The Spelling of Townland Names and Surnames in the Databases

Townland and Parish Names

The spelling of official [modern-day] townland names in the databases on this website follow the spellings used in the 1901 Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns of Ireland and the spellings on the Ordnance Survey maps.

In most of the databases the townland name entered in the Townland column will be the official [modern-day] spelling e.g. Altaghoney and Gorteade. However, particularly in the earlier databases you will find this kind of entry - Altaghoney [Altohoney] and Gorteade [Bollymonny]. In both instances the actual spelling of the townland name is different from the modern-day spelling so I have included the former in brackets beside the latter. As you can see in the Altaghoney example the actual spelling is simply a variant spelling. However, in the Gorteade example the name of the townland is completely different. Usually this only occurs in seventeenth-century databases. Clearly, some of my interpretations of these earlier spellings could be wrong. To a large extent I have relied on the suggested modern-day names, written in pencil, on the transcripts of sources such as the Hearth Money Rolls. However, some of these are wrong. I have also used Munn's book on place-names throughout the county, originally published in 1925, plus two more recent books published as part of the The Northern Ireland Place-Name Project undertaken by the Department of Celtic Studies, Q.U.B. - Gregory Toner's book on the Moyola Valley [1996] and Patrick McKay & Kay Muhr's book on Lough Neagh Places [2007]. More recently, I have had access to a database of unofficial place-names prepared by Terry Aiken and this has proved extremely useful in identifying townland names in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century sources.

Earlier sources also spell the names of parishes differently e.g. the parish of Killelagh in South Derry can appear as Killylough. Since there is less chance of making a mistake over these earlier spellings of parishes, I have [with one exception] simply used the most common modern-day spelling of parishes in the databases. The exception is the database of the 1796 Flaxgrowers' List. Here I have included [in brackets] the exact spelling of each parish used in the original document.

Surnames

Again with surnames, creating the databases was not always easy. Not surprisingly, the spelling of surnames in the original sources varied a great deal both within and between documents over the centuries. The names in these documents were entered by various officials and there is some evidence to suggest that this led to a regional spelling of surnames, particularly in the earlier sources. Certainly, the spelling of surnames had become more standardised by the time of the Griffith's Printed Valuation of c.1860. Remember too, that the originals of the seventeenth-century Hearth Money Rolls and the eighteenth-century Religious Returns were destroyed in the 1922 Four Courts fire. The only sources we now have are transcripts of those originals and many of these are typed, suggesting that they are probably a transcript of a transcript. Let's not forget that the databases are further transcripts! In transcription it is relatively easy to mistake an "e" for an "a" or an "r" for an "n" and so on.

The key problem in creating a database of names from original sources is to produce a database which is relatively easy to search and sort whilst, at the same time, remains true to the spelling of the names in the primary source. This is particularly the case with seventeenth and eighteenth-century sources.

Surnames in seventeenth-century sources were written down by officials who, if they were not familiar with the spelling of a surname, spelt it phonetically in a way that made sense to them.  For example, McGoldrick can be spelt as Megolrake, McCandless as Micandlass, Ewing as Youing, Brewster as Broster and so on.  However, the greatest problem with names in early sources is the fact that the spellings of some surnames in these documents are completely different from their modern equivalents e.g. in earlier documents Alexander often appears as McCalsenor or McElsinor.

When entering surnames into the county databases I have used two columns or fields in each database. One column contains the spelling of each surname as it appears in the original document. A second column contains standardised spellings of surnames which should make it easier to find names in the database and keep variant spellings of individual surnames together in a sort. Standardised spellings are not intended to replace the spellings that appear in the original documents and you can, of course, ignore the standardised spellings altogether and simply search the column that contains the actual spellings in the original source.

A selection of the standardised spellings used in the database can be seen in the table below. In drawing up this table I was guided by the following observations that I had made as result of working with surnames in various types of sources for the county over a period of some 200 years.

         Regardless of the period, there are certain surnames such as Brown [Browne], Carr [Kerr], Dixon [Dickson], Gray [Grey], Maguire [McGuire], McGee [Magee], McGill [Magill] and Miller [Millar] that are spelt one way or the other. Nevertheless officials, for whatever reason, managed to misspell these names from time to time. Some of the misspellings e.g of Brown [Broon and Brune] suggest that phonetic spelling of names was quite common in earlier times. Clearly, a standardised name would overcome the problem of missing one of these names in a database. Deciding on a standardised spelling here is simply a matter of choosing one spelling or the other. Note that the one that I have chosen does not imply any priority of one spelling over the other. Nor, if one of these names apply to you, can you assume that your name was always spelt in the past the way that you spell it today.

