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My Wright Connections

By Michael W. Caughey

William Wright, my 2nd great grandfather, died in 1881. His Will dated 8 July 1881; Probate granted 5 April 1882.

William was a farmer who owned 45 acres of land c. 1870 at Squire's Hill,Lower Ballysillan, near Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland. It seems that he farmed there for at least eleven years. It is likely that he was Presbyterian.

I know of three children:
Ellen Wright (my great grandmother)
Thomas John Wright
David Wright
all born pre 1881.

I understand that a William J. Wright, Burnside House, Dunadry, Co. Antrim, owned 131 acres c.1870. It is possible that he was related to my William.

There was a man called Edward James Wright came from Ligoniel, near Squire's Hill. I heard his father married three times. Edward James bought a farm at Ballnadolly, near Lisburn. The farm house might have been a pub at one time.


WRIGHT

In Ireland, outside of Dublin, this name is common only in Ulster, and particularly in counties Antrim, Down and Armagh. It can be of English, Scottish or Irish origin.

In England, where it is one of the twenty most common names, it is more numerous in the north. It derives from the Old English 'wyrhta' or 'wryhta', which means a 'worker, chiefly on wood, a carpenter or joiner'. In Lowland Scotland it has the same derivation and was first recorded in the Ragman Rolls of 1296.

In the Highlands, however, the Wrights were a sept of Clan MacIntyre, whose name in Gaelic, Mac an tSaoir, means 'son of the wright'. The Irish Gaelic equivalent gives the name MacAteer. This in Co. Fermanagh was anglicised to Wright, but more generally in Ulster, MacAteer was made Carpenter or MacIntyre.

In mid-nineteenth-century Antrim the greatest concentration of the name was in the barony of Lower Belfast, and in Down, in Lower Iveagh, particularly the parish of Magherally. The name MacIntrye is common in north Antrim and north Derry, but not in the Glens of Antrim. It has been suggested that the Wrights of the southern Glens are MacIntyres from west Argyll.
(With acknowledgements to 'The Book of Ulster Surnames').

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