Descended from Kings The Secrets of Meghan Markle's Irish Ancestry

The Forensic genealogical case File of Meghan Markle's Ancestry

When unravelling the Irish and Windsor Connnection, we do so to extend a welcome to Meghan and why not, in a way she's coming home to explore her Irish roots. In Meghan and her Irish ancestral connections, we see the complexities of world politics and global connectedness. How an irish emigrant impacted on Windor is a story worth telling. We are still looking for the exact origins of the MCCAGUE ancestry and as more information is coming to light as we speak, we will certainly keep you posted. The latest news tells us of the impending move back to Windsor from Kensington svo the ancestral story continues.

Our evidence from Public Records, freely available online through the Catholic Parish Registers and other resources are of Meghan Markle's ancestry being McCAGUE. Family lore tells us that she married an English Soldier Thomas BIRD and embraced an Army Wife's life travelling overseas to many countries as part of the retinue involved with the regiment. The regiment was the famous Cheshire Regiment , a line infantry regiment of the British Army, and part of the Prince of Wales' Division. The 22nd Regiment of Foot was raised by the Duke of Norfolk in 1689. Raising a regiment meant provisioning, feeding, arming the men in that regiment out one's own resources and gaining titles, honours and rewards from the crown in return.

Thomas Bird -(Probably our Thomas BIRD) 1st Battalion 22nd (the Cheshire) Regiment of Foot, Service No:5200/910 source derived from the https://www.thegenealogist.com 5***** recommendation for this site. The records for this can be obtained at the National Archives at Kew, TNA WO 12/3923. Service numbers are important and it will be interested to see what this reveals for further research.

Our sources directly from the this site http://maltaramc.com/regmltgar/22nd.html were amazing for the regiments resident in Malta in the 19th Century. This is a site well work checking out and we give it 5*****

Research from Fiona Fitzsimons and Helen Moss, genealogists with the Irish Family History centre based at EPIC in Dublin showed 'THE OLYMPUS' as the ship of departure from Kingstown to Cobh and departing in 1860 taking Thomas Bird and Mary McCague Bird to their new life as part of an army family to Malta.

"22 June 1860 838 men, 77 wives and 82 children of the 1st/22nd embarked at Dublin on 13 June 1860. The regiment disembarked in Malta on 22 June and replaced its linked battalion, the 2nd/22nd at Floriana barracks. The 1st Battalion was quartered in the Cottonera District, occupying the casemated barracks at Isola Gate, Polverista, Zabbar and San Francesco de Paola. Before the end of the year there occurred among them no less than 40 admissions for mild conjunctivitis. The majority of the cases occurred in the dry hot month of August and the following months from poor hygiene and lack of abundant water for washing. Maltese civil practitioners believed that the disease was often carried from person to person by the common house fly, which often infested the eyes of persons suffering from ophthalmia. They also held the view that the severest form was introduced into the islands in 1801 by British troops after the Egyptian Campaign. The disease entrenched itself in the village of Zejtun, which ever since had become notorious for the large number of chronically infected villagers. The reflection of glare from bare rocky surfaces was considered to be a predisposing factor in the origin of ophthalmia. Soldiers of the artillery and the 22nd Regiment in Malta did not wear peaks to their forage caps which exposed the eyes to the reflected rays of the sun. In 1860, the regiment had an average strength of 437 men, 662 hospital admissions (1515 admissions per 1000 of mean strength) with 4 deaths in hospital and 1 death out of hospital (11.44 deaths per 1000 of mean strength). The 1st/22nd Regiment had the highest ratio of admissions in the garrison. It had arrived in the island just at the commencement of the hot weather when there was usually a marked increase in the amount of sickness. Medical officers attributed this to the soldiers not being seasoned to the heat. It is now thought likely that sandfly fever or phlebotomus fever in non immune soldiers was to blame. During the four months (June to September) it furnished 169 admissions and 1 death from Common Continued fevers.

Research uncovered located the rare source of the marriage of Thomas Bird and Mary McCague at Donnybrook. Mary's father is showing up as Francis McCue. Later sources show Mary may had Belfast links. So we have more digging to do. Mary certainly lived in Merrion Strand in Dublin and she married Thomas Bird in Dublin. Fitzsimons and Moss found that Thomas died in around 1868 and Mary remarried anothe soldier William White. She would go on to have more children in Canada so the trail blazes on and instead of returning to England with the regiment, Mary courageously forged a new path and started the new journey in New Hampshire in the US. Her death in 1885 shows a variance in age with census records but that is not uncommon..

Belfast in 1852

The Belfast of Mary's youth changed dramatically over the course of the second half of the nineteenth century. Newcomers to Belfast came from across Ireland, Scotland and England, but particularly from rural Ulster. It would therefore be important to check out the MCCAGUE connections in the nearby county of Monaghan as this county and especially TYDNAVET is the home to many MCCAGUES and just how the surname spread during modernity.

