Ireland, Carlin Clan, Eogan

The Carlin Clan of North West Ireland

Editor’s note: The following brief history of the Carlin clan associated with County Donegal and County Derry is indicative of what the reader can expect to encounter with each of the 300+ histories of surnames compiled by Brian Mitchell in his book, The Surnames of North West Ireland: Concise Histories of the Major Surnames of Gaelic and Planter Origin. The author believes that these histories document the surname origins of over 80 percent of people with roots in North West Ireland. These surname histories are also relevant to those whose ancestors originated in the northern province of Ulster (i.e., Counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, and Tyrone in Northern Ireland, and Counties Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland).

Please enjoy the following post below, by Brian Mitchell. Remember that Carlin is just one of the hundreds of surnames from Anderson and Devine to Quigley and Young summarized in The Surnames of North West Ireland, and may help you on your search for Irish ancestry: 

The Carlin Clan of North West Ireland: A Representative Surname History

The O’Carlin sept trace their lineage to Eogan, son of the 5th century High King of Ireland, Niall of the Nine Hostages, who ruled from the Hill of Tara, County Meath. Eogan and his brother Conall Gulban conquered northwest Ireland, ca.425 AD, capturing the great hill-fort of Grianan of Ailech in County Donegal.

Eogan, styled “King of Ailech,” established his own kingdom in the peninsula in County Donegal still called Inishowen (Innis Eoghain or Eogan’s Isle) after him. His descendants, known as the Cenel Eoghain (the race of Owen), became the principal branch of the Northern Ui Neill (descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages). The Cenel Eoghain in the next five centuries expanded to the east and south from their focal point in Inishowen.

Ireland was one of the first countries to adopt a system of hereditary surnames that developed from a more ancient system of clan or sept names. The surname was formed by prefixing either Mac (son of) or O (grandson or descendant of) to the ancestor’s name. Carlin and O’Carolan, an earlier anglicized form of the name, are derived from Gaelic O Caireallain.

The O’Carlins were the leading sept of Clann Diarmata, i.e. Clan Dermot. In County Donegal they were erenaghs, i.e. hereditary stewards, of the church lands of Clonleigh in the barony of Raphoe. They also seized a portion of O’Gormley territory around Donaghmore, County Donegal, in the late 12th century.

Clan Dermot was, in turn, a branch of Clan Connor Magh Ithe (Connor was a direct descendant of Eogan). Magh Ithe is the rich countryside stretching southward from Inishowen, later known as the Laggan district in east Donegal. In the 10th century AD the families of Clan Connor moved out from the cramped territory of Magh Ithe and established themselves in County Derry, in the kingdom of Keenaght, to the north of the Sperrin Mountains, from the Foyle to the Bann rivers.

In the process they ousted the Cianachta whose leading sept was the O’Connors of Glengiven in the Roe Valley.

By the 12th century, when the process of conquest ends, the various septs of Clan Connor were firmly settled in County Derry. Clan Dermot, who gave their name to the parish of Clondermot or Glendermott, and its chief family O’Carrolan were firmly established to the south of the Faughan river.

The O’Carolans were very powerful in the neighbourhood of Derry during the 12th century and were mentioned frequently in the Annals of Ireland. In 1177 Niall O’Gormly, Lord of the men of Magh Ithe, was slain by Donough O’Carellan and the Clandermot in the middle of Derry Columbkille. In the same year a Norman raiding party led by John de Courcy slew Conor O’Carellan, chief of Clandermot. In 1200 Egneghan O’Donnell, Lord of Tirconnell, defeated Clan Dermot in a battle at Rosses Bay, a short distance north of Derry.

The surnames Carlin, O’Carlin, and O’Carolan have also been anglicized to Carleton. This can cause confusion as the Carletons, also recorded as Charlton, were one of the great riding clans on the English side of the Scottish Borders in Cumbria and Northumberland.

Image credit: The plaque marking the resting place of King Eógan mac Néill in Iskaheen, County Donegal, Ireland. By Radosław Botev (Own work) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons.

cemetery, locating cemeteries, finding gravestones

Locating and Visiting Cemeteries

Editor’s note: The following post is by William Dollarhide, who has not only provided excellent tips of both the serious and witty variety, but is an accomplished Genealogical Publishing Company author. As Mr. Dollarhide excels not only an author but also as a gifted speaker and award winning genealogist, we are always delighted to share his advice, wisdom and wit with our readers. This is part one of his coverage of the topic of locating and visiting cemeteries. 

Locating and Visiting Cemeteries – Part One

DOLLARHIDE GENEALOGY RULE #21: To understand the living, you have to commune with the dead–but don’t commune with the dead so long that you forget that you are living! (From “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”)

Although I would not consider myself to be obsessed with death, burials, or other ghoulish activities, I have had some wonderful experiences in cemeteries. I am sure I am not alone. Since visiting cemeteries is part of what we do to find information about our ancestors, every genealogist has a cemetery story. These stories may include the weird problems associated with cemeteries as well as the wonderful discoveries that can be found there.

To most genealogists, the first problem is always that of finding the exact location of a cemetery where an ancestor was supposed to have been buried. But once the cemetery has been located, other problems prevail, such as finding a gravestone in an old unkempt graveyard with no finding aids available.

Here are some thoughts on finding and visiting cemeteries that may be of use to genealogists:

Finding-Tools for Locating Cemeteries

Death Certificates and Funeral Homes

A death certificate may give the name of a cemetery where the deceased was interred, as well as the name of a funeral home. The funeral home (or its successor) is probably still in business and should be contacted. To do this, use the “Yellow Book” (a directory of funeral homes) to find a funeral home today. Funeral home directors are clearly the best experts on the location of cemeteries in a particular area.

