Saturday, 30 January 2010

The Atlantic Zone Celts

Project 8: ABrAZo

Ancient Britain and the Atlantic Zone (Ireland, Armorica, and the Iberian Peninsula)

The research initiative recognizes a potential paradigm shift in Celtic studies. Arguments based in archaeology and genetics have recently been put forward in favour of Celtic origins in the Atlantic Bronze Age rather than the central European territories of the early Hallstatt and La Tène archaeological cultures of the Iron Age. However, a hypothesis of ‘Celticization from the West’ has yet to be fully formulated or tested in detail from the perspective of Celtic and Indo-European historical linguistics. Professor John T. Koch’s| recent research on the Tartessian language of the Early Iron Age in southern Portugal and south-western Spain has now suggested similar preliminary conclusions. In its abundance, diversity, archaism, antiquity, and geographic and cultural remoteness from Hallstatt and La Tène, the Hispano-Celtic linguistic evidence sits more comfortably with a theory of Atlantic Bronze Age Celtic origins than with the established central-European model. Celtic scholars, especially in the English-speaking world, have not yet completely ‘factored in’ this material and its implications. Accordingly, the agenda of the project includes collecting, updating, and resifting evidence of the Bronze and Iron Age (third to first millennia BC) to evaluate the case for emergence of the Celtic subfamily of Indo-European in the west.
Under the leadership of Professor John T. Koch| the research team combines a breadth of multidisciplinary strengths and interests. Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe was Director of the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford, from 1972 until his retirement in 2008. He has published prodigiously on periods from later prehistory to Roman times in Britain, Armorica, the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Europe generally. Dr Dagmar S. Wodtko| is an Indo-Europeanist with special interests in Celtic and the pre-Roman languages of Spain and Portugal. She has published extensively on Celtiberian, Old Irish, and Proto-Indo-European. Dr Catriona Gibson| is a specialist in the Bronze Age of the western Iberian Peninsula with background in field archaeology in Britain, Portugal, and Turkey. Professor Raimund Karl, Bangor University, was formerly a Research Fellow at the Centre. His research interests and publications deal with the Iron Age in Wales and Austria, Celtic social structure, and the Celtosceptic controversy.
Koch is working in the following subject areas: Tartessian, the Brittonic of the ancient and early medieval periods, and the origins of the Irish language and literary tradition. Co-investigator Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe’s input to the project concerns the Bronze Age in the Atlantic Zone. Professor Raimund Karl is contributing on the Irish Sea Region in the Iron Age to Early Middle Ages. Project publications will also include contributions by external experts in Linguistics, Archaeology, and Genetics. The first of these will be a collaborative volume to be published in 2010, edited by Koch and Cunliffe and supported by a British Academy Grant, which will include the papers presented at the forum ‘Celticization from the West’.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

The Ulster Psyche

Below is a list of truisms that circulate in the South and West of the United States as Old Farmer's Advice. It could also serve as an excellent presentation of the home spun gumption of the Ulster Folk in the New World. These truisms are the results of the collective psyche of the many Ulster Folk that left Ireland in the 1700s and early 1800s for the Americas and who often lived on the frontier and followed that frontier west.

Your fences need to be horse-high pig-tight and bull-strong.

Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A hornet is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.

Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.

Forgive your enemies----- it messes up their heads.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.

Don 't judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good honourable life.. Then when you get older and think back
you'll enjoy it a second time.

Don 't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

Sometimes you get and sometimes you get got.

The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with watches
you from the mirror every morning'.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in

If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence try ordering' somebody else's dog around..

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight he'll just kill you.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Ulster History & Genealogy Summer School 2010

A joint Ulster Historical Foundation and University of Ulster genealogical summer school will run from the 20th June to the 26th June 2010.


The Summer School is run in partnership with the University of Ulster. Participants will be able to register as part time students of the University for the duration of the school. This will allow access to the University’s library, computer suite and also its extensive range of electronic resources.

Finding out more

If you are interested in finding out more about your Ulster ancestors or wish to explore the history of Ireland’s northern province this is the perfect opportunity in which to do so. Over six days you will be assisted to carry out research for yourself at Belfast’s main archives and libraries as well as discover the history of Ulster first hand through excursions to some of the province’s most historic sites.

