Joe, you can (and I would if I were you) use Dennis MacGoff because people won’t be able to read or understand after reading Donnchadh mag Eochadha; in fact many here don’t use it either as it is easier to use Dennis or Denny (which I still sign my artwork with as that’s what I’ve always done) and most of my freinds still call me Denny despite the change anyway (even the US Mail and my own bank have problems still! Urgh!!) Oh well, Clarissa and one of my professors told me I should consider changing my name ‘back’ to this (away from the Irish I changed it to) so people can read my name easier and not be ‘turned off’ because they can’t read it and go on to the next business/artist… there may be something to that… I’m still deciding. And thanks for the acknowledgement… I didn’t really expect one as my contribution is rather small. But, that’s very nice and thank you.
As for the Laois (MacLysaght still wrote the English spelling of the county: Leix)/Meath connection, MacLysaght makes this connection despite the geographic disconnect of the two places. In his preface (might have been the first section of the book… I’d have to check) he mentions that the bulk of his material sources/resource are Ulster’s records which have volumes upon volumes of “family” material from various families as well as originals from O’Donovan, Keating, O’Hart, The Three Masters, etc.
So MacLysaght says that it was like many of the great Irish (native) clans in that they were moved out of their original homeland by the invasion of the Normans. Now MacLysaght does not say how they got there only that the Dublin/Meath O’Re(a)gans migrated to Laois and then again a few more to Limerick. I personally believe that Laois was very attractive because it was relatively left alone by the Normans and again by the Plantations under the Crown. In fact it wasn’t until the Cromwellian confiscations that the clans of Laois were forced out as the others around them had been and then they were sent to “Hell or Connacht”. Now of course these were the leading families (the ones most capable of making trouble for the “Adventurers” - that’s what Cromwellian planters are called just in case you didn’t know), for the regular folk were left alone in their places for the most part because the land still needed tending for the new landlords, which is why MacLysaght states that those of the name in the original (Dublin/Meath) and subsequent area (Laois) are eligible to use the arms in a proprietary way and that a ‘few’ of the families of Limerick were as well. And again he bases his argument on the fact that for several hundred years before him Ulster had been granting arms of one clan from one area to another family of the name who had been moved out by political/religious pressure as well as to leading families of the original area who bore the name.
Many of those families forced out under Cromwell found their way into Limerick instead of Connacht and MacLysaght mentions several of them, but not the O’Re(a)gans specifically; of course at that time Limerick (city and county) became a hotbed for nationalism and more opportunities for commerce and Catholics still held some sway there so it is understandable why they moved there instead of staying in Connacht where it is more barren and boggy. And again these would’ve been the leading families and that is why IMO and I can’t say for sure, as MacLysaght never disclosed this for certain, that the ‘few’ families of south Connacht and west Munster were able to petition Ulster for grants based off of the original arms, as they would be the sons of the ‘leading’ families of the name.
But, I can’t say specifically how they got to Laois from Dublin/Meath exactly because neither MacLysaght, nor any of the other writers on the subject I have mention how. Most of them basically repeat what MacLysaght wrote again because MacLysaght had great access to these records in the depository of the National Library System, which the Genealogical Office and therefore the CHoI was a part of.
So long story short (I know too late) those arms are attributed by MacLysaght to the Dublin/Meath Clan which migrated to Laois after the Normans and then to a few families in the southwest who are members of the Dublin/Meath family, but not most of them down in the southwest as most of them are of a different tribal grouping all together (Dalcassian mostly and Eoghanacht [MacCarthy] as well). I suspect that many of the French, Austrian, Spanish and Portuguese members of this family would be eligible for them as well as they tended to be of the leading families as well, but that is only my conjecture and not worth more than that I’m afraid.
Wish I could’ve been of more help on how they got there with specific things to site, but MacLysaght never disclosed that part specifically… only that they were in Laois after the Norman invasion. And normally I would agree with you on the Tipperary families as they lie between Laois and Limerick. But, MacLysaght says differently and I basically go with what he says, as he had access to records I could only dream of having access to. Plus I think the reason being a combination of the fact that native Dalcassian and Eoghanacht O’Regans were already in the southwest and that it was mostly the leading families of the Meath clan that were transplanted to the west under Cromwell and they were the ones who were quick to petition Ulster for grants after things let up a bit or after conforming to Protestantism or as many Wild Geese also did which was petitioning for certificates verifying their lineage and arms while they were serving in France, Spain, Austria etc. (which I always found odd… why would an agent of the Crown [Ulster] grant such certificates verifying nobility/etc to men who were serving foreign nations who were often at war with the very crown they were agents of so they could transport their armorial/noble status to their new countries?... very strange…)
Denny (which I can spell & pronounce!)—for business purposes, if your "legal" name is the Gaelic mouthfull, why not register "Dennis McGoff" as a DBA (doing business as…) rather like Fred Schlobotickoff the plumber registering DBA "Fearless Fred the Plumber" or whatever
Mike, the DBA idea is a great idea. I’ll have to look into it. Thanks.
