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



1. Thomas Guerin’s claim to a military career and pension was published in its original form in the newspaper “The Ennis Chronicle” in 1868 and reprinted in the “Clare Champion” of Dec. 1993 without any reference to the later disclosures about the bogus nature of the claim.

2. “Short Study of a Transplanted Family in the Seventeenth Century” by E. McLysaght (1941), page 9.

3. “The History and Topography of the County of Clare, from the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the 18th Century, with Map and Illustrations” (1893).

4. The Norman, De Clare, of Bunratty Castle, and his son were both slain in the battle. It had been the policy of the De Clares, since arriving in Co. Clare, to support any O’Brien challenger for the kingship of Thomond in order to depress the power of the rightful claimant and thus advance their own cause. On this occasion the challenger lost and the De Clares paid the price. To quote Frost “De Clare’s widow, hearing of the loss of her husband and son, set fire to the Castle of Bunratty, and with what remained of her followers made sail for England, never to put her foot on Irish ground again.” English rule did not re-appear in Co. Clare for another 200 years.

5. This line is taken from a 1924 publication of “Caithréim Thoirdhealbhaigh.” Using the first two of the source documents already mentioned, the Irish Texts Society in 1924 published a complete reconstruction of “Caithréim Thoirdhealbhaigh” by John, son of Rory McGrath. It was a two-volume edition: Volume I: Gaelic text, Volume II: English translation. The editor was Standish Hayes O’Grady, Litt.D. The ‘O’Geran’ references occur on pp 130 and 114 resp. of Vol. I and Vol. II.

6. Page 204 of this document.

7. The entries here are taken from “The History and Topography of the County of Clare, from the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the 18th. Century, with Map and Illustrations” by James Frost, M.R.I.A. (1893).

8. That is to say, the way English speakers, then and now, pronounce(d) the letters of the English alphabet.

9. Probably present-day Moyriesk near Quin.

10. Ó Géaráin would seem to be derived from the Irish (or Gaelic) word ‘géar’. Géarán (a ‘sharp’ person or thing), when preceded by Ó (grandson) becomes Ó Géaráin (genitive case): grandson of the ‘sharp’ person.
Ó Dónaill’s ‘Irish/English Dictionary (Foclóir Gaeilge – Béarla)’ gives the following translations:

‘géar’: Sharp

  1. with a fine edge or point, painful to touch, thin (of features)
  2. Angular, steep, abrupt
  3. Biting, severe, brilliant, piercing, sarcastic
  4. acid, sour, keen (appetite)
  5. keen/penetrating (mind)
  6. brisk (walk), keen (fight), close (tracking), trying
  7. artful, tricky, petty, mean
  8. sharp (mus)

11. “The Huguenot Settlements in Ireland” by Grace Lawless Lee (Longmans Green 1936) page 120.

12. “The Huguenot Settlements in Ireland” by Grace Lawless Lee (Longmans Green 1936) page 120. Much of this information may have been supplied by the author of Ms GO545.

13. “Registers of The French Church of Portarlington, Ireland.” Edited by Philip Le Fanu. The Publications of the Huguenot Society, London Volume XIX. Printed by Spottiswoode & Co. Ltd., New Street Sq., London. 1908

14. This Register is held in the Library of the Representative Church Body, Braemor Road, Dublin 14.

15. “The Huguenot Settlements in Ireland” by Grace Lawless Lee (Longmans Green 1936). London; New York; Longmans Green.

16. Some genealogists say Guerin and Green were treated as interchangeable in the past; here they are seen as distinct.

17. Although illiterate, Pat Guerin, Head of Family, is the only bilingual person in the house. He is the only person returned on the 1901 Census as being a speaker of both Irish (Gaelic) and English. Presumably his knowledge of Irish dates from his childhood in the Killaloe area of East Clare when Irish was still the everyday language of the people.

18. Frost: “The History and Topography of the County of Clare, from the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the 18th. Century, with Map and Illustrations”, Chapter IV.

19. See “An Introduction to Probability Theory and its Applications” by William Feller Vol. 1. Chap. XII 3 (b) Survival of family names. John Wiley & Sons 1968.

20. Both this and the quotation which follows it are from “The Huguenot Settlements in Ireland” by Grace Lawless Lee (1936) pp 26 and 76 respectively.

21. Solomon de Guerin, married Anne ?, and was naturalised in England 1697 and will probated in Dublin 1709.
Charles Guerin, born Westminster 1698 and entered TCD June 1716.
Solomon Guerin appears to have had a brother Maynard Guerin.
(Since compiling this book I have received the following entry:
Prerogative will of Maynard Guerin of Parish of Westminster (St. Margaret’s) Co. Middlesex, dated 17th Jan. 1747, proved 3rd March 1748 – Wife, Elizabeth Guerin (?).
Sons – John & Maynard Guerin.
Daughters – Elizabeth Martha Guerin & Mary Guerin.
Brothers - Armitius Guerin( ? whose wife still ? ) and Capt. Peter Guerin (dead).
Witnesses: Richard Pierson, James Lewis Toren and John McDonald.)

22. She appears to have been a member of the Mitchelstown family.

23. Andre de Lord appears to have been the Grandson of Gaspar Guerin whose will was probated in Charleville in 1670.

24. Feminine form of Gaspard.

25. This man (his Christian name unknown) served under Lord Galway in King William’s Army from 1691 (or earlier) till 1699. His name disappears from the Pension List before 1717.

26. The Guerins of Limerick and Blackrock, Dublin. This family has always been members of The Church of Ireland and never Catholic. Mrs. Cane (?) writes me – that her father always told her that they were of Huguenot origin and that they had left France about the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685). They first went to Rye in England, then to the South of Ireland where its members became scattered. This is the only family of the name Guerin so far in that part of Ireland which appears to have retained its Protestant faith. Its other branches must have married into the people and become Catholic.

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