Contact the Ulster Historical Foundation for more details.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Seán, Eóin, and Eáin in Ulster

Gaels are great ones for borrowing names from other cultures and a good example of this is the three names Seán, Eóin, and Eáin. The etymologies of all three names go back to the middle Latin name Iohannes which is from the older Latin form Joannes, from the Greek Ioannes, and then back to the original Hebrew name Yohanan, in full Y’hohanan, literally, Jehovah has favoured, from hanan meaning he was gracious.

The name Eóin has been in use since anno domini 1100 and is the Gaelic form of the Medieval Latin Iohannes. Seán is the same name but has a different etymology, it is from the French Jehan, which in turn is taken from the Latin Iohannes and this form only became popular in Ireland after the arrival of the Normans. Eáin is a form of Eóin in use among Gaels in the southern Hebrides and Argyll and is found in Ulster where Gallóglaigh and Redshanks settled circa 1400 to 1590s.

All three names are also surnames; the modern forms are Mac Seáin, Mac Eóin, and Mac Eáin. In times past before Gaelic became more (or less) standardized there were several spellings of each of these names, for instance Seán could be found spelled Seaghán and Eóin could be found spelled Eoghunn or Eogháin, this later from especially confusing as it is identical to another Gaelic name spelled the exact same way meaning ‘well born.’

All three of the surnames have a variety of anglicised forms; Mac Seáin is rendered as McShane, Johnson, Johnston, and Jackson. Mac Eóin is rendered as McCown, McKeon, McKeown, McEoin, McOwen, Johnson, and Johnston. Mac Eáin is anglicised as McCain, McKane, McKean, Johnson, and Johnston. Eáin is also found in the surname Mac Giolla Eáin which is anglicised as McClain, McLane, etc.

The variety of anglicised forms of these surnames can provide a significant problem to overcome for family history researchers not to mention all these names were popular and are found in many districts in both Ireland and Scotland, not to mention the Isle of Man. Fortunately, DNA testing easily sorts out one group from the other.

Monday, 18 January 2010

The Bann Valley Henry Family

The Henry family of the Bann Valley was an early participant in the Ulster Heritage DNA Project. The family is very numerous and many branches of this family immigrated to North America in the 1700s. DNA results have located many branches of this family in the Diaspora, yet for the longest time their origins remained a mystery.

They knew they were from Ulster and many of them lived in the Bann Valley, but their origins, were unclear. Were they native Irish, did they come to Ulster during the Plantation, or perhaps they were Highland Scottish Gaels that had migrated from Argyll or the Hebrides, to Ulster? As the DNA data base grows facts have come to light that give researchers great insight into this Ulster family's origins.

DNA research not only provides useful genealogical data such as confirming paternal kinship, but the testing also provides hard facts about a family's origin. This often manifests in revealing paternally related kinship groups, often with another surname. In a great number of cases DNA matches will also develop a very definite geographic location which reveals that a family lived in a particular township or parish for a very long time. This is the case with the Henry family of the Bann Valley. In their case a series of DNA matches have now linked the Henry families to mid Argyll and a complex group of Highland Gaelic families.

Henry is an anglicised surname, in their case, from the Gaelic surname Mac Eanruig. Many of the Henry lines had an oral history of old links to Scotland, but over the years the details of these links have been forgotten as has happened in so many cases. Their results now confirm that they are related a group of Gaelic families in mid Argyll. Research is still ongoing with this family and now the focus is to try an ascertain which particular Mac Eanruig clan they are.

The non surname matches to the Henry family provide tantalizing clues. They share paternal kinship with the Mac Eáin family of Kilmichael Glen in Kilmichael Glassary, and to a Mac Donnchadh family, also from mid Argyll, and several other families which are also paternally related, but going back further in history, are Mac Artúir, Mac an Leatha, and Mac Ailpín families all from mid Argyll. As more and more families participate in DNA testing it is only a matter of time until more information about the Henry, or Mac Eanruig, family is collected. Given the nature of their DNA results, the related families and geographic location, it is very possible and even probably that they are part of a kinship group that has long been in mid Argyll one can only look forward to updates on this fascinating family.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

New Toys For Genealogists

Jim McKane, our intrepid webmaster and Moose hunter extraordinaire, has located a piece of new technology that is especially useful for genealogists. Link is below.

Jim is a bona fide snowbird and in December did his annual migration from Ontario to Arizona, where he writes to us that the weather is just fine.