Royal Avenue Belfast 1890-1900
The local paper reported that a hurricane struck Ireland the previous weekend to their marriage with it then being a "whirlwind romance"

One thing for certain conditions for Thomas BIRD and his Irish wife Mary McCAGUE were extreme in Malta. Further accounts from the Regiments of the Malta Garrison showed that the 1st/22nd Regiment was quartered in the Cottonera District. "16 families lived in the block of quarters on Bormla Curtain. These consisted of a series of small pigeon hole like rooms in the walls of St John's Curtain, in the outer land defences, near Polverista Gate. The rooms were ventilated from the door and a small window above it. Each family had one room, or two rooms when these became available. There was no drainage and the sewage was either thrown in front of the cabins or cast into the latrines in an angle of the fortification and above the centre of the row. Bormla Gate passed under this range of quarters and had two sewer openings at its entrance. In the small wall, northwards, were situated the rooms forming the Polverista Barracks. These were occupied by four companies of the 22nd. The rooms were long, narrow, fairly ventilated and not overcrowded. Polverista Barracks faced Bormla District and stretched across the watershed of a large ravine with a free open glacis in front.

On 23 September, a married woman residing in the quarters in Bormla Curtain was attacked with cholera; four days later a soldier and his wife who nursed the child of this woman contracted the disease, as well as another woman occupying a room in a distant part of the building. In September, there were 8 infected with 5 deaths, the last occurring on 30 September.

In June, when admissions from continued fevers from the 3rd Regiment became very numerous, tents were pitched for 200 of the men to sleep in with a view to diminish the over crowding in barracks. As this approach appeared to prove satisfactory, it was adopted in July by the 1st/22nd Foot, the 23rd Foot and Rifle Brigade and the rooms on the ground floor of Lower St Elmo Barracks were vacated by the married men of the 23rd Regiment. On 20 Sept, detachments were sent by the various regiments to Pembroke Camp for rifle practice and the barracks were thus relieved for the remainder of the year by about 1200 men." The source for this were derived from the excellent British Army Medical Services And the Malta Garrison 5*****

During the latter part of the summer of 1865, [This was the year before Hattie [Harriet Bird's birth in Malta in 1866]. Mary Bird, later Mary MERRILL would have been 4 years old... there were isolated outbreaks of ophthalmia among the married families of the 1st/22nd Regiment. The quarters occupied were those of Bormla Curtain and Polverista. At the Polverista quarters, about one-third of a mile from the former, twenty-two children were affected.

Griffiths Valuation showing McCague Distribution of Surname 1848 -1864

Lorna Moloney produces and presents The Genealogy radio show and this airs weekly from wonderful Kilkee at Raidio Corcabaiscinn. Corcabaiscinn is the name for an old tribal region of county Clare. The radio show has over 100 shows podcast and all are available. You can listen to the genealogy radio show on RCB and through the archives which host over 100 shows at Archives of The Genealogy Radio Show. Our research tours and website can be seen at:

Lorna Moloney Lorna is the resident genealogist of Dromoland Castle and Lorna is a professional genealogist, and Document Content Management Specialist. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogist. Lorna is the Resident Genealogist for Dromoland Castle in County Clare. Lorna acted as Project Genealogist for George Boole *200 genealogy project for University College Cork, Sunday Times University of the Year for 2016 & 2017 and runs online classes in Irish genealogy.

Mary McCAGUE is Meghan Markle's Irish connection and we have derived this information from her daughter Hattie BIRDs marriage records in Massachussetts. Always check your certificates and vital info listeners, it can reveal a world on information. The brought us a long way from Mary SMITH whic was originally reported and part of previous family history research to Knowing she was in fact Mary McCAGUE http://merrimanresearch.blogspot.ie/2017/12/meghan-markles-irish-ancestry.html

However, as we know in Genealogy, Place is an important factor and on further investigation by genealogy colleagues, the surname McCAGUE can have a different variant so we do need to verify, verify, verify and see what unfolds.

Hattie BIRD was a sister to Mary BIRD, the direct ancestor of Meghan Markle. Hattie was born in 1866 on the Island of Malta to Thomas Bird and Mary McCAGUE. We obtained some of these sources from FINDMYPAST overseas records, an excellent resource.

We know that on arrival to Canada with the regiment, unfortunately Thomas Bird died, leaving Mary McCague his wife now Mary Bird with two small children, Mary, Meghan's great-great- Grandmother and Hattie, her great-great-Aunt . Mary married again and married another soldier William White. They left army life when in Canada and William took up the occupation of shoemaker. Mary and William started another family. .

A death certificate for Mary White who died of pneumonia has been revealed for 28 August 1885 and the death of her son in 1890. Harriet Brid married in 1891 and her mother's name was listed as McCague. Harried stated her mother was born in Northern Ireland on the US census of 1930, all free and valuable sources for family history research.

Adrian Martyn researched the McCAGUE surname and as an expert and writer on the tribes of Galway, Adrian is a thorough researcher and excellent historian.

Mac Tadhg to McCague

Adrian Martyn, 14 December 2017.

In County Galway, McCague is one of a number of Anglicised renderings of the Gaelic-Irish surname, Mac Taidhg. In the Tithe Applotment books of the 1820s and 1830s, and Griffith’s Evaluations of 1847-64, the forms M’Caig, M’Caigue, M’Kaigue, M’Keage, M’Keague, M’Keige, M’Keigue, M'Teague, M'Teigh, M'Tiegue, M'Tighe, M'Tigue, are all recorded. The breakdown per barony during 1847-64 in County Galway is as follows:

M'Caig - four households in Clonmacnowen barony.

M'Caigue - six households in Ballymoe barony.

M'Keage - one household in Kiltartan barony.

M'Keague - one household in Killian barony.

M'Keige - one household in Kilconnell barony.

M'Keigue - two households in Kilconnell and Longford baronies each (Anon, 1964).

The forms M'Teague, M'Teigh, M'Tiegue, M'Tighe, M'Tigue, were in quite low numbers, never more