ince the Anglo/Norman invasion of Ireland in 1172, the history of the family name Lynch has been entwined in the legendary green tapestry of the Emerald Isle as surely as if the name had been native Irish.
Using works of legend and fact, researchers have compiled evidence using books by O'Hart, McLysaght, O'Brien and other Irish historians as well as transcripts from the Book of Kels, the Falaise Rolls, Battel Abbey Rolls, the Wace poem, Irish parish records, family histories and ancient land grants. Their conclusions are that the first record of the name Lynch was found in county Galway where they were granted lands by Strongbow after the English Norman invasion of Ireland in 1172.
Your name, Lynch, occurred in many references, but from time to time, the surname was also officially recorded as Lynch, Linch, O'Lynch, and these changes in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son. It was not uncommon for a person to be born with one spelling, married with another, and to have yet another recorded at his wake. The O' prefix, or Mc prefix, was dropped or assumed depending on the fashion of the time.
The ancient Milesian Kings, the legendary history of Ireland tells of the grandson of Breoghan, King of Galicia, Andalusia, Murcia, Castile and Portugal, were the ancient progenitors of the Dalcassian race. Milesius, a great general/king was instrumental in defending Egypt from the King of Ethiopia. In gratitude, the Pharaoh of Egypt gave his daughter, Scota to Milesius for his wife. Later, Milesius sent his uncle northward from Spain with his own son Lughaidh to explore the western Isles. On finding that his son had been murdered in Ireland by the three resident Kings, (the Danans), Milesius gathered an army to take his revenge on the Irish. He died before he embarked on the trip. His remaining eight sons conquered Ireland and renamed it the land of the Scoti.
In 1172 A.D., Dermott McMurrough, in his fight for the position of Ard Righ, requested Henry II of England for assistance. Henry of England commanded the Earl of Pembroke, nick named Strongbow, to help Dermott in his fight for the crown of Ireland. Strongbow recruited 2000 trained mercenaries of Norman, Welsh or Cornish background from south Wales and sailed for Ireland. The battles against the untrained, badly clad Irish were short, swift and sure, but, in the end, it was Henry and Strongbow who held the reins of power in Ireland, not Dermott McMurrough. Strongbow doled out to his army commanders much of the confiscated Irish land in southern Ireland. Ironically, after several centuries, the invaders became as Irish as the native families. Those Anglo/Norman surnames such as Burke, Fitzpatrick, Fitzgerald, Power, Prendergast, Walsh, including the family name Lynch became the backbone of southern Irish society.
The Norman invasion was followed by Cromwell's invasion in 1640, when further loss of land befell the unfortunate Irish people, including the Anglo/Norman settlers. Ulster in the north was seeded with Protestant Scottish and English families. And, again, the sept of Lynch was amongst the great Irish families to lose their ancient territories.
The now Irish family Lynch emerged in later years as a distinguished family in Galway in Ireland. This ancient Norman family arrived with Strongbow and became one of the 'Tribes of Galway'. They were very influential in the local politics, no less than 84 Mayors of Galway were from the family Lynch, as were many of the Wardens of Galway. Gradually the religion changed from Protestant to Catholic and they became staunchly Irish patriots. Lynch Castle was built in 1320 and they formed many branches of the same name. Notable amongst the family up to this time was Doctor John Lynch, Bishop of Toronto; Thomas Lynch, youngest of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence.
In 1845, the great potato famine culminated several years of famine causing widespread poverty and starvation, and the great exodus from Ireland began. Within fifty years the population was reduced to less than half. Many joined the armada of sailing ships which sailed from Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Holyhead, Liverpool and Glasgow, all bound for the New World. Some called these ships the "White Sails", others, more realistically, called them the "Coffin Ships", voyaging across the Atlantic when 25 % of the passengers died at sea.
In North America, one of the first migrants which could be considered a kinsman of the sept Lynch, of that same family was Francis Lynch settled in Georgia in 1733; Jeremiah Lynch settled in Virginia in 1638; Patrick Lynch settled at Prescot Ontario in 1825 with his wife and seven children; Bernard, Charles, Daniel, Denis, Edward, Hugh, James, John, Mathew, Michael, Patrick, Peter, Phillip, Richard, Thomas and William Lynch, all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860. Many moved westward with the wagon trains, and settled the mid west, some trekking over the Rockies to the west coast. some remained loyal to the Crown during the American War of Independence and moved north to Canada, becoming known as the United Empire Loyalists Others formed the Irish Brigades in the great struggle for independence.
Many prominent people represent this name, Lynch, Benjamin Lynch, Professor of Oral Surgery; Charles Lynch, Canadian Journalist; Jack Lynch, Irish Politician; Patrick Lynch, Economist; Phillip Lynch, Australian Politician.
Whilst researching the history of the Irish name Lynch the researchers also took the opportunity to probe the references to determine the first, the most ancient grant of Arms matriculated to the name, rather than the many variations granted to branches of the family name.
The Coat of Arms for the family
name Lynch is;
Blue with a gold chevron between three gold tree leafed clovers.
The Crest is;
A blue Lynx
From the Hall of Names Inc.
RR1 Box 30
Midland, Ontario, L4R 4K3
Andrew M. Lynch