         Others surnames such as Cunningham, Hassan and  Stewart, for example, have more than one variant spelling in the sources that simply reflect the way officials spelt the name across the county at different times in the past. I have included examples of most of these variant spellings in the table below.

         There are some surnames where their spelling in early documents bears no relation to their spelling in later documents. These include surnames such as Alexander [McCalsenor, McElsinor, etc. in earlier documents], Ballentine [Bannatyne, etc.], Bradley [Brillaghan, Brallahan, O'Brillaghan, O'Brullaghan, etc.], Cummings [Kimin, Kimming, etc.], McAfee [McDuffee, etc.], Pollock [Poake, Polke, etc.] and Trainor [McCreanor, McCraner, etc.]. I have used the later spelling as the standardised spelling to group together spellings of those surnames are very different from their modern equivalents.

         Irish names, particularly those beginning with O or O and a space, can create problems in databases. Furthermore, in some periods officials included the O and at other times they dropped it. At first I thought about dropping the prefix O' in the standardised spelling of most Irish names and did so on my CD Researching Derry and Londonderry Ancestors. However, I decided to retain the O' prefix in the databases on this website. But, I should warn you that when looking for O'Kane, for example, you should consider also looking at Kane in nineteenth-century databases. If you are searching any of the Excel databases you should use a "contains" search where you type in Kane. This will "bring out" all of the Kanes, O'Kanes, McKanes, etc. My impression is that many people who are listed as Kanes in the 1831 and c.1860 databases may have been O'Kanes. In fact some may have been McKanes. Note that in the case of O'Mullan which tends to appear more so in the earlier databases and less frequently in the later databases, I have used the standardised name Mullan to include O'Mullan and its variant spellings. McMullans, McMullens, etc. and McMillens have been standardised as McMullan.

         The other prefix which can cause chaos in a database is Mac or Mc. In most cases I have retained this prefix in surnames. Within the sources the Mc can appear as M', Mc, Mac, etc. I have always used Mc in the "standardised spellings" with no space between the Mc and the rest of the name. Note that some internet databases do put a space after the Mc. Quite often if I look for my own name under McAfee I get a nil result because the name is entered either as Mc Afee or M'Afee. I have dropped the Mc in a few cases and these can be seen in the table. They include Adams, Arthur, Clements, Conville, Conway, Cooke, Dougall, Knight, Michael, Nicholl, Reynolds and Taggart.

         The following surnames Irwin/Irvine, McCaughey/McGaughey, McGeogh/McGeough and Louden/London have been standardised using the first name in the aforementioned list. I have done this because it is very difficult, particularly in the 1831 Census Returns where names are hand written, to distinguish between vowels in the handwriting. In other words some Irvines could be Irwins and vice-versa.

         The following standardised surnames require individual explanations and are footnoted in the table below. These surnames are Canning, Connor, Crossan, Crothers, Donagh, Ferry, Fullen, Greeves, Hara, Kenny, Kerrigan, McIntyre, McGuigan, McNally, Sherrard and Steenson.

