McNamara and McMahon Top List as New Surnames Database Added To Clare Library Website

Clare County Library has announced a major expansion of its online genealogical database at
By: Dunphy PR
Aug. 22, 2007 - PRLog -- County Clare, IRELAND, 22nd Aug 07 – Clare County Library has announced a major expansion of its online genealogical database at  

The surnames database allows members of the public to find information on the frequency and spread of surnames in County Clare over a period of almost one hundred years.   The three genealogical sources used on the website are the Census of Population of 1901, Griffith's Valuation of 1855, and the Tithe Applotment Books compiled between 1823 and 1837.

"This addition to the Clare Library website puts a wealth of information on surnames in County Clare at the disposal of anyone with an interest in family history, statistical research, or simply with a curiosity about their own name or locality", explained Noel Crowley, County Librarian.

He added, "It shows that if your name is McMahon or McNamara you feature in the top two in County Clare at all times between 1820 and 1901. O'Brien and Kelly come in third and fourth respectively while Ryan and Moloney vie for fifth place. A combined alphabetical list of every surname which occurs in the surveys is also given, which will help people browse for variations in surname spellings."

The Tithe Applotment Books were compiled between 1823 and 1837 in order to establish the amount landholders should pay towards the upkeep of the Church of Ireland. The taxable land in each parish was surveyed, giving the names of the occupiers of land in each townland, the acreage and class of land they held, and the amount of taxes (tithes) they were liable for.  The "Frequency of Surnames" list for the Books shows that the five most common surnames in County Clare between 1823 and 1837 were McNamara, McMahon, O'Brien, Kelly and Moloney. Some of the more unusual names, occurring once, at this time include Bounce, Clauder, Foge, Jolly, and Nurse.

Griffith's Primary Valuation took place throughout Ireland during the mid 19th century and the valuation of Clare was published in 1855.  The five most common surnames in County Clare that year were McMahon, McNamara, O'Brien, Kelly, and Ryan.  These results are skewed, however, by the nature of the valuation, which names landholders and landowners in each townland.  If a person owned or rented land in a number of townlands, he will be named more than once.  Some unusual surnames found in Clare in 1855 were Berkary, Chaddock, Fetherstone, Juskoe, and Pequin, each name occurring just once.

The 1901 Census of Ireland is the earliest surviving complete census and includes information on first names and surnames, religion, ability to read and write, age, sex, occupation, marital status and county of birth.  The Census shows that there were 3,073 occurrences of McMahon and 2,736 occurrences of McNamara in 1901. Amongst the less frequent names, appearing only once in the Census, were Carlos, Mulpster, Nutterfield, Schmalyreid, and Von Troll.

"Log on now at and check out the popularity of your own name, examine the trends in the movement of names within the county, note the unusual names, observe newcomers to the county and see the disappearance of certain names over the years", concluded Mr. Crowley.

Clare County Library's website has recorded over 2.3 million direct hits since it first went live in 1998.  Recent additions to the site include Churches with Round Towers in Northern Clare by T. J. Westrop; New Literature of County Clare; Standing Stones, Ecclesiastical Remains, Windmills & Tumuli - Clare Monuments; and Census Search Forms 1841 & 1851.

The website - regarded as one of Ireland's most significant sources of genealogical and historical information - also features information on Origins of Heraldry, Parishes and Church Records, Griffith's Valuation Index for Co. Clare 1855, Land Owners in Clare 1876, The Bodyke Evictions, and biographical notices from the Clare Champion newspaper 1935-1985.

For more on the Clare County Library Service log on to


Notes to Editor:
-   Noel Crowley, Clare County Librarian is available for interview (087-2349801).  Please contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy Public Relations on 086-8534900 or email
-   Clare Library website images available on request.

Mark Dunphy
Dunphy Public Relations
County Clare
00353-868534900 (Mobile)
00353-656839692 (Fax)


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