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Some Historical Notes on the Guerin Surname in Co. Clare by Pat Guerin
The Name: Spelling Variants & Their Distribution Nationally: Numerical Distribution

As part of the research into the Guerin surname a listing was compiled of Deaths taken from the Civil Registers in Lombard Street, Dublin for the periods 1864 – 1873 and 1890 – 1899. These Registers record deaths by Civil Registration Districts (see map on following pages); thus a Killaloe death is recorded under the Scariff District, a Quin death under the Tulla District, a Ballina death under the Nenagh District etc.

The list was analysed to show the distribution (numerical and geographical) of the various ‘Guerin’ name variants. The detailed results are shown in separate tables at the end of this chapter. A summary of the results from these tables is given below.

 
1864-73
1890-99
 
Gear (- an, en, in, n, on)
18 %
15 %
Ger (- an, ane, en, in, ine, on)
24 %
21 %
Guer (- an, in, n, on)
54 %
60 %
Other
4 %
4 %

The distribution of the name variants are broadly the same for each of the ten (10) year periods. Guer-in (and its sub-variants) make up over half the distribution in each 10 year period with a 10% increase between the periods. This increase would seem to result from a consolidation around the variant Guerin at the expense of some of its own (Guer) and the other root variants (Gear, Ger).

Overall, as stated, there is no significant variation in the distribution of the actual name variants between the two ten year periods. It is possible that as mentioned later in regards to the Guerins of Ennis most of the consolidation of the variants around a central spelling i.e. Guerin had occurred prior to 1850.

This analysis of name variants from the death records is facilitated by the concentration of these records into one national register under the Civil Registration Act of 1864. A similar analysis from earlier in the 1800s would provide a most useful basis of comparison over a longer time period. The Tithe Applotment (Composition Act of 1823) returns would be a suitable candidate for this analysis; unfortunately these returns do not, at present, lend themselves to doing this as they are only available in distributed book form. In the case of the six counties of Northern Ireland these returns have recently been compiled into one CD by a company specialising in genealogical research; should the same or another company do likewise for the Republic then another but earlier name distribution table could readily be drawn up.

 
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