Standardised spelling used to group these surname spellings listed in the original documents
Adams Adams, Adam, McAdam, McAdams.
Aiken Aiken, Aikin, Eakin.
Alexander Alexander, Elshender, M'Calouner, McCalsenor, McElsinor.
Archibald Archbold, Arsbald, Arsbell.
Arthur Arthur, Arthurs, McArthur, McCarthur, Macarthur.
Ballentine Ballentine, Bannatyne, Banintine, Boneton.
Beare Beare, Beer, Beers. See also Baird [Beard].
Boyle Boyle, O'Boyle, Boal, Bole.
Bradley Bradley, Bradly, Broadley, Brodly, Brallahan, O'Brillaghan, O'Brullaghan, etc.
Brien O'Brien, O'Brine, O'Bryan, Bryan, Bryans.
Brittain Brittain, Brittan, Brattin, Bratton.
Canning [1] Canning, Cannon, Kenning, McCannon, McCannen, McCanon.
Carlin Carlin, Carland, Kerlin, Kirland, Kirlin, etc.
Carr Carr, Kerr.
Carroll Carroll, McCarroll.
Clarke Clarke, Clark, Clerk.
Clements Clements, Clement, Clemence, McClements, McClammon, McClamin, McClimmonds, McLamon.
Cochrane Cochrane, Cochran, Cocherane, Cogheran, Cougheran, Coghran, Coughran.
Connell Connell, Connel, McConnell, O'Connell.
Connor [2] Connor, Conner, O'Connor, McKnogher, McNogher, Nogher, Nougher, Monocher.
Conville Conville, Conwell, McConville, McConwell.
Conway Conway, Convey, McConvey, McConaway, McConamy, McConomy.
Cooke Cooke, Cook, McCooke, McCook.
Corrigan Corrigan, Carrigan.
Crilly Crilly, Crilley, Crolly, Crolley, Crawley, Crowley.
Crossan [3] Crossan, Crossen, McCrossan, Crosbie, Crosby.
Crothers [4] Crothers, Carruthers, Currithers, Cruthers.
Cullen Cullen, Cullon, Cullion.
Cummings Cummings, Cummins, Kimin, McKimin, McKimming.
Cunningham Cunningham, Cuningham, Coningham, Conyngham.
Davidson Davidson, Davison.
Dermott Dermott, Dermot, Diarmid, Deyermott, McDermott, McDiarmid.
Devine Devine, Devin, Devan, Divan, Divin, etc.
Dixon Dixon, Dickson.
Doherty Doherty, Dougherty, O'Doherty, O'Dougherty, etc.
Donagh [5] Donagh, Donnough, McDonagh, McDonough, Donohoe, Donahue, Donaghy, Donoghy, Donoughy, Donochy, etc.
Donnell Donnell, Donnal, Donald, McDonnell, etc. McDonald, Donaldson, O'Donnell, etc.
Doogan Doogan, Dougan, Dugan, Duggan.
Dougall Dougall, Dugall, McDougall, McDugal.
Dunlop Dunlop, Dunlap, Delap.
Ferry [6] Ferry, Fairy, Feery, Feighrey, Ferris.
Forgrave Forgrave, Fairgrave, Fairgrieve.
Fullen [7] Fullen, Fullan, Fullon, Fullam, Foolan, McFalone, McLoone, McFelin, McFalin, McFelon, McFallin, McFullin.
Galloway Galloway, Galway.
Given Given, Giveen, Givin, Giffin.
Gray Gray, Grey.
Greeves [8] Greeves, Greaves, Greeve, Guive, Graves, Groves.
Guiler Guiler, Guiller, Gealor, Guyler.
Hagan Hagan, Hogan, O'Hagan.
Hara [9] Hara, Harra, Harrow, O'Hara, O'Harrow.
Harron Harron, Haron, Harren, Haren, O'Harran, O'Haran.
Haslett Haslett, Haslet, Heslett, Heaslitt, Hazlett, etc.
Hassan Hassan, Hassin, Hasson, Hesson, Hession.
Henry Henry, Hendry, Henery, McHenry, O'Henery.
Huey Huey, Hughey, Hoey, Hooey.
Irwin Irwin, Erwin, Irvine, Irvin, Ervine, Ervin.
Jameson Jameson, Jamison, Jamieson, Jamyson, Jemison.
Johnston Johnston, Johnstone, Johnson, Johnsone, Jonson.
Kane Kane, O'Kane, O'Cahan, Cain, O'Cain, McCain, McKane, Kean, Keane, McKeane, O'Keane.
Kenny [10] Kenny, McKenny, Kinney, McKinney.
Kernaghan Kernaghan, Kernahan, Cernaghan, Cernoghan.
Kerrigan [11] Kerrigan, Kirgan, Cargan, Cargin, Cargon, McKerrigan, McKirgan.
Kilpatrick Kilpatrick, Kirkpatrick.
Knight Knight, McKnight, McNaight, McNaught.
Laverty Laverty, Laferty, Lafertie, Lafferty, McLaverty, O'Laverty.
Little Little, Lytle, Lyttle.
Louden Louden, Lowden, London.
Loughrey Loughrey, Loughran.
Macken Macken, Macklin
Maguire Maguire, McGuire
Mains Mains, Maines, Means, Meanes.
McAfee McAfee, McAffee, McAffey, McFee, Fee, McPhee, McDuffee, McDuffy, etc.
McAleese McAleese, McAleece, McLeese, McLees, McClise, McAlus, Muckalee.
McAllister McAllister, McAlister, McAlester, McCallister.
McAuley McAuley, McAlla, McCala, McCalla, McCally, McCalley, McCawley, Macauley.
McCallion McCallion, McCallin, McCallan, McAllen, McAllin, McCullen, McCullion.
