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MCCARTHY Family History

Mac Cárthaigh- anglicised MacCarthy, McCarthy, MacCarty, MacArthie, Carthy et al. Woulfe gives the root as Cárthach, Old Celtic 'Caratacos', meaning 'loving' ('Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall', 1923). That must remain conjectural; one thing not in doubt is the antiquity of the M(a)cCarthy surname, derived from Cárthach, Lord of the Eóghanacht of Cashel, who died in 1045 in the deliberate burning of his residence by the O'Lonergans, according to 'The Annals of the Four Masters'.

Generally, MacCarthy has retained its prefix 'mac' (=son (of)), more usually anglicised as ‘Mc’. Of course, the old red herring that Mac is Scottish and Mc is Irish (or was it the other way round?) should by now be dead and buried. Carthy without its prefix is occasionally found but Carty is usually attributable to any of several independent O’Carty septs scattered about Ireland deriving from same Cárthach forename. 

M(a)cCarthy is in the top 12 names in Ireland, and looks set to stay there; the majority in Ireland today being found in Co Cork. The McCarthys’ stamping ground was always south Munster, where, as purported descendants of Olioll Olum (or Ailill Ólom), king of Munster in the 3rd century(!), they claimed to have an Eoghanacht paternal bloodline (this name deriving from Olioll Olum’s son Eoghan). The McCarthy Surname Study, testing the Y-DNA of over 300 present-day McCarthys and variants of the name, has clearly shown that this provenance is not valid. The traditional paternal origin in Cárthach’s great grandfather Ceallachán of Cashel, king of all the Eoghanacht peoples for a number of years off and on before his death in 954, has been validated, but Y-DNA indicates that Ceallachán’s paternal ancestry is of a completely different paternal bloodline. About 20% of today’s McCarthys do, though, descend from Olioll Olum, but ironically these have acquired the name by means other than descent in their paternal ancestry from the eponymous Cárthach.

From the time of Cárthach’s death, there are frequent references to his progeny throughout the 'Annals', so important a role did they take, particularly after the high king of Ireland's 'sponsorship' of the MacCarthys in the mid twelfth century. Certainly, Ruaidrí Ó Conchobair wanted to help the MacCarthys, by now the most powerful family in south Munster reputedly evolving from Eóghanacht origins, to establish the kingdom of Desmond. This would thus drive a wedge through Munster territory, ensuring that the Ó Briain kings, who had held the upper hand in their dynastic power struggle with the MacCarthys since the time of Brain Bóru(mha) a century and a half earlier, were restricted to North Munster (the kingdom of Thomond).

In the Pender 'Census' of 1659, carried out by William Petty's officials, McCarthy (or variants thereof) are listed among the ‘Principal Irish Names occurring in towns, baronies and cantreds as follows:

Co Cork
Cork City, 17 families of McCarthey; Ibawne and Barrymore, 19 McCarty; Kinalea 23 Carthy;  Kinalmeaky 6 McCarthy; Killbrittaine, 23 Carthy; Carbery East, 26 Ó Carthy, Carthy Oge and Carthy (see above re these names); Carbery West, 24 McCarthy; Orrery and Kilmore, 11 Carthy.

However it is obvious from the abundance of occurrences of names such as McDaniell, McOwen, McTeige and possibly McDonough (where not representing O’Donoghue), that the names of many were simply given, or at least recorded, in the format M(a)c + Father’s forename, and this concealed many McCarthys. Ó Finine and Reagh, the name of the leading McCarthy sept in West Cork, were also likely McCarthys..

Co Limerick
Connologh Barony, Carty/McCarty 18.

Co Waterford
Barony Cosmore & Cosbride, Carty/McCarty 7.

There are no instances of the name in the Census returns for Cos Tipperary and Kerry, but the above note about concealment of McCarthy names again applies.

By the mid nineteenth century and the Griffith's 'Valuation' of households, the most common variant of the name seems to have been McCarthy, and the ensuing counties had the most: Cork 2094 + City 204, Kerry 715, Limerick 280 + City 30, Waterford 129.

