in Irish society as one was protecting their material interests by changing religion. 'Conversion' was, however, much resented in society as somebody who 'converted' did so for theological reasons. This was much less common. Most Irish people wouldn't be aware of this distinction, however.
Dionysus is offline  
22-08-2010, 00:30   #14
P. Breathnach
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 9,305
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
... If the change occurred prior to this they most probably 'conformed' to the (anglican) Church of Ireland in order to maintain their position in Irish society (under the Penal Laws Catholics were forbidden from owning any property except bogland). 'Conforming' was deemed more acceptable in Irish society as one was protecting their material interests by changing religion. 'Conversion' was, however, much resented in society as somebody who 'converted' did so for theological reasons. This was much less common. Most Irish people wouldn't be aware of this distinction, however.
Make note of what this implies about social and financial status: a family with a distinctive Gaelic name that was CoI before the famine was likely to be at least moderately wealthy. This can also apply to "old English" or Anglo-Norman names.
P. Breathnach is offline  
22-08-2010, 10:39   #15
owenc
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Northern Ireland
Posts: 5,336
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
Not too unusual. If the change occurred during An Gorta Mór 1845-51, they quite possibly "took the soup", were "soupers": http://www.google.ie/#hl=ga&source=h...46baef42e43791

If the change occurred prior to this they most probably 'conformed' to the (anglican) Church of Ireland in order to maintain their position in Irish society (under the Penal Laws Catholics were forbidden from owning any property except bogland). 'Conforming' was deemed more acceptable in Irish society as one was protecting their material interests by changing religion. 'Conversion' was, however, much resented in society as somebody who 'converted' did so for theological reasons. This was much less common. Most Irish people wouldn't be aware of this distinction, however.
Did presbyterians ever convert? Apparently one of my mothers families are scottish but they are catholic a way back too 1840, i can't get back any further.... was it ever illegal for presbyterians to convert? Because of the penal laws and all that/.

Last edited by owenc; 22-08-2010 at 10:47.
owenc is offline  
Post Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Remove Text Formatting
Bold
Italic
Underline

Insert Image
Wrap [QUOTE] tags around selected text
 
Decrease Size
Increase Size
Please sign up or log in to join the discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



Share Tweet