Where in Ireland are your Boylan roots?

Monday, June 25, 2007

O'Baoigheallain to Baylon to Boylan to Boylen?

So I'm back from Ireland...amazing! I learned so much and will be adding new information for awhile. I think the biggest personal revelation is that my Boylan ancestors likely spoke Irish when they immigrated. I had suspected this from my previous research but it was only a theory; now I feel its confirmed. I think I read somewhere that roughly 25% of the residents of Louth were primarily Irish speakers at the time of the Famine. This was true mainly in the rural areas. Well, Dromin is definitely a rural village.

My previous clue had been that in all American records my g-g-g-g grandmother's name was Julia but in all Irish records it was Judith. Some internet research showed that both Judith and Julia came from the same Irish root.

The parish priest in Dromin (more about that in a later post) gave me more useful info. There are still members of the Boylan clan in Ireland that spell their name Baylon. Baylon is a more phonetic English translation of the Irish O'Baoigheallain. In the 1844 Ardee Union Poor Law Rate Book my g-g-g-g grandfather, Matthew, listed his last name as Baylon. I had seen this but considered it a mistake (I should know to never do that...). But in the 1854 version of the same record he listed his last name as Boylan. The Baylon spending seems a further indication of their primary language.

Finally, the priest showed me the grave of the parish priest during the 1830's in the parish cemetary. The picture to the left is of the grave of Father Magee of Dromin. Father Magee delivered his sermons in Irish at the church. This is further evidence that the Catholic population of Dromin spoke Irish.

It is interesting for me to see the evolution of this name over time as the Irish language was assaulted and replaced by English. And then how the name was further altered upon my relatives immigration to the U.S.

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