The Waddells of Ireland

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The Waddells of Ireland is a personal odyssey into her family history undertaken by Freda Bingley. As stated in the preface to the book, for some people ‘Finding one’s roots in Ireland is devilish hard’, but this did not deter the author from devoting her retirement years to researching the complex, dynamic and always interesting Irish family, the Waddells.

Every researcher into family history sets off down a familiar path which soon branches off, becomes fragmentary and is finally lost. The family records of the Waddell’s of Islanderry in County Down which name events back to the early 17th century, provided an incentive for research into other Waddell family in Ireland who were ‘incomers’ from Scotland.

The extraordinary discovery of a Lanarkshire land record in Edinburgh naming Islanderry, provided the Scottish link-up. Alas the documentary trail soon disappeared but fortunately heraldic evidence carried the research back to 13th century England and the Domesday Survey of 1086. That in turn led to research into the Flemish and French origins

An open-minded approach to over 100 spelling variations of  urnames encountered across the British Isles and Europe, as well as research into land records and medieval heraldry, has led to the inclusion of the Dillon (de Lens), Dowdall (de Udall), Odell, Uvadale, and Preston families of Ireland as they share a common ancestry with the ‘Waddells’. All are descendants of Count Eustace I of Boulogne.

The inclusion of unrelated Waddell families provides a challenge to other researchers and may offer an unknown link-up for those families that emigrated elsewhere. While the author makes no claim to be an historian, her disentangling of the extensive Waddell roots helps to provide a valuable link to our European past, and will undoubtedly be of interest to those researching Waddells and variant names at home and abroad and act as an encouragement to other family historians to continue the work.

Freda Bingley

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