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CARROLL Family History

Ó Cearbhaill- anglicised as Carroll, O Carroll, earlier as O' Carvill, O' Carwell &c. from personal name Cearbhail, a common personal name in early Ireland. Various interpretations have been offered for this name, e.g. 'valorous in sword fighting' and ''courageous in battle'.

Mac Cearbhaill- anglicised McCarroll, McCarvill, Carroll, earlier M'Carvell, M'Carwell &c. from same personal name as above.

Ó Cearbhaill is the name of several distinct septs in different parts of Ireland. Perhaps the best known is that of Éile uí Chearbhaill or Ely O Carroll, which was centred on the present town of Birr in Co Offally. The territory of Éile, the whole of which the O Carrolls ruled, comprises the baronies of Ballybritt and Clonlisk in modern Co Offaly, and Eliogurty & Ikerrin in northern Tipperary. The Norman Butlers, Earls of Ormond, post invasion, pushed the O Carrolls into the land around Birr, that is, strictly speaking, Éile Uí Chearbhaill (Ely O Carroll). Their eponymous ancestor, Cearbhall, was of the host which fought the Norse and their allies at Clontarf in 1014.

Another sept is that of O Carroll of Oriel. Orghialla or Oriel consisted of the present counties of Armagh, Monaghan and parts of Down, Louth and Fermanagh. This sept were chiefs of Oriel before the Anglo-Norman invasions of 1171/2, when they seem to '...disappear from history. They are still numerous in Monaghan and Louth' (P. Woulfe, 'Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall', 1923).

Ó Cearbhaill of Loch Léin in Co Kerry is the name of a sept who were chiefs of the Eóghanachta or Eoganacht, a very early tribal dynasty who ruled Munster in the 4th century. It seems this population group had displaced the even earlier, possibly non-Gaelic (cf O' Rahilly) Erainn, and were themselves eclipsed by the Dál gCais or Dalcassians in the 10th century.

Ó Cearbhaill of Osraighe or Ossory (territory comprising most of present Co Kilkenny and western Laois), descend, it is reputed, from the chieftain called Cearbhal who flourished in the 9th century. The Annals of the Four Masters has for the year 845: ' A slaughter made of the foreigners of Ath Cliath (Vikings of Dublin) by Cearbhall macDúnlainge, lord of Osraighe, where 12 hundred were slain'. Some of the north-western portion of Ossory was actually in Ely O Carrol territory, therefore a connection between the Ossory O Carrolls and the foregoing can not be ruled out.

Ó Cearbhaill of Tara, in modern County Meath, were a sept of the Southern Uí Néill, quite distinct from the foregoing. The Southern Uí Néill were the main royal dynasty in Ireland during the early Middle Ages, providing the ard-rí, or high king at Tara.

Mac Cearbhaill, usually anglicised McCarvill, but also as Carroll, is well known as an Ulster name, appertaining to a family long celebrated for its musical talent.

Another sept of O Carrolls inhabited the region of Calry, Calraige Mór, that is eastern Sligo and north-west Leitrim.

A study of the 1659 'Census', undertaken by the Cromwellian surveyor Sir William Petty, reveals (O) Carroll as a 'Principal Irish Name' in the following counties:

Offaly (baronies)
Philliptowne, 13 (all families) of Carroll; Ballycowan, 5 Carroll; Clonlisk, Carroll 36, Caroll 5; Eglish, Carroll 6; Ballybritt, Carroll 30.

Slieveardagh, Carroll 14; Lower Ormond, 3 Carroll tituladoes or gemtleman of property are listed; Kilnamanagh, Carroll 13; Iffa(y) & Offa(y), Carroll 16; Eliogurty & Ikerrrin, Carroll 55, & James Carroll 'titulado'.

Cosmay, O Carrull 13.

Kerry, Cork, none.

Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, none.

McCarwell 10.

Lowth, Carwell 17; Farrard, Cawell & Carwell 10; Atherdee, Carroll 7.

Gowran, 7 Carroll; Ida, Igrin &c, Carroll 10; Kells, Carroll 6; Crannagh, Carroll 7.

Ossory, Carroll 5; Upper Ossory, Carroll 4; Maryborough, Carroll 13 and Daniell Carroll gent: Cullenagh, Carroll 3; Portnyhinch, Carroll 10; Tynahinch, Carroll 6 & McCarroll 4.

Scrine, Carrell 5.

Leitrim, Sligo, none.

McCarrelly 27.

By the mid 19th century and Griffith's 'Primary Valuation', most Carroll households were to be found in counties Tipperary 507, Cork (inc city) 331, Limerick (inc city) 315, Dublin (inc city) 266, Louth 258, Laois 247 and Offaly 219. Total Carroll figure 4207.
For McCarroll the top counties were Tyrone 39, Antrim (inc Belfast) 35 and Louth 14. Total 136.

