DeWard in Donegal
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Absorption of Surnames
In the Petty census of 1659 the name Ward (MacAward) was the 28th most common name in Donegal. By the time of the Donegal birth index of 1890 it had become the 7th most common name. Why the leap? The process of Anglicizing the Irish had started in earnest in the late Seventeenth century. Along with encouraging the Irish to drop the O’ & Mac prefixes from their names, Irish names were being translated into English more often as not by officials who couldn’t speak Irish. Added to this, like sounding names found in relatively remote areas were often absorbed into better known names during the process of centralising government records. Names like Sullahan became Sullivan, Kehilly became Kelly etc etc.
Of the three distinct groups of Wards in Inishkeel, during the 1800s, those living in the north & west are without a doubt descendants of the renowned literary family of MacanBhaird whose original homeland is the adjoining Parish of Lettermacaward just across the Gweebarra river.
It’s a quite different story to those living in the Glenties area. The Tithe Applotments of 1833 record two Ward families living in the area locally known as the Meentagh of Glenties. It’s highly unlikely that these men were in fact Wards. For example, three of the sons of one of them, John Ward of Meenaleenaghan, called themselves & their children DeWard in the baptismal records of 1867/69. Another man, Cormac Ward baptised his daughter, Winifrid DeWard.
By 1857 the bulk of this small clann were now officially “Wards” but they continue to use their Deward name in various documents other than those concerning land ‘til near the end of the century. I’ve seen the marriage records of five girls married between 1864-70 still using the name DeWard. All their fathers were DeWards in the marriage certificates although they were now technically Wards. John Ward of Greenans, for example, is called Shane DeWard in his daughter Mary’s marriage certificate. Other Dewards who were clearly of the same stock but living outside Inishkeel, are a family from Raphoe North, & one from Dooish in Stranorlar parish. Interestingly The descendants of the Dooish family now living in Meencarrigagh, Ballybofey, are the only ones left who have retained the name of DeWard.
Outside of this area, the only other DeWards I could find were one family living in the Townland of Carrickfin, in the parish of Templecrone, & one family in the Townland of Tullyherron, in the Parish of Donaghcloney, Co. Down.
The Dewards (O’Dewards) of Glenties are a typical example of a small Clann living in a remote area losing their identity by absorption into the more common & English sounding name of Ward. Hence the jump in the number of Wards in Donegal in the 1890 Birth Index!
These Dewards were a Clann in their own right who were evicted from their fertile lands in the Laggan (lowlands) of Donegal at some time during the dispossessions which by 1778 left only 5% of Ireland in the hands of the native Irish, & who with other families were forced westward into the nearby Blue Stack Mountains. An empty & barren land used only for summer grazing by the people of Lettermacaward.
Found in list of Donegal rebels 1609
Hugh McRassie O’Doverd
Found in Hearth Money Rolls of 1665
Gilbreed O’Doward of Drumkeen , Convoy Parish
Hugh? O’Doward of Letterbrick, Kilteevoge Parish
Found in the Tithe Records of 1828/33
Deward 21 in adjacent Townlands above the Glen of Glenties (The Meentagh) Inishkeel Parish
Deward 1 in Kingarrow, Inishkeel Parish
Deivard 1 in Dooish, Stranorlar Parish (Andrew)
Deivard 1 in Raphoe North
Found in the Griffiths valuation of 1857/8
DeWard 3 above the Glen of Glenties ( the Meentagh) Inishkeel Parish
DeWard 1 in Kingarrow, Inishkeel Parish
Deivard 1 in Dooish, Stranorlar Parish (Andrew)
Deward 1 in Tullyherron, Donaghcloney, Co. Down
Found in the Census of 1901
Kilpatrick - Johnston & Rebecca, Thomas, Jeanie. Hugh McConnell & Bella Deward. - Cappry, Stranorlar Parish
Deward - Michael & Sarah, Andrew, Mary, Patrick,Catherine - Dooish, Stranorlar Parish
DeWard - Andrew, Elisabeth, & Madge - Carrickfin, Templecrone
At Present ( 2009)
DeWard - Patrick & family - Meencarrigagh, Stranorlar Parish
Deivard is a misspelling of Deward, the iv should be w. However it’s interesting in as it illustrates that this name was originally one word. Deward, not Ward with the prefix De in front of it.
