GENIRE-L ArchivesArchiver > GENIRE > 2000-08 > 0966814756
From: "Padraig Breathnach" <>
Subject: Re: Niadh
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2000 23:39:16 GMT
Kathy Lott wrote in message
>>one source has it with the older spelling (O')NIAD', pronounced
>>Nee from 'des. of Nia' (champion) - the name of an ancient family
>Which brings me to another question - in Ireland is Nee pronounce with a
>or a long a sound (like in the French word nee)? And in Niadh is the a
>What sort of sound is the dh? And in the older spelling, O'Niad, would the
>ending have the same sound?
Long "e", as in "tea". The "a" is not quite silent -- a little bit of it
hangs on to the end -- just a little bit. The "dh" is silent -- the "h"
indicates elision of the previous letter. Elision means that the sound is
softened or supressed. In the older spelling, there was almost certainly a
dot over the "d" which, like the "h" indicated elision.
>I must confess at this point that I do have an Irish pronunciation guide
>that my attempts at trying to figure this out have so terrified me that I
>come begging for sanity and help.
Understandable. Especially as Irish has several dialects with different
>>the name of an ancient family
>>in Tralee, Kerry - now found mostly anglicized as Needham or
>>Neville - it was also (later) seen in Knockpatrick, Co. Limerick
>>and in West Galway
>I was told by my grandfather that my grandmother's grandmother was Mary
>descendant of Marshall Ney. Well, of course, that is turning out to be not
>true. It is exciting, at least to me, to find out what Nee or Ney's roots
"Ney" sounds to me like an alternative anglicisation of O Niadh. Phonic
patterns shift over time. Besides, there is another story that Marshal Ney
ended his days as a teacher of French in North America.
>I had heard that Nee was not a common last name and was mostly found (at
>in the 1920s) in Galway. Is that still true? Perhaps the Nevilles and
>Needhams are the more common forms the name took when aglicized.
Not a common name. I certainly associate it with Galway, but that is an
unscientific personal impression.
>Researching Donahue and Doherty from Kerry (Glen Flesk)
>Fergusson from Co. Sligo
>Boyle from Strabane
>Meehan from God knows where (via Canada)
>Nee from ?? to Woburn, Mass.
>and Martin from again only God knows
What a lot of ancestors! Most Martins are connected with Galway.