R.E. Matheson's 'Special Report on Surnames...' (1874, 1909), based on births distribution in 1890, shows most registrations for Carroll in counties Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork, Tipperary and Limerick. Nationwide total 374. For McCarroll, births were all in Ulster and principally in Derry: total 13.

Some Illustrious Carrolls:

Maol Ruanaidh Cam [Ó Cearbhaill] (d. 1329) some say he was a native of Tipperary, and member of the Ely O Carroll clan. Friar John Clyn, a contemporary 14th century chronicler of Ireland, calls him 'Kam O Kayrwill' (Bernadette Williams Ed, 'The Annals of Ireland...' 2007). He played the 'tiompán' (a native Irish instrument) and Irish harp, and held a school for tiompán musicians. The 'Annals of the Four Masters' has this, dated 1328: 'sir John Mac Feoras...the most... hospitable of the English of Ireland, was treacherously slain by his own people...with him were slain many of the English and Irish, amongst whom was the blind O Carroll, recté Mac Carroll, that is Mulrony, chief minstrel of Ireland & Scotland in his time'. So, it would seem a Mac rather than an O Carroll?

Daniel Carroll (1730-1796) born in Maryland U.S., brother of the first Catholic bishop of the U.S., John Carroll. Daniel was a signatory to the Constitution of the United States.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737-1832) a cousin of the above, he was the only Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence. He became Senator for Maryland.

William Henry Carroll (1810-1868) was born in Nashville, Tennesee. He owned a plantation in his home state, and when Civil War broke out, became a brigadier general in the Confederate forces. He commanded the 2nd Brigade which fought at Mill Springs, Kentucky in 1862. After the war he removed to Canada, where he died.
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    Sheila M Walton

    Hi! I have several different Carroll families as ancestors, and am stuck in research.

    James Carroll, the brother of my great Grandfather married Margaret O'Carroll daughter of Cain O'Carroll, son of Kiran? O'Carroll.
    My great grandfather, John Carroll married Eliza Carroll after coming to America. I can trace my great grandfather but not my great grandmother?


    Michael T Carroll

    hi. i am a carroll with ancestry to King's Cove, newfoundland. cannot get from newfoundland back to ireland. anyone know of a john carroll b. 1869 m. Anastasia Sexton. Seeking to know ancestry of john carroll. thx


    I am a descendant of Stephen Carroll born 1733 in Tipperary, Ireland to Patrick Carroll and Bridge Ann Wild. He came to the US with two brothers and settled in Wilmington, North Carolina where he died in 1828. His son Benjamin Carroll fought in the North Carolina Militia during the Revolutionary War. I was wanting to find out more of my relatives from Ireland. My name is Jacob Carroll

    Patrick carroll

    Hi Our people are from county laois Ireland

    Teresa Zimmerman

    Looking for info re: gggrandfather John A. Carroll born in County Mayo 1822 (spouse, Ellen Monahan Carroll -no other info known). Their child, James E. Carroll, is my gggrandfather, born New York City, New York, USA on Sept. 13, 1846 (spouse, Anna McHale Carroll of St. Louis, Missouri.) To this union ten children were born; one is my ggrandmother, Margaret Ellen Carroll Abell, born December 11, 1880, Amboy, Illinois, USA.

    Tom Stevens

    I was a bit surprised that County Cavan was not mentioned unless other Crrolls migrated there. What might have been their County of origin? Like another entry, my maternal grandmother's dad, James Carroll, Jr., was born in County Cavan. His DOBnwas November 11, 1833 in Maudabawn, Cootehill, Drumgoon Parish, County Cavan, Ulster Province, Ireland While Co Cavan is in Ulster Province it is part of the Republic of Ireland and not of Northern Ireland.


    Good evening !My Carroll surname comes from some Wiresh Carroll that lived in Argentina in middle 1800s, and had a son Miguel Estevan around 1849 from her wife Carolina. I have found completely zero information about him. Can you help ? Regards !!

    Philomena Foley

    I want to connect with Carroll family Limerick. I have done a lot of 'digging' for information but there are gaps. Do you have a connection to Thomas William Carroll born 17/3/1879, Poona, India. His sister was Ellen Carroll born 6/4/1875, Deesa, India. She is my grandmother. Their mother was Mary who married Thomas Carroll a soldier in India and later married John Dowrie, also a soldier, in India. They retruned to live in Dixons Lane in limerick. The gap is who is Mary an how she was in India. Anybody????


    Rich I am searching for birthplace of my g-grandfather Patrick Carroll born about 1828 somewhere in Ireland. He immigrated to the US in the mid 1850's. I am also searching for any Carroll family members in the I-P37 DNA Haplogroup. Thanks


    Looking for my gggrandmother Mary Carroll born 1845 Co Cavan Father James Carroll farmer mother Mary Carolan. She came to Australia and married John Malone here in 1864 Regards Ray Coster Australia

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