Ward / DeWard Comparison Table
Comparison table showing the surname change that occurred between 1833-1857.& the general distribution of Wards in the Parish of Inishkeel at that time.
There were three separate groupings of Wards in Inniskeel, one in the north between the Gweebarra River & Lough Finn, another to the west of Ardara & a third group situated to the east of Glenties on the Plateau above the Glen of Glenties, known locally as "the Meentagh".
The Irish Acre was used in the 1833 Tithe Applotment, and the English Acre was used in the 1857 Griffiths Valuation.
Townland 1833 Acres 1857 Acres Adderwall Bryan Ward Condy Ward Connell Ward John Ward John Ward Hugh Ward Hugh Ward Nan Ward Clashy Bryan Ward Clochercor Brian Ward Danial Ward Coolvoy James Ward Derryloghan William Ward Anne Ward 30 John Ward No. 3a 55 John Ward No. 6b 119 Drumnaha Connell Ward 83 Connell Ward Kingarrow Conal Deward John DeWard 30
Kingarrow is east of Fintown the rest are are all south of the the Gweebarra River & north of Lough Finn
Naran is north & Tullynaglaggan is southeast of Ardara. The rest are all in western Inishkeel
Bracky John Ward Bridget Ward Patrick McWard Owen Ward Cashel John Ward Laconnell John Ward Lagunna Danial Ward Mullancarry William Ward William Ward Naran Edward Ward Owenteskiny Condy Ward Tullynaglaggan Patrick Ward 3 1833 - 11 Wards + 1 McWard + 1 Deward 1857 - 18 Wards + 1 DeWard Townland 1833 Acres 1857 Acres Ardun Hugh Ward 55 Buncroobog Hugh Ward 13 Croaghubbrid Charles Ward 44 Patrick Ward 97 Croveenananta William Ward 215 Drumnasillagh Patrick Deward William Ward Edenfinfreagh William Deward 19 Mary Ward 20 Patrick Deward 50 Patrick Ward 161 Glenties Town William Ward Graffy Hugh Ward 13 John Ward 11 Greenans John Deward 36 John Ward (Sen.) 30 William Deward 17 John Ward (Jun.) 41 John Deward 36 Knocklettragh Rose Deward 11 Darby Deward 34 Darby Deward 21 Lacroagh Michael Deward 83 Lagnagillew Margaret Ward 43 Meenabrock Hugh Deward 214 Hugh Ward 231 shared John Deward 214 John Ward (Hugh’s son) with John John Ward (John’s son) 285 William Ward 181 shared Patrick Ward with Patrick Meenachuit William DeWard 38 Meenagrubby Patrick Deward 17 Patrick Ward 42 William Deward 17 William Ward 96 Widow Deward 17 Meenaleenaghan John Ward 20 John Ward No. 6 19 Fergal Ward No. 5 27 Connell Ward No.8a & 8b 8 + 14 = 22 William Ward No.13 148 Meenamanragh John Ward 93 John Ward 142 shared Connell Ward with Connell Meenanarwa Patrick DeWard 215 shared William DeWard with William Meenavale Hugh Deward 30 Bridget Ward Conal Deward 30 Connell Ward (Sen.) 56 Connell Ward (Jun.) 40 Mully Patrick Deward Bryan Ward No.2 40 OwenWard Nos.8b10a 10b 3 + 25 = 28 Tangaveane William Deward 17+6 WilliamWard Nos.3a & 3b 7 + 21 = 28 Manus Deward 17 JeremiahWard Nos.7a& 7b 5 + 22 = 27 Charles Deward 17 Charles Ward Nos. 8a & 8b 4 + 19 = 23 Patrick Ward (Sen.) No. 9 19 Patrick Ward (Jun.) No.12 60 Tievelough William Ward 25 These Townlands are in “the Meentagh” to the east of Glenties & continue down the glen of Glenties 1833 - 2 Wards + 21 Dewards 1857 - 38 Wards + 3 DeWards
Name Distribution Maps
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