The Registrar's figures for births in 1890 reveal that most occurred in Munster (438) with the next highest number in Leinster with a mere 35! The counties with highest numbers were Cork (with more than half the total Irish figure, which was 481), Kerry and Limerick.

A mere glance at the historical background indicates Co Cork as MacCarthy Heartland. The three great divisions of Clan Carthy were MacCarthy Mór [big, great], actually based in Kerry, MacCarthy Reagh ['swarthy'] and MacCarthy of Muskerry.

Two favourite historical MacCarthy figures of mine are [abundant choice!]:

Finin MacCarthaig, king of Desmond, 13th century resistance fighter; he curbed the Norman expansion in Munster.

Donough MacCarthy [1594-1665] Viscount Muskerry; he was a shrewd and intelligent operator in the upheavals of the mid 17th century. After the Confederacy of 1641, he was a builder between religious and ethnic sectarian interests, in facing the main threat: Cromwellian tyranny. In this he wasn't aided by the extreme catholic faction, headed by Rinuccini, the papal legate. The Muscrys [sic] held Blarney Castle.

Among their many foundations, Cormac MacCarthy (killed 1138) added the famous Romanesque chapel named after him to the assembly of ecclesiastical buildings on the Rock of Cashel.

The Cormac Mór who lived in Blarney castle temp Elizabeth 1st, known as the 'Baron of Blarney', attended the Parliament in London in 1578. He also became a Protestant. A tale has it that his consistently evasive letters, in response to Queen Elizabeth’s demands roused her to call his protestations ‘blarney’. So started the legend that kissing the Blarney Stone would convey eloquence.

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    Stephen Treacy

    Following on from Nigel's fantastic virtual McCarthy Gathering last week, here is Nigel's second book 'Tracing Your McCarthy Family Tree using Y DNA book https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09GRFPZX9

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    Stephen Treacy

    Following on from Nigel's fantastic virtual McCarthy Gathering last week, here is the link to Nigel's 'Tracing Your McCarthy Family Tree book https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0971CXN11  
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    Stephen Treacy

    Just want to make sure everyone knows about our McCarthy meet up Thursday 25th at 7pm (Ireland time). Email us at info@ireland101.com and you'll be sent the link. Thanks 
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    Christopher McCarthy

    I've been told that my great grandfather, Bartholomew McCarthy,  was born in the Cork area around the 1870's and migrated to NYC in the early 1900's. Many of the Records are probably lost due many records were held in local churches and lost or destroyed during WWII. 
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    Stephen Treacy

    Hi Chris, just checking you know about the McCarthy meet up 7pm (Ireland) 25th Aug, rsvp by emailing info@ireland101.com thanks
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    Megan McCarthy

    My father, Joseph McCarthy told me that his grandfather - also Joseph McCarthy was born in Lucan County, Ontario in 1854. His father Joe came over from the potato famine/genocide, but back in Ireland the genealogy trail runs dry. The McCarthys of Ontario were involved in the famous Donnelly massacre, and moved very shortly after to Chicago, where my grandfather was born. No-one was ever accused of the crime - everybody hated the Donnellys apparently.
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    Stephen Treacy

    Hi Megan, just checking you know about the McCarthy meet up 7pm (Ireland) 25th Aug, rsvp by emailing info@ireland101.com thanks
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    Luke

    I am a Mccarthy and live in Sheffield. My family are all from Ireland and there's still lots over there I have never met. Not sure where they are all from but I think it's county kerry, listowel, and Dublin.. My great grandfather was a man called sonny canavan. He made drums.
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    Stephen Treacy

    Hi Luke, just checking you know about the McCarthy meet up 7pm (Ireland) 25th Aug, rsvp by emailing info@ireland101.com thanks
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    Hannah

    Yes sonny canavan was famous for making bodhran drums and was the best at doing so, in which people from all around the world would travel to Ireland just to get their hands on one. He was also a very very well respected man, he had one glass eye from being shot in the face and would often take it out in the pub to give the locals a fright.
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    McCarthy

