King surname history

King is one of the most common surnames in Ireland, and is distributed throughout the country. In Ulster, many, though not all of those of the name will be of English stock, bearing the English surname which originated simply as a description of someone of kingly bearing. The majority, however, are of native Irish origin, since King was used as a (mis)translation of a number of Irish names which contained sounds similar to ri, "king". Among the many such names are Mac Fhearadhaigh ("McAree/McGarry") in Co. Monaghan, O Maolconaire and O Conraoi ("Conroy/Conry") in Co. Roscommon, Mac Conraoi, ("Conroy") in Co. Galway (where the change to King was almost total), O Conaire ("Connery") in Munster. In Ulster, in counties Antrim, Tyrone and Down, Mac Fhinn ("Maginn") was also changed, by phonetic misrepresentation rather than mistranslation, to King.

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