There is always confusion when it comes to the homeland of a name, so here are ten Irish surnames that are actually English.
Ireland and England are, of course, very close geographically. Hence, it is not surprising that, over the years, a lot of Irish names crossed over to England and vice versa.
That being said, it’s not always obvious which name has hailed from where and what the background of the name is.
Some are rather surprising, so we have decided to create a list of ten Irish surnames that are actually English.
Some of these surnames you have most definitely heard of once or twice in either country and perhaps never realised their origins before, so let’s take a look.
10. Barrett – a name with nuisance
This common Irish surname that actually hails from England means ‘troublemaker’.
It came from Middle English and was used to describe someone renowned for causing havoc. Watch out for the next Barrett you meet!
One of the most famous people with this surname is US judge Amy Coney Barrett.
9. Clark – a noble name
The name Clark has been around since the 12th-century, and it comes from the Latin words clericus, which meant a secretary (think clerk) or scholar, generally referring to religion.
This was a very prominent name in those days and still is in both Ireland and England. A common variation of the name is adding and ‘e’ to make Clarke or even using Clark as a given name. Think Clark Kent or Clark Gable.
8. Bennett – a medieval name
This English name is derived from the popular medieval name Benedict, which was generally used as a given name.
Over the years it has become a very popular last name in England and Ireland.
American singer Tony Bennett is one of the most famous people with this surname.
7. Moore – think Wuthering Heights
We are all familiar with Heathcliff and the ‘moors’, which describes wide-open land or bog. That’s exactly where this name comes from because it was used to describe someone who lived in those areas.
American actress Demi Moore is one of the most famous people with this surname.
6. Ford – a name from the land
Next on our list of Irish surnames that are actually English is Ford. Similar to Moore, Ford was a surname initially used to describe someone who lives near a pass or a crossing.
This is quite a common way for surnames to originate. That, or equally as often, a surname could derive from a person’s occupation – for example, Taylor.
We think that back in the old days it was probably quite hard to lie about where you lived.
Actor Harrison Ford is one of the most famous people with this surname.
5. Hayes – a name with a lot of history
Dating back to the 1100s, this age-old name was initially spelt Heise and still has many variations today such as Hughes or Hays.
Actress Helen Hayes is one of the most famous people with this name.
4. Cooke – an occupational surname
Just like the surnames Smith or Taylor, this surname has occupational origins.
Similar to the way names described where someone lived, names such as Cooke described what a person’s job was.
English actress Olivia Cooke is one of the most well-known people with this surname.
3. Brown – an ancient name with many variations
Having been first recorded as a surname in England in the 7th-century, this name continued to expand and has many variations such as Brun, Browne, and Braun.
As you can imagine, this name initially described a person who had brown hair, a brown complexion, or even brown clothing.
American musician James Brown is one of the most famous people with this surname.
2. Smith – a name that’s made its way around the world
Smith is a very common surname in Ireland; however, it hails from England.
It refers to someone’s occupation as with some other names, but this specifies someone’s job relating specifically to metalwork.
It could also refer to a person who is a master of the blade and can teach others. Either way, this is a super popular name in England, Ireland, and the rest of the world.
American actor Will Smith is one of the most famous people with this name.
1. Jones – keeping up with the Jones’
Number one on our list of Irish surnames that are actually English is Jones. This is an ancient English name that originates from the first name John and relates to religious times.
When Christianity became popular in England, so too did the name Jones and of course, it made its way to Ireland, making it one of our most popular surnames.
Actress January Jones is one of the most famous people with this surname.
To this day, we use almost all of these names, but as we can imagine, not all the historical meanings still relate to the people that have them.
Names are very interesting to research and can tell you a lot about your family history, but names have also been changed over the years due to emigration, so there is still so much we can learn about them.
At least now we have set the record straight on a few Irish names are actually English.