Two Minute Irish Genealogy Tip: The O Factor!

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Many Irish surnames begin with O’, such as O’Grady, O’Sullivan, O’Neill, O’Reilly, and O’Brien. An O prefix on a surname translates to “grandson of”, whereas a Mac prefix translates to “son of”. It was not uncommon for Irish immigrants coming to America in the 19th century to lose the O’ or Mac, when they processed through U.S. Immigration, whether by choice or not. When searching for an Irish ancestor’s records in Ireland, it is wise to not only look for the surname without the O’, but also the surname with the O’. For example, in addition to looking for your grandfather James Sullivan in Ireland, you should also look for James O’Sullivan. You may find that your Irish family name originally had an O’ prefix long ago, before your ancestors traveled to America.

This Irish Genealogy tip and other tips, techniques, and tales can be found in our Irish Genealogy eBook available in all on-line bookstores, Amazon, Google Play, Apple iBooks, and Barnes and Noble Nook.  Go to your preferred on-line bookstore and search for the author “M. D. Healy” to find it.

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