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Some Historical Notes on the Guerin Surname in Co. Clare by Pat Guerin
Historical Perspective

The Genealogical Office (Kildare St., Dublin) manuscript GO545 is a document written by Thomas Guerin (born 13 Sept. 1886 at Montreal Canada). It is handwritten on what appears to be a school copybook and is titled “Extracts from deeds, records etc. relating to the name Guerin in Ireland & England”. See Appendix 3 to this book for a typewritten copy of the main text of Thomas Guerin’s handwritten document.

It would seem from reading the document that the author believes himself to be of Hiberno-Huguenot origin. However, while he supplies a lot of interesting historical documentation around the name Guerin in Ireland and the connection of the Huguenot bearers of that name with both England and Ireland, his claim to Huguenot descent rests primarily on family oral tradition. His manuscript does not provide the documentary trail, which would establish beyond reasonable doubt, the Huguenot line of descent he claims.

I have included Ms GO545 for two reasons. Firstly, it is the earliest Guerin family history I have come across; secondly, it has some very interesting references to indigenous pre-Norman and pre-Huguenot Geran, O’Gerane, O’Gyeran etc.

In the opening pages of his document Thomas Guerin tries to put his quest for his origins and that of the name Guerin in Ireland in a historical perspective:

“In Ireland there appear to have been two names of similar sound but different spelling. The sextons who made the church entries spelled the name phonetically as they heard it pronounced and they have caused great confusion in the old records – I have found entries relating to my own family – (who have always spelled it Guerin) spelled Geran or even Gordon. The name Geran appears to have been Celtic while the name Guerin does not appear till the time of the Huguenot exodus from France.”

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Irish/Gaelic Origin: MS 545