Did you know that over 35 million Americans claim to have Irish heritage? That’s 7 times the population of Ireland [which is only 4.58 million.] Irish ancestry is the second most popular heritage to claim, second only to German. New York is particular boosts about a 13% Irish-American population.
If you know or think you have Irish ancestry, you may also have a very Irish-like last name in your family. The great thing is, tracing your family tree in Ireland can be made easier with the help of your last name. Some Irish surnames can be traced to distinct areas in Ireland, where descendants of those family names are still living today.
On my first trip to Ireland in November 2017, I set off with the knowledge that my mother’s side of the family immigrated to the United States from Ireland is the 1910’s. Going off of that knowledge and the fact that their last name of Hoban, I did a little research on my own. I found out that Hoban [originally O’Hogan] is based in the Mayo-Galway area. A look at this cool map pinpoints everyone currently living in Ireland with the last name of Hoban. Upon further research, I learned about some famous “Hogan’s” including: “Galloping Hogan”, hero of Sarsfield’s destruction of the Williamite siege train at Ballyneety (1691), and John Hogan (1800 – 1858), the Sculptor.
While traveling through Westport, I got the chance to pass by a local pub favorite, Hoban’s, which my mother requested I get a photo of for her. It was such an exciting feeling to see a piece of what potentially could be my family history, in person.
Interested in finding out where in Ireland your family is based? Use this link to type in your last name! Tell us in the comments what Town/County your Irish heritage stems from.
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