    My great grandfather was Johnny the baker from Manchester conn
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    Stephen Treacy

    Hi, just checking you know about the McCarthy meet up 7pm (Ireland) 25th Aug, rsvp by emailing info@ireland101.com thanks
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    Beverley Johnston

    I have Mary McCarthy born c 1853 in Cork. Immigrated to Queensland, Australia in 1877 with sister, Nora. Mary's marriage certificate states that her parents were Timothy McCarthy and Kate Leary. Can anyone help with information on where they came from and if there were any more siblings.
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    Stephen Treacy

    Hi Beverley, just checking you know about the McCarthy meet up 7pm (Ireland) 25th Aug, rsvp by emailing info@ireland101.com thanks
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    Joanne Heuss

    My family came from Cork. My 5th GreatGrandfather was Timothy McCarthy 1801-1876. His father was Eoghan (Owen) McCarthy 1756-1847 and was married to Hanora Dennehey or Dehahy. These family members were from Claragh, Millstreet, Co. Cork. My family members have been traced to Donal Caomh Reagh MacCarthy Direct ancestor (20 generations) 1240 - 1320 and further back than that.
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    Stephen Treacy

    Hi Joanne, just checking you know about the McCarthy meet up 7pm (Ireland) 25th Aug, rsvp by emailing info@ireland101.com thanks
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    Angela Wyatt

    I have just recently started searching for my family in Ireland. My 5th great grandparents were Owen and Hanonah Dennehy McCarthy could you be any help in where to look
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    McCarthy

    Don’t know
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    McCarthy

    I’m not sure of anyone
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    Tully

    Hi all, Am researching my McCarthy Ancestors on my paternal Grandmothers Mothers side. Who came to India in the mid 1800’s. I do not have their birth or marriage records, still trying to find the same through the British Library which has India records and also on find my past etc. I have records of his children being born - all in India and also his death in India in 1908. He was working as a Chief Guard in the South Indian Railways. It could be him who came to India or his Father before him. The name was Thomas Dever McCarthy. Married Anne Elizabeth Patterson in India. Many many thanks. Regards. Savio Castell.
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    Stephen Treacy

    Hi Savio, just checking you know about the McCarthy meet up 7pm (Ireland) 25th Aug, rsvp by emailing info@ireland101.com thanks
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    Anthony Barrett

    (Part 1 of 3) The McCarthy name has a long history in Ireland, but now DNA and some recorded history says the Kerry region of McCarthy’s has a separate origin from the McCarthy’s of Cork. The Kerry McCarthy story [dominated by DNA tribal marker R1b-L513, Subgroup O2] can trace their beginnings to what is now County Kerry from 50 BCE. Perhaps the journey begins with the Clanna Dedad; Deda, son of Sen or Deda Mac Sin. The McCarthy surname origin is possibly a branch of what will become the Dáirine [R1b-L513] who are found in south Ireland around 300 CE.
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    Stephen Treacy

    Hi Anthony, just checking you know about the McCarthy meet up 7pm (Ireland) 25th Aug, rsvp by emailing info@ireland101.com thanks
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    Anthony Barrett

    (Part 2 of 3) According to research, the Dáirine will join with the Dál Riata of north-east Ireland and invade Scotland around 500 CE. But how could this be? Recent discoveries from DNA testing are unlocking the migration patterns of Celtic tribes as late as 800 CE to 1200 CE. The McCarthy story begins in pre-history Ireland but many of his descendants will then move to Kintyre, Scotland where they and other R1b-L513 members will form the Dalriada. This line and many of his kin will then travel to Brittany, France during the Dark Ages.
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    Anthony Barrett

    (Part 3 of 3) Discover their newly found untold story and how forgotten texts bring their story back to life. From the ebook, “The Tribe Within” learn how DNA unfolds this amazing tale and if you look in the right places, how history narrates this evidence. There is another written account of their story, but it is camouflaged in smoke and myth – it will become the tales of King Arthur. Come follow in the footsteps of Deda Mac Sin and visit https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/401207
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