McCarron McCarron, Carron, O'Carron.
McCaughan McCaughan, McCahan, McGahan.
McCaughey McCaughey, McCahey, McGaughey, McGahey.
McConaghy McConaghy, McConaghty, McConaty, McConochy.
McCullough McCullough, McCullagh, McCullach, McCulla.
McDaid McDaid, McDevitt.
McEldowney McEldowney, McIldowney.
McElroy McElroy, McIlroy.
McElwaine McElwaine, McElwain, McIlwaine, McIlwain.
McErlain McErlain, McErlean, McErlane.
McFarland McFarland, McFarlane.
McFetridge McFetridge, McFetrish, McFeeters, McFeters.
McGeagh McGeagh, McGeogh,  McGeough, McGough.
McGee McGee, Magee.
McGill McGill, Magill.
McGlinchey McGlinchey, McGlinchy, McClinchey, McClinchey.
McGinty McGinty, McGenaghty, McGenerty, McGinerty.
McGowan McGowan, McGowen, Magowan, McCowan, McCowen.
McGrath McGrath, McGraw, McGra, etc.
McGuigan [12] McGuigan, McGuiggan, McQuigan. [Goodwin in 1831 Census]
McGuinness McGuinness, McGennis, McGinnis, etc.
McIntyre [13] McIntyre, McIntire, McEntire, McAteer, McTeer, McTier.
McKay McKay, McKey, McCay. [McCoy is listed separately, but when looking for one, check the other.]
McLaughlin McLaughlin, McLoughlin, MacLoglin, M'Laghlin, McGlaughlin, McGloughin, etc.
McLean McLean, McClean, McClain, McClane, McLane, etc.
McLernon McLernon, McLarnon, McLarnan, McClarnon, McClernon, etc.
McNally [14] McNally, McAnally, McAnnulla, McNulty, McAnulty.
McPherson McPherson, McApherson, McFerson, McAferson, Ferson, Farson, Pherson.
McReady McReady, McCready. The spelling McCready only appears in later documents.
McRory McRory, McCrory. The spelling McCrory only appears in later documents.
McTeague McTeague, McTaig.
McVeigh McVeigh, McVeagh, McVey, McVay, etc.
Michael Michael, Michaels, Mihil, McMichael, McMichell, McMihil, etc.
Miller Miller, Millar.
Milligan Milligan, Milliken, Millican, Mulligan.
Morris Morris, McMorris.
Morrow Morrow, Morrough, McMorrough,
Mullan Mullan, Mullen, Mullin, Mullon, Mullins, O'Mullan, McMullan, McMillan, Millen.
Nicholl Nicholl, Nichol, Knickle, Nicoll, Nikell, etc. and the same spellings with McNicholl.
Neill Neill, Neil, Neal, Neile, Nail and the same spellings with McNeill and O'Neill.
Norris Norris, Norice, Norry.
Nutt Nutt, Nitt, McNutt.
Park Park, Parke, Parks, Parkes.
Patterson Patterson, Pattison, Peterson, Pederson.
Pigott Pigott, Pigot, Pickett, Pickette.
Pollock Pollock, Pollack, Poake, Poke, Polke, Pogue.
Quigg Quigg, Quig, McQuig, McQuigg.
Rath Rath, Reath.
Rea Rea, Reagh, Ray, Wrea, Wray.
Reid Reid, Read, Reed, Reede, Ride, Ryde.
Reynolds Reynolds, McReynolds, McRannell, McGrannell, etc.
Ritchie Ritchie, Richey, Richie.
Rodgers Rodgers, Rogers.
Roulston Roulston, Roulstone, Rolleston, etc.
Shanog Shanog, McShanog, McShannig.
Sherrard [15] Sherrard, Sherra, Shearer, Sheerin, Sherrin - see below.
Shiels Shiels, Shields, Sheil, O'Sheile, etc.
Shirley Shirley, Shirlow.
Sinclair Sinclair, Sinkler.
Speers Speers, Speer, Spear, Speare, Spears, Spiers, Spire, etc.
Smith Smith, Smyth.
Smylie Smylie, Smiley, Smyly, Smylea.
Smyrl Smyrl, Smirl, Smirell, Simeral, etc.
Steenson [16] Steenson, Stenson, Stinson - but not Stinton. Also, check  Stevenson in earlier databases.
Stevens Stevens, Steven, Stephens, Stephen.
Stevenson Stevenson, Steevenson, Stephenson. Also, check Steenson in earlier databases.
Stewart Stewart, Steward, Stuart.
Stirling Stirling, Sterling.
Strahan Strahan, Strachen, Straghan, Strehorn Strawhorn.
Taggart Taggart, Tagart, Teggart, McTaggart, McEntaggart, etc.
Thompson Thompson, Thomson, Tomson.
Tohill Tohill, Toghill, Tuoghill, Twohill, Toaghill, Toal, Tole.
Tomlinson Tomlinson, Tumlison, Tumbleson, Tumbeston.
Torrens Torrens, Torrence, Torrance, Dorrance.
Trainor Trainor, Treanor, McCreanor, McCraner.
Trolan Trolan, Trolin, Trollan, Frowling.
Walsh Walsh, Walch, Welch, Welsh.
Ward Ward, McWard, McAward,
Williams Williams, William, McWilliam, McWilliams, McQuilliam, McGuilliam, McGullian, etc.
Wylie Wylie, Wiley, Wyley.
 
