French Family Association

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Ireland Charts of the Surname French

Last updated by Mara French on 11/20/08. Go to Chart Index.
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Emigration, Irish Charts

Irish Charts of Surname French

American Charts

English Charts

Origination of the Surnames ffrench and de Freynes

Emigration, Irish Charts

Other Ireland Notes on the Surname French


These lines of the surname French are descended from Theophilus de French, who arrived with Strongbow in England in 1066 with William the Conqueror. In the beginning of the 14th century, this branch settled in Wexford, Ireland. In 1425 the Frenchs migrated to Galway, Ireland, and became one of the Tribes of Galway. In the early 17th century (1620) they settled in the County of Roscommon, Ireland, in the village of Frenchpark as well as in Monivea and various other localities, having married into very wealthy families of royalty.

I researched these lines to the best of my ability trying to find immigrants to the U.S. The difficulty with the research was plentiful. Old records detailing a French family begin with the most prominent figure, then go on to his heir which is not necessarily his son, but the relationship is unexplained. Then in the middle of the record, they talk about the founder of the line in that particular city, but the relationship is unknown. Most first sons are documented because they inherited everything. The latter sons migrated to gain strength, and the daughters were hardly mentioned at all. Many of these latter children died unmarried. Several French men added surnames to their surname that were of royalty, usually from their mothers side, such as, Conrad OBrien-ffrench. I was able to construct more accurate lineages when I learned that tacking on Fitz to a name meant son of, such as James French Fitz-Edmund, Peter French Fitz-John, and Edmond French Fitz-Robuck [18], in other words, James was the son of Edmund French.

This family is descended from Sir Maximilian Ffrench, the first of the name, whose descendants accompanied their kinsman, William the Conqueror, into England. Their original place of settlement in Ireland, together with many other English and Anglo-Norman adventurers, was the County of Wexford; from whence, in process of time, they gradually spread throughout the other parts of the kingdom. Two families of the name settled at different periods in Galway, the first, with Walter French, in the reign of Hen. VI. about the year 1425, and the other, with Henry Begg Ffrench, in the reign of Elizabeth; since which time, they have ranked amongst the most considerable in the Province. The family of Castle Ffrench, near Ahascragh, in the County of Galway, was raised to the dignity of the Peerage, in the year 1798. The Right Honorable Charles Baron Ffrench, of Castle Ffrench is the present Lord. The other branches of this respectable name, are those of Ballinahalla, now of Beagh, Carrorea, Elmhill, Ffrenchgrove, Monivea, Portcarn, Rahasane and Tyrone in the County of Galway, Ballykeneave and Culliane in the County of Mayo, and Foxborough, Frenchpark, Port, Rocksavage and Snipehill, in the County of Roscommon.

Emigration, Irish Charts

There are currently (Nov. 2008) at least 218 head of households with the surname ffrench in America. So far only the descendants below are identified with the French families of Ireland. If you have more desendants to identify, please contact

      Chart #107, Thomas French immigrated from Frenchgrove, Mayo, Ireland, to Maryland.

      Chart #175, John French immigrated from Galleham, Ireland, to Virginia.

      Chart #181, Richard French, immigrated from Johnstown, Duncormick, Wexford, Ireland to California.

      Chart IREA, Peter French to Australia; Richard Ffrench to California

      Chart IREC, John ffrench to Stockbridge, MA

      Chart IRED, James French to Maryland

      Chart IREF, William French to New Mexico

      Chart IREH, Acheson French to Australia

      Chart IREJ, Thomas Ridley French to New York City

Irish Charts of Surname French

Chart #IREA. Bannow, Co. Wexford, Ireland

Nicholas Ffrench, the son of Matthew French, was b. and d. in Wexford County, Ireland, m. Mary Murphy Cullenstown. This family is assumed to be part of the French family of Ballytory Castle near Tacumshane in 1324 of which Nicholas French died there in 1328. His ancestor was among the first Normans to land in Ireland ca. 1169 in Bannow, County Wexford. The Normans came from Normandy, France in 1066 with William the Conqueror and landed in southern England. In 1425 Walter French of Wexford moved to Galway and started the Galway French Tribe, one of the first 14 surnames in Galway, Ireland, known as the Tribes of Galway.

Chart #IREB. Cloonyquin, Co. Roscommon, and Tyrone, Co. Galway, Ireland

Christopher French, Esquire of Cloonyquin, served as high-sheriff, b. 15 Jun 1821, m. 12 Feb 1851 Susan-Emma Percy, dau. of the Rev. W. A. Percy, rector of Carrick-on-Shannon. This family of Cloonyquin claims to be the elder branch of the Frenches of Roscommon, and is connected with the Dillons and the Frenches of Frenchpark. Simon French of this line had twelve sons.

Chart #IREC. Castle ffrench, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Ireland

Charles ffrench, crowned a Baronet 1779, the 1st Baron of Castle ffrench, d. 1784 (will dated 11 Jan 1783, proved 20 Oct 1784), m. Rose Dillon of Roscommon on 25 Jun 1761. His widow, Rose, was crowned on 12 Mar 1798 by patient Baroness ffrench, of Castle ffrench, Co. Galway with remainder to the heirs male of her body, by her husband Sir Charles ffrench, Bt; she d. 8 Dec 1805. Sir Charles ffrench built Castle ffrench in 1779. Thereafter, he was Mayor of Galway. Clogher was later called Castle ffrench.

Chart #IRED. Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland

This chart actually dates back to William the Conqueror. Walter French of Wexford moved to Galway and started the Galway French Tribe, one of the first 14 surnames in Galway, Ireland.

Chart #IREE. Cuskinny, Co. Cork, Ireland

Richard French, d. 1651, and his son Dr. James French, was mayor of Cork in 1696.

Chart #IREF. Frenchpark and Cloonshanville Priory, Co. Roscommon, Ireland

Patrick French fitzStephen of Galway is recorded as the earliest member of the family to be associated with Frenchpark. He died in 1667 and is buried in the ruined priory there. In March 1666/7 his son Dominick French of Frenchpark was granted over 5,000 acres in the barony of Boyle, county Roscommon and his grandson John French received a further 2,000 acres in the barony of Ballymoe in 1677. His descendant Arthur French was created Baron de Freyne in the Irish Peerage on 5 April 1851. Arthur French was a member of the Grand Panel for county Roscommon in 1828. Cloonshanville Abbey contains the family graveyard.

Chart #IREG. Frenchgrove, Co. Mayo, Ireland

James French, b. 16 Dec 1791, m. 24 Jan 1813 Margaret Kirwan, only child of Thomas Kirwan French, Esquire of Galway. See also Chart #107.

Chart #IREH. Monivea Castle, Co. Galway, Ireland

Robert French, b. 6 Dec 1799, was High-Sheriff in 1824, m. 5 Jul 1830 Katherine-Eleanor Browne, only dau. of Nicholas Browne, Esquire of Mont Hazel, Co. Galway.

Chart #IREJ. Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Ireland

Thomas Ridley French. Family originated from Ballinasloe, County Galway, probably from 1838 to 1853, where Thomas Ridley French published The Western Star newspaper, a weekly newspaper. The newspaper was published on Main St. in Ballinasloe, County Galway, Ireland. Most of their twelve children were born in Ballinasloe, and five died in New York of a plague that had broken out on board ship while immigrating. The family stopped in New York on their way to Canada to start a publication of a newspaper. They had the printing press with them. They never made it to Canada, because Thomas died upon arrival in New York City. Eliza was so traumatized by the deaths of her children on shipboard and the death of her husband soon after in New York that she rarely talked of her life in Ireland.