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Subject: Re: [MDALLEGA] Rourk vs. O'Rourke ...
Date: Mon, 20 Apr 2009 07:10:27 -0400


Pat,

I also have Rourke/O'Rourke ancestors.? It's been my observation that many of them seem to show up in the church and census records (in the late 1880s) as Rourke.? However, the "O" was added some years later or by a subsequent generation.? Here is a link for a good explanation of Irish names which addresses the use of the "O."

http://www.heraldry.ws/info/article07.html

Until someone comes forth with a verified reason via a diary or 100 year old essay, I tend to believe it was originally O'Rourke and they family was just returning to its roots.? It might have been at the direction of their English overlords that they were not to use the "O."? Possibly, it was just a clerical error at some point that removed it.? Or it might have been dropped to appear less Irish.? In certain areas of our country (especially during the 19th century) being Irish was a good way not to have a job or rarely be able to move above one's station.

Regardless, most of the Rourke's seem to have added the "O" for some reason.? I tend to believe it belongs there for reasons we might never fully understand.? I also have O'Rourkes and Cavanaughs; however, I don't have your Peter or Ann.? Please contact me off list to compare notes.? We might have a connection.

Bob Thompson
Harrisburg, PA


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