1   I have used the name Canning to include Cannon and McCannon. Although the names Canning and Cannon are of quite distinct origins [see Bell Ulster Surnames], they can often be confused. Having the names together in a search may help in identifying particular names.
 
2   The surname Connor can sometimes appear as McKnogher or McNogher or indeed as Knogher or Nogher. Many of the Connors in the county are descended from the O'Connors of the barony of Keenaght, a very old tribal group predating the O'Cahans of the Cenel Eoghain who overthrew the sept in the twelfth century. According to Bell the name was also made McConnor [Mac Conchobhair in Gaelic] which became anglicised as McKnogher, Nogher, etc.
 
3   If you look at the 1831 and 1858/59 databases in the townland of Carnanbane in the parish of Cumber you will find the name Crosbie in 1831 and the name McCrossan in 1858/59. This is because the officials were using the anglicised version of the surname in the earlier document. Therefore, I have used the standardised surname of Crossan to cover that name plus McCrossan and Crosbie/Crosby. Note that some Crosbys are not McCrossans but I will leave it to you to work out those that are not.  Incidentally, something similar took place in the parish of Ballynascreen where officials used the anglicised surname Goodwin for some McGuigans in 1831 but not in 1858/59. See below, footnote 12.
 
4   The surnames Crothers and Carruthers were used interchangeably at different periods. For example, in the 1831 database various spellings of the name Carruthers can be found along with a few Crothers. However in the later 1858/59 database only one Corethers is listed, the rest are all Crothers. I have simply used Crothers as the standardised surname. I suspect that some present-day Carruthers searching in 1831 and 1858/59 may find that their name could have been spelt either way depending on the whim of an official.
 
5   The standardised surname Donagh has been used to group together the surnames Donagh, McDonagh, Donaghy and Donaghue/Donahue. Normally I would have excluded Donaghy and Donahue from this list. However, if you look at the parish of Cumber Upper in the 1831 database you will find 28 Donaghys of various spellings and 1 McDonagh. In 1858/59 in the same parish there are 8 Donaghys and 18 McDonaghs. Clearly some of the 1831 Donaghys are now being listed as McDonaghs in 1858/59 [see Bell Ulster Surnames]. I therefore decided to use the standardised surname Donagh to bring together all of the names mentioned above, leaving you to sort out those that you want from a search.
 
6   Ferry is used to group together a collection of names that I found difficult to disentangle between 1831 and 1859. The names include Ferry, Fairy, Feery, Feighrey and Ferris. For example, if you look at the parish of Balteagh in the barony of Keenaght you will find the name Fairy listed in 1831. Yet when you look at the 1859 listings the name is now Ferris.
 
7   Fullen, like Ferry, is used to group together the names Fullen, Fullan, Fullon, Fullam, Foolan, McFalone, McLoone, McFelin, McFalin, McFelon, McFallin, McFullin. Initially I found it difficult to disentangle them but having them all together in a search they make more sense to me now.
 
