Spanish Eyes Registered User
#1

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!

owenc Banned
#2

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.

mathepac Banned
#3

Spanish Eyes said:
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.

owenc Banned
#4

mathepac said:
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?

pinkypinky Moderator
#5

owenc said:
Did the protestant numbers not fall in the republic?


The Republic has only existed since 1949.

owenc Banned
#6

No I'm talking about that area there's a thing on wikipedia about it

mathepac Banned
#7

owenc said:
Did the protestant numbers not fall in the republic?

owenc said:
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?

owenc Banned
#8

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??

Exile 1798 Registered User
#9

Spanish Eyes said:
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.

mathepac Banned
#10

owenc said:
... 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?

owenc Banned
#11

mathepac said:
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.

pinkypinky Moderator
#12

owenc said:
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!

Dionysus Registered User
#13

Spanish Eyes said:
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=hp&q=%22took+the+soup%22&btnG=Cuardach+Google&fp=9846baef42e43791

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.

P. Breathnach Registered User
#14

Dionysus said:
... 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.

owenc Banned
#15

Dionysus said:
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=hp&q=%22took+the+soup%22&btnG=Cuardach+Google&fp=9846baef42e43791

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/.

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