Tired of waiting to hear from the OCHI about the rationale for putting the O Regan "sept arms" on Ronald Reagan’s pedigree, I’ve gone ahead and put the material on Reagan’s lack of Irish arms into the article about him in the Presidential arms series. (I had previously withheld this section to give the OCHI a chance to comment.)
The full article is now available at http://americanheraldry.org/pages/index.php?n=President.Reagan
(Anyone who doesn’t understand the cryptic discussion above, read the article and you’ll find it less mysterious.)
Wow, very interesting article!
good on you joe. i think it should be there. sad that the choi’s office did not think it worthy to respond, but…it is a govt office so what can u do?
i think this is important to include joe and i’m happy to see you doing it. again it is a great article.
Very well written Joe!
I found the concept of Sept arms very interesting. Reminded me a bit of the Poles and how each member of the tribe used the same arms but if I read it correctly this isn’t a an agreed upon theory.
It’s called the MacLysaght Principal. I personally subscribe to it.
The good doc said that he based his opinions off of the hundreds of years of Ulster’s works that he had access to and because of the peculiar situation of the Irish. I mean…if Ulster did it…how can others who do not know of it say it is in error? Oh well…
It is true there are others who do not. Mostly because morons use the name of someone close to them and say it is their "Sept" arms. Thhis, however, is not what Dr. MacLysaght said was defined as "Sept" arms. So be it.
I encourage everyone to actually go out and read the good doctor’s works and see what he wrote and how narrowly defined "Sept" arms really are. Maybe then people will start to realize that the loonys out there who use them just cuz the name is the same are what they are…eityher ignorant of the concept, or lazy, or, worse still, don’t care and are out for theft of arms just cuz their name is the same.
OK…off my soap box…
MacL (at least the edition I read & xeroxed—don’t know if the text varied in editions before or since) made a distinction between displaying the sept arms and taking a "proprietaty" interest in them—a choice of terms that was discussed on rec.heraldry years back—vs. more personal use such as a seal, etc., in which case he said one shold apply to the CHOI for a differenced version.
Paraphrasing MacL i.e. my spin, maybe not his, the "sept" arms were more like a clan badge for those of the name from the same area—functionally like a Scottish clan badge without the same focus on allegiance to the chief.
For Irish-Americans thinking of designing & assuming arms, the so-called "sept" arms might be treated in roughly the same way those of Scottish origins, proven or traditional, often "difference" the stem arms of their real or imagined chiefly line e.g. my own, and Joe’s, & any number of others. Even the CHOI (often? usually? sometimes?) does this e.g. Joe’s article on JFK’s arms, or a fair share of the relatively few Irish grants on the CHOI website. And of course its the almost obligatory aproach used by Lyon.
Of course no American is obliged to derive their armorial inspiration from the Old Country, & can if desired start anew as "our" Reagans eventually did.
MacL (at least the edition I read & xeroxex—don’t know if the text varied in editions before or since) made a distinction between displaying the sept arms and taking a "proprietaty" interest in them—a choice of terms that was discussed on rec.heraldry years back—vs. more personal use such aas seal, etc., in which case he said one shold apply to the CHOI for a differenced version.
Exactly. This is correct.
This is the MacLysaght Principal. If I were, say, Donnchadh O’Brien I would display the O’Brien “Sept” arms in my house as a means of identifying of what clan I belong to. But, if I wanted letterheads, stationary, seals, rings, etc I would get my own.
So, if Pres. Reagan had belonged to the O’Regans to whom there is a defined “Sept” arms for it would be one thing to display it in a manner already mentioned and get personal ones differenced a bit for personal stuff. However, the good president didn’t even belong to this particular clan of O’Reagan. So his use of them is a sad, total blunder.
"sad, total blunder"—well, perhaps, but at least it got him thinking & led to something more appropriate in the end.
And to be clear, the blunder apparently wasn’t his, rather someone in the Irish National Library or thereabouts who let his blazoning get ahead of his genealogical research.
mike, i was referring to the CHOI office. the blunder is theirs. he didnt ask them to place the wrong "sept" arms on his genealogy coument. they did that on their own.