8   The standardised surname Greeves contains the names Greeves/Greaves, Graves and Groves which are different names. I have grouped them together because in the 1831 Census Returns it is not always clear which one is which - the vowels are often difficult to identify. Also there is the surname Guive which appears to be an Irish name and in some places get mixed up with the other names. Having all of the names together in one search allowed me to identify patterns in the variant spellings.
 
9   The surname Hara includes not only the common name of O'Hara but also a number of other names such as Harra and Harrow. I also think there are times when officials use the spelling Hara when it should be O'Hara. Having these names all together in one search will allow you to make decisions.
 
10   Kenny has been used to cover not only the name Kenny, which is not very numerous, but more importantly the names McKenny and McKinney. Because of the vowels i and e it often difficult to know between 1831 and 1859 which is which.
 
11   The standardised surname Kerrigan has been used to group together a collection of names which appear to be used interchangeably between 1831 and 1859. These names are Kerrigan, Kirgan, Cargan, Cargin, Cargon, McKerrigan, McKirgan. See, in particular, the parishes of Ballyaghran and Lissan.
 
12   Most of the time the surname McGuigan, apart from the usual variant spellings, is not a problem. However, in the 1831 Census Returns an anglicised version of the name, Goodwin, is used for some of the McGuigan families in the parish of Ballynascreen. By the time of Griffith's in 1859 only the surname McGuigan was listed in Ballynascreen and there are only three Goodwins listed in the entire county.
 
13   The surname McIntyre is spelt in many different ways throughout the documents - McIntire, McEntire, etc. Sometimes it is also spelt as McAteer or McAtier.In fact as Bell in Ulster Surnames points out the original Scottish and Irish surnames have become confused and McAteer, in particular, has become lost in McIntyre. For this reason I have included both names and their variants under the standardised surname of McIntyre. Local and family knowledge would be required to disentangle some of these names.
 
14   I have used the standardised surname McNally to cover both McNally and McNulty which are two different surnames. A search of any of the 1831 and 1858/59 databases will show a much greater concentration of McNulty in the west of the county reflecting its Donegal origin. Spellings such as McNulty, McNully, McAnnulla and McAnally makes it difficult, at times, to disentangle these various names. I found it easier to group them under the one standardised name of McNally to ensure that I got a complete listing of all the variant spellings from a search. Then I was able to sort out the variant spellings resulting from the search. Incidentally Bell in Ulster Surnames points to the fact that the name McAnally or McNally was often spelt McAnulla around Maghera in earlier times. If you look at the 1831 database you will find about 25 McAnullas in the Maghera area whereas in the later 1858/59 database there is only one McAnulla listed in the entire county in the townland of Drumoolish in the parish of Tamlaght O'Crilly. The McAnullas have not all disappeared either they, or more likely the officials, are spelling their surname differently.
 
15   The standardised name Sherrard has been used to group together the names Sherrard , Shearer and Sherrin. I get the impression that in earlier times Shearer was often the preferred spelling used by officials.  However, it is clear that later on the spelling Sherrard appears to be more common. Again, family and local knowledge would be required if you are looking for a particular name.
 
16   The surname Steenson has been used as a standardised surname for Steenson and Stinson. Often it is difficult to be sure which name is which in some of the documents. Also I think there are times when officials are using Steenson for Stevenson. This would seem to be the case in the 1740 Protestant Householders' Returns when the name Stevenson is not listed at all - only Steenson and Stinson are recorded. Again  the recording of the name Stinson does not appear to be consistent across the documents. However, there is one name, Stinton which is found almost exclusively in South Derry, where a clear distinction seems to have been made in the spelling of that name. A read at what Bell has to say about these names would be helpful.

Finally, I should point out that I have been working with these surnames since, at least, 2000 and I have made changes to the way that I dealt with variant spellings in the individual databases. This can lead to a name being treated differently in some of the earlier and later databases. Apologies for that. If you come across such an instance, the best way to handle that is to revert back to the way a name has been spelt in column C "Surname as spelt in document" of the databases.

Further reading

Edward MacLysaght, The Surnames of Ireland (Dublin, 1973).

George F. Black, Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning and History (Edinburgh, 1999, first published in 1946).

Robert Bell, The Book of Ulster Surnames (Belfast, 1989).

Brian Mitchell, Surnames of Derry (Derry, 1992).

 Copyright 2018 W. Macafee.