The “Yellow Book” is distributed annually to every funeral home in North America. Anyone should be able to call or visit a local funeral home and request to use their directory to find an address and phone number for any other funeral home. Fortunately, the same “Yellow Book” database is now on the Internet at where the address and phone number for virtually every funeral home in the U.S. and Canada can be found online.

GENEALOGY RULE #3: When visiting a funeral home, wear old clothes, no makeup, and look like you have about a week to live–the funeral director will give you anything you ask for if he thinks you may be a customer soon.


Another possible source for locating a cemetery where an ancestor was buried is to see if a printed obituary for the deceased person includes information about where the body was interred. Obituaries are found in newspapers published near the place where a person died. Many old newspapers are available to genealogical researchers on microfilm, and they usually are located in a public library, college library, archives, genealogical society, historical society, or some other institution near the place of death of the subject.

A two-volume publication, “Newspapers in Microform,” published by the Library of Congress, is the best listing of what newspapers might be found on microfilm. The publication acts as a means of identifying and then borrowing rolls of film, which can be used at a local library through the national Interlibrary Loan System at more than 6,000 libraries in the U.S.

In addition, state libraries or state archives usually have the best collection of newspapers for a particular state. Most state archives now have a website on the Internet, where you may discover a detailed review of county newspapers.

The Internet is also a good place to search for obituaries that may have been published for a particular area. Check under that category, or use your browser to search the web for the keyword, “obituaries.”

Using the GNIS to Find a Cemetery

There is another great tool for locating a particular cemetery that may not be obvious to researchers. The most complete listing and locations of named cemeteries in the U.S. can be found at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website at

This site has the USGS’s Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), which encompasses some two million place names (map features) in America, of which about 107,000 are cemeteries. The GNIS includes the largest list of named cemeteries published anywhere. (A few years ago, a very expensive printed publication advertised as the “most complete list of cemeteries in America” was produced, showing about 25,000 cemeteries–less than one-fourth the number that can be found in the GNIS listing.)

The GNIS cemetery names were taken from the detailed maps of the 7.5 x 7.5 minute series published by the USGS. (Each map in this series covers 7.5 minutes of latitude and 7.5 minutes of longitude, a rectangle representing an area about 6-7 miles wide by about 7-8 miles deep.) For the 7.5 series, more than 50,000 maps were required to show the entire U.S. and its possessions.

In addition to cemeteries, all other named features from the maps were extracted, including cities, towns, villages, hills, mountains, valleys, oil fields, airports, post offices, streams, lakes, and any other place on a map with a name. For years, genealogists were compelled to pay up to $3.00 per map for the USGS 7.5 series maps. Today, they are all accessible from the Internet and can be downloaded directly to your printer.

Image credit: By Kevin M. Byrne (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.


colonial maryland, white slave, white slave children

Origins and Descendants of White Slave Children of Colonial Maryland and Virginia

Editor’s Note: The following post is written by Genealogical Publishing Company author Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips. His books tread into territory that has been previously underreported, colonial white slave children. In his post below, Dr. Phillips discussing some of his research efforts that went into the making of White Slave Children of Colonial Maryland and Virginia: Birth and Shipping Records, as well as the reasons behind writing this book.

The Genealogist as Detective: Richard Hayes Phillips and the Search for the Origins and Descendants of White Slave Children of Colonial Maryland and Virginia

Some time ago I published a book — Without Indentures: Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records  — in which are identified, by name, 5290 “servants” without indentures, transported without their consent, against their will, to the Chesapeake Bay, and sentenced to slavery by the County Courts of colonial Maryland and Virginia.  The younger the child, the longer the sentence.  These were white kids, with surnames different from those of their masters. Continue reading…

white slavery

White Slavery – A Story Behind the Index

Editor’s note: In this groundbreaking work, Without Indentures: Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records, Richard Hayes Phillips has collected the names of more than five thousand children kidnapped from Ireland, Scotland, England, and New England, and sold into white slavery in Maryland and Virginia, c. 1660-1720.

As this topic tends to be largely under reported, save for the predominantly inaccessible historical records, Without Indentures brings forth the names of those children bound into white slavery so they can be placed into context within their family histories.

Please enjoy the following behind the scenes look on the making of the book, written by the author, Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D.

The Story Behind Without Indentures: Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records

By Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D.

I do not seek out controversy.  It finds me.  I do have an inquisitive mind, and one thing leads to another, but I didn’t know genealogy could be so controversial. Continue reading…

Santa Fe Presidio, Across the spanish empire, spanish soldiers revolutionary war

The Making of From Across the Spanish Empire

Editor’s note: We are delighted to share this behind the scenes look at the making of From Across the Spanish Empire: Spanish Soldiers Who Helped Win the American Revolutionary War, 1776-1783, written by Leroy Martinez. This newly released book is the first to identify the Spanish combatants serving in North America during the American Revolution. At the heart of Mr. Martinez’ groundbreaking book, of course, are the lists of Spanish soldiers of this era. Separate chapters list those who served in Arizona, California, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas. In most cases Mr. Martinez identifies each soldier by name, military unit, rank and date, and the source, as well as sometimes by age, place of origin in Europe, theater served in, and other factors.

Please enjoy this glimpse into the personal history of the author and how that influenced the writing of Genealogical Publishing Company’s From Across the Spanish Empire. This post is written by the author himself, Leroy Martinez.


The Making of From Across the Spanish Empire, by Leroy Martinez

I am a history and genealogy addict. I have always enjoyed history and it was not until I reached my fifties that I started my genealogy.  I will begin with saying something about myself, how I became interested in genealogy, how my experience in life led me to being a researcher, and the result of my research discoveries. Benjamin Franklin said in 1738, “If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten; Either write things worthy of reading, or do things worthy of writing.” Continue reading…