The book of Ulster Surnames has over 500 entries of the most common family names of the nine-county province of Ulster, with reference to thousands more. It gives the meaning and history of each name, its original form, where it came from – Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales or France – and why it changed to what it is today.
The index is an essential asset to the publication – providing nearly 3,000 surnames and variant spellings, cross-referenced to the main listing. The book includes notes on some famous bearers of the name and where in Ulster the name is now most common. This new edition by the Foundation also includes an article by the author on the Riding Clans of the Scottish Borders, many members of which came to Ulster during the Plantation. The result is a reference book which details much about the history of the Ulster Irish as well as the Scottish and English who arrived from the seventeenth century onwards, and is packed with surprising insights into the origins of a complex, turbulent people.
‘A magnificent yet inexpensive tool for use by family historians seeking origins in Ulster … Immensely readable and comprehensive to the casual user.Bell has, in effect, popularised the etymology of surnames of Ulster … Highly recommended.’ National Genealogical Society Quarterly
Robert Bell was born in Belfast in 1953. He left school at 16 and worked in a variety of jobs in Belfast and Oldham, Lancashire, before returning in 1979 to read Modern History at Queen’s University Belfast. From 1984 to 1994 he worked in the Linen Hall Library, Belfast, as Supervisor of the Northern Ireland Political Collection. He has had short stories, travel pieces and historical articles published in Ireland, England, Thailand and Bosnia. From 1994 to his retirement in 2015, he worked as a writer and editor for various development organizations in Bangkok, Sarajevo and Copenhagen, including the International Organization for Migration and UNICEF. He lives in Denmark.