Carroll Surname Genealogy

an Irish sept name, derived from the Gaelic personal name

. The name comes from the Gaelic word
cearbh meaning “slaughter” and
possibly described a fierce and warlike warrior.

The O’Carrolls of the Ely O’Carroll clan claimed
descent from Olioll Ollum, a third century king of Munster, and Sadhbh,
the daughter
of Conn Cétchathach (Conn of the Hundred Battles)

Carroll Resources on

Carroll Ancestry

Carroll clan is best known for its ties to the region known as Ely
O’Carroll country,
an area comprising mostly of county Offaly and North Tipperary.
Locations such
as the Slieve Bloom mountains and towns such as Birr in Offaly and
Roscrea in
Tipperary have had close links to the Ely O’Carrolls. There were many
castles associated
with them, the most famous or possibly the most notorious
being Leap Castle.

The Ely O’Carroll clan, also known as
the Ely and Clan Cian, may have begun with Cearbhaill, the King of
Ely, who fought with Brian Boru at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. Donald O’Carroll was King of Ely at the
coming of the English under Strongbow and was the forebear of the main
lines of
the family.

There was much internecine bloodshed within the O’Carroll clan
during the first half of the 16th century. With
the arrival of the English, the O’Carrolls were out of favor and then
in favor. Roger O’Carroll was ousted from
his estates by Cromwell. But
Charles O’Carroll later found support from Charles II and James II. They were not able to restore him to his
paternal estates. James II did grant
him tracts of land in Maryland and he emigrated there to prosper in
1688. Two years later his brother Thomas died in Ireland fighting
for King James at the Battle of the Boyne.

There have been Carroll
lines elsewhere. Donough O’Carroll, the
Prince of Oriel, left his mark with the refurbishment of St Mary’s
Abbey in
county Louth in 1148. The O’Carroll name
became common in the Dundalk region. P.J.
Carroll started a tobacco shop in
Dundalk in 1824 which was the forerunner of Carroll’s, Ireland’s oldest
manufacturer. His line has been traced back to James Carroll who
was born in
nearby Drumgoolin in 1699.

Today the Carroll name is fairly well spread across Ireland.

America. Charles Carroll, the forebear of the Carrolls in
Maryland, arrived in Maryland in 1688 in what was then a Catholic
colony. Although his royal patron James II soon lost his throne
and Catholicism came to be repressed in Maryland, the Carrolls endured
and prospered as one of the first families of the New Republic. The main Carroll
in Maryland descended from Charles the settler and his
brother Kean. Their family story was told in Ronald Hoffman’s
2002 book Planters of Maryland: A
Carroll Saga.

There were other Carroll families in America. One Carroll line
began with Burton Carroll, born in South Carolina in 1808, who ended up
in Suwannee county, Florida after the Civil War. Other Carrolls,
some of whom claimed a relation to the Maryland Carrolls, headed for

  • Benjamin
    Carroll brought his family from South Carolina first to Mississippi and
    then to Texas in 1848. They settled there in Navarro county.
  • Benajah
    Carroll, a Baptist minister, came to Burleson county from Arkansas in
    1858. His son James became one of the leaders of the Baptist
    community in Texas.
  • Colonel
    Ferdinand Carroll arrived from Virginia after the Civil War to Hopkins
    county where he helped found the town of Carroll Os Prairie (which
    later became Como). Son Tom Benton Carroll and his wife
    Emily lived at Carroll Os Hill until they died in the 1920’s.
  • while
    George Carroll came with his father Frank to Beaumont, Texas from
    Louisiana in 1868. His father started a lumber mill there.
    He himself lucked out as an investor in the Spindletop oil gusher
    of 1903. He subsequently ran on the prohibition ticket for
    Governor of Texas and as Vice President of the United States, but in
    both cases was unsuccessful.

Canada. Joseph Carroll was a saddler from county Down in Ulster
who fought on the British side in the American Revolutionary War and
then was shipwrecked off the coast of New Brunswick. He later
settled in York (Toronto) where his wife Mollie ran a boarding
house. Their son John grew up to be a Methodist minister who
became better known for his literary writings.

James O’Carroll meanwhile had apparently been banished from his
hometown of Armagh and settled in Newfoundland sometime in the
1780’s. His son Patrick, born in Newfoundland, died in his old
age on his way to the Mormon colony in Salt Lake valley.

Carroll Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Carroll Names

Donald O’Carroll was King of Ely at the
coming of the English under Strongbow and the forebear of the Ely
Charles Carroll
was the
first of the Carrolls to come to America.
He settled in Maryland, the forebear of a prominent
family there.
Father John Carroll
was the first Catholic Archbishop in
America and a founder of Georgetown University.

P.J. Carroll

founded Carroll’s, Ireland’s oldest tobacco

of Alice in
fame was the pen name of the Victorian writer Charles

Select Carrolls Today

  • 26,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 49,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 44,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)




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