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AZ_Dawn
09-01-2010, 12:05 AM
My old Irish gunner's last name's MacKenna. He's the son of a poor dockworker and was a dockworker himself before he went to sea. His origins are supposed to be lowly. He may be due for a name change...

I recently bought MacLysaght's The Surnames of Ireland to help me separate the Irish Macs from the Scottish Macs. It helps somewhat, though it's also giving me a different issue with some of the names.
For instance, it says that the MacKennas were the lords of Truagh. Oh crud, so much for lowly origins. Looking online is just as disheartening; there's an awful lot of illustrious MacKennas, even in his era (http://www.goireland.com/genealogy/family.htm?FamilyId=201)! The fact that there's so many artistic MacKennas makes my gunner's penchant for telling long-winded back-in-my-younger-days tales look almost cliche. :Headbang: (OK, so does his age, but that just contributes to the cheese; the name might be too much.)

Is MacKenna too upper class for this character? Too famous? Is Dawn just a little worrywart? If it helps, he was born around the mid-1600s.

Thanks!

Chris P
09-01-2010, 12:13 AM
I doubt there are many families in which EVERY branch is wealthy. There are plenty of poor Kennedys and Vanderbilts in the world.

If you feel a need (and this might add depth to the character) perhaps your MC could be the son or grandson of a disgraced MacKenna, such as one who drank up his family name or was blacksheeped for an affair or other embarrassment.

I think you're just a worrywart, to be honest.

DeleyanLee
09-01-2010, 12:16 AM
Is MacKenna too upper class for this character? Too famous? Is Dawn just a little worrywart? If it helps, he was born around the mid-1600s.

For every King who was a world-renown preacher, I know at least three who scrubbed toilets and cleaned floors. Same for any other common name to an area or time. At least three.

And since it is a royal Irish name, remember that meant that it was also a HUGE family and everyone who could possibly grab hold of that name in that area in that era did.

Use it if it fits and don't look back and don't apologize.

waylander
09-01-2010, 12:58 AM
The MacKennas were lords A LONG WAY BACK when the Irish still ruled Ireland
It could be something your MC clings to to try to convince himself that he isn't the lowest of the low

Paul
09-01-2010, 01:22 AM
There's no such thing as a lowly Irishman.




:D


ok ok. srsly, many surnames came from association with a clan - so the local frog catcher could be 'of the MacKennas' Even though mac is usually deemed 'son of'. (Medievalist will fill in the details.)

DeleyanLee
09-01-2010, 04:41 AM
I believe they were septs in Ireland, not clans. ;)

GeorgeK
09-01-2010, 05:12 PM
If they be Irish, then they'd call themselves McKenna and not Mac. They'd not want to get people confused about them being Scots.

AZ_Dawn
09-02-2010, 03:01 AM
Thanks, guys!


And since it is a royal Irish name, remember that meant that it was also a HUGE family and everyone who could possibly grab hold of that name in that area in that era did.

ok ok. srsly, many surnames came from association with a clan - so the local frog catcher could be 'of the MacKennas' Even though mac is usually deemed 'son of'. (Medievalist will fill in the details.)
I wondered if that was the case, but I wasn't sure.



If you feel a need (and this might add depth to the character) perhaps your MC could be the son or grandson of a disgraced MacKenna, such as one who drank up his family name or was blacksheeped for an affair or other embarrassment.



It could be something your MC clings to to try to convince himself that he isn't the lowest of the low

I don't do fictional relatives, but hey, the guy's an S.O.B. and wouldn't be above claiming to be royalty if it suited his purposes. :evil



If they be Irish, then they'd call themselves McKenna and not Mac. They'd not want to get people confused about them being Scots.

Actually, I asked about that a while back (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=95556). Mac and Mc are interchangeable for both nationalities.

Paul
09-02-2010, 03:04 AM
I believe they were septs in Ireland, not clans. ;)

That's correct.
and the Orcs were known as octs
;)

Kenn
09-02-2010, 01:12 PM
I think you used to get septs and clans in both Scotland and Ireland. I believe a sept is an offshoot or part of a clan.

As for being too upper class; I doubt it. My family has its own crest and two forms of tartan (hunting and dress). Unfortunately, this does not mean I live in a castle. Far from it in fact!

shaldna
09-02-2010, 09:21 PM
I believe they were septs in Ireland, not clans. ;)

Nah, we had clans.

Official terminology aside, most references will be for 'clan'.

Or sometimes 'tribe' depending on the location

autumnleaf
09-03-2010, 08:45 PM
If he was born in Ireland in the mid-1600s, then he might easily have come from a well-off family that fell on hard times. It was a tumultuous time. During the Tudor era (16th to early 17th centuries), Ireland saw several rebellions where the Irish upper class lost land and status. The Confederate War and the Cromwellian conquest (mid-17th century) saw yet more falls from wealth to poverty. [
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Ireland_1536%E2%80%931691 ]

The McKennas who held onto their previous position would have been exceptional rather than the rule. Even the "illustrious MacKennas" of your era may have been quite poor. Niall McK (from your link) might have struggled to make a living from his poetry and harping; the Gaelic lords no longer ruled, and the new Anglo Irish may not have had a taste for the older kind of poetry and music.

Even if your gunner doesn't actually come from the more illustrious branches of the family, he could still claim to be :)

AZ_Dawn
09-03-2010, 10:29 PM
Good point, Autumnleaf. Thanks!

Miguelito
09-05-2010, 11:31 PM
Speaking as somebody with McKenna blood (grandfather), I can say that they don't have to be upper class. My great grandfather was disowned by his family for marrying a girl of the wrong religion (my great grandfather was Protestant or Catholic, can't remember which, and he married a girl that was the other one). Thus, my grandfather came from a very working class family because he didn't have the money of the family behind him, but had a very big respect for upper class values, like education.