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The Mayo Family History Centres - County Mayo, Ireland

Welcome To

The Professional
Genealogical Research Service

for County Mayo


So you think you have Mayo ancestry! Well you're in good company: Mary Robinson, Grace Kelly, Mel Gibson and Mrs Richard Nixon are a few of the many international figures whose ancestors came from this beautiful county.

County Mayo, which is located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Connacht, had a populaiton at the time of the Great Famine of almost half a million. The haemorrhage of emigration in the past century and a half has reduced the population to a little over one fifth of this figure. But emigration has generated a Mayo Diaspora which has resulted in millions of people world-wide who can trace their ancestry back to County Mayo. In recent years there have been an increasing number of people eager to discover more about their Mayo Roots.

To facilitate the amount of ancestral enquiries and to ensure the highest possible standard of service, capturing vital local knowledge, two Centres were appointed by the Irish Genealogical Project as the official family history research centres for Mayo.

  • Mayo North Family Heritage Centre
  • South Mayo Family Research Centre

The two centres work closely together, and cater for their respective catchment areas.

Common Mayo Surnames

The more common surnames in the North Mayo include Gallagher, Durkan, McHale, Barrett, McNulty, McNicholas, Brennan, Henry, Doyle, Harkin, Dogherty, Foy, Kelly, Loftus, Gaughan and Lavelle.

In South Mayo common surnames includes Walsh, Burke, Gibbons, Prendergast, Joyce, Murray, Gallagher, Lydon, Heneghan, Murphy, O'Malley, Kelly, Moran, Duffy, O'Connor, Waldron, Farragher.

Famous People with Mayo Roots

  • Politics

    The former Irish President Mary Robinson is a native of County Mayo as is former Irish Prime Minister Charles Haughey.

    American politicans Bill O'Dwyer, Paul O'Dwyer and Tom Foley as well as Mrs. Pat Nixon wife of former U.S. President Richard M. Nixon.

  • Historical

    The founder of the Argentian Navy Admiral William Browne and Irish land reformer Michael Davitt.

  • Movie/TV Actors

    The late Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco had Mayo roots as has Mel Gibson the movie actor, UK television actress Liz Dawn and 'The Quiet Man' John Wayne.

  • Clergymen

    Cardinal James Gibbons, theologian Fr. Andrew Greeley and the 'rosary priest' Fr. Patrick Peyton have Mayo roots.

  • The Arts

    The famous writer George Moore and the prima donna Margaret Bourke Sheridan were Mayo natives as is the writer Michael Mullin. The writer Oliver Goldsmith had family connections with the county.

  • Sports

    Champion boxers 'Gentleman' Jim Corbett and Gene Tunney, the Olympic athlete Martin Sheridan and Irish international soccer star Steve Staunton have their family roots in Mayo.

  • Nobel and Lenin prizewinner

    Sean McBride was son of Major John McBride of Westport in South Mayo.

  • Genealogist

    The famous Irish genealogist John O'Hart was a native of Crossmolina in North Mayo.

Visitor Attractions

Mayo's main tourist attractions include the Marian Shrine at Knock, Ireland's 'holy mountain' Croagh Patrick, and the Ceide Fields where human habitation can be traced from before the building of the Pyramids of Egypt. Ashford Castle at Cong where 'The Quiet Man' was filmed is well worth a visit as is Westport, said to be Mayo's most attractive town. The county is famous throughout Europe for the quality of its angling, unspoilt beaches and historic ruins which cover a period of over five thousand years.

Emigration from Mayo

Emigrants from Mayo in the early 1700s settled in Jamaica and Monserrat. By the end of the 1700s emigrants were leaving for Australia, America and Canada. Famine emigration was chiefly to New York, Boston, Philadelphia and the north of England.

By the end of the 19th century the US cities of New York, Jersey City, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago received the bulk of Mayo emigrants. There was a tendency for emigrants from Mayo to settle amongst Mayo emigrants already settled in the US and UK. For instance emigrants from the Ballina area of Mayo frequently settled in Scranton, PA, USA and many emigrants from the Louisburgh area of Co. Mayo settled in Clinton, MA, U.S.A. while emigrants from the eastern part of Mayo frequently settled at Bury and Rochdale in England.

We thank you for visiting our web page and look forward to hearing from you in the future.


Mayo Family History Centres

| The Centres | Return to your Roots | What is a Family History Report? |

Sample Report
| Contents | Introduction | Page 2 | Page 5 |

Ordering a Report
| Order Form | Information Sheet 1 | Information Sheet 2 |

New for 2003
Mayo Births & Baptisms Search

To find out more about the centres, you can contact them at: 

Mayo North Family Heritage Centre
Co Mayo

Tel: + 353 (0) 96 31809
Fax: + 353 (0) 96 31885

South Mayo Family Research Centre
Main Street
Co Mayo

Tel: + 353 (0) 94 954 1214
Fax: + 353 (0) 94 954 1214



Mayo Family History Centres

are members of the

Irish Family History Foundation.

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