By Irish Family History Centre Expert
When doing Irish genealogy, and especially when dealing with families in rural communities, one can encounter a bride and groom marrying, each of whom have exactly the same surname. There can be all kinds of reasons for this, of course, and it does not necessarily mean that close family members are marrying one another, especially if the name in question is a common one. But I personally had never come across a triple case of this phenomenon in the one family. Until April 1st 2017 – but it was no joke!
On that day, a lovely American lady by the name of Tara Smith* arrived in to the Irish Family History Centre looking for Irish Smiths in her family. She herself had been born a Smith and had, in the US, married and divorced another (completely unrelated) Smith. Tara still found it amusing that there was absolutely no difference between her maiden name, married name and divorced name. But the Smiths she was after were in Cavan. The hunt was on.
I found, based on a census record, that in her family was a Patrick Smith who had married a Bridget in about 1886. Tracking this further revealed that Bridget’s maiden name was itself Smith. We looked at each other and chuckled. Patrick’s marriage record had revealed that his father’s name was another Patrick Smith. Patrick Smith Jr (we’ll call him) was born just before Irish civil registration had started (in 1864), so the hunt turned to online parish registers. In these, we looked up the baptism (in the appropriate district) of a Patrick Smith with a Patrick Smith as a father, and revealed the name of Patrick Jr’s mother. This time our jaws dropped, and there were several expressions of amazement. Patrick Smith Sr had married an Elizabeth Smith: ‘Smith’ was definitely her maiden, not her married, name.
Thus, Patrick Smith Sr had married a Smith; his son, Patrick Smith Jr had married another Smith, and their great-granddaughter, Tara Smith, had married yet another Smith. Tara left giddy with the revelations.
* All names used with permission of Tara Smith.