Kinsearching April 8, 2007




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     The work of twenty-five years in the field collecting material culminates in SLOINNTE GAEDHEAL IS GALL: IRISH NAMES AND SURNAMES by Rev. Patrick Woulfe. Originally published in 1923, the dictionary includes the compiler's explanatory and historical notes. Briefly in his introduction and in more depth in the narrative preceding the lists of names, Woulfe discusses such topics as the origin and classification of Irish given names and surnames, foreign names (Scandinavian and Anglo-Norman, for example), interchange and alternative forms of Irish names, female surnames, and anglicization (adaptation to English usage) of Irish names. An appendix explains the fixed system of early clan names.

     Two dictionaries make up the bulk of the volume. Each dictionary is divided into three categories: male Christian names, female Christian names, and surnames. Containing 3500 names, the English-Irish section gives the anglicized form of the name or surname and its Irish form and all variants. The localities in which the Irish forms are found are indicated for many of the names. The larger Irish-English segment, which covers more than 7,000 entries, provides the original form of the name, its meaning, and its English equivalent. Accompanying each surname entry is a short sketch of the family or families who bore the name, including all its variants. The information usually includes the former and/or present location of the name in Ireland.

     Because Woulfe communicated with native Irish speakers and studied the different forms of Gaelic, he incorporates Irish script along with English. While the Irish script is attractive and lends authenticity to the book, it makes it harder for casual users to look up information. However, genealogical libraries wishing to have a complete collection of publications about the subject will want to get a copy of SLOINNTE GAEDHEAL IS GALL: IRISH NAMES AND SURNAMES despite its drawbacks.

     The 696-page hardback has a preface, a 27-page introduction, an 8-page (double-column) bibliography, data on Irish letters and pronunciation, and an appendix. To the book's price of $50.00, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $4 for one book and $2.00 for each additional copy; for UPS, the cost is $6 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order #6510) may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

     If you would like to learn more about your German-speaking ancestors, you may want to participate in the Palatines to America 32nd annual national conference set for June 22-24, 2007, in Morgantown, WV. Among the topics to be presented by featured speakers are daily events in the lives of German ancestors, German settlements in West Virginia, German genealogical websites, marriage and courtship in Germany during the years 1500 - 1800, the craft of German paper cutting, German migration in Germany and America, genealogical records at the West Virginia Regional and Local History Collection, and German aspects and humor in the American Civil War.

     Costs vary according to which sessions you want to attend. For additional information about the programs and prices, write to Palatines to America, 611 East Weber Rd., Columbus, OH 43211-1097 or go to the website at

     Also scheduled for June 22-24, 2007, is the eighth national STIDHAM family reunion in Pigeon Forge, TN. Variant spellings of the surname include STIDAM, STIDDAM, STIDOM, STEDHAM, STEADHAM, and STEDDOM. The event is sponsored by the Timen Stiddem Society, named for one the first Swedish immigrants to America. Settling in 1654 in what is now Wilmington, DE, Timen Stiddem anglicized his name to Timothy Stidham. The registration fee, which covers costs for some meals and a bus tour of the Smoky Mountains, is $70.00 per person.

     Descendants who cannot attend the reunion may still wish to become members of the organization. The $20.00 annual dues include a subscription to the association's award-winning quarterly newsletter. Checks, payable to the Timen Stiddem Society, for reunion registration or dues may be sent to Leslie Shamus, 4905 Vireo Dr., Flowery Branch, GA 30542 (e-mail: For more information about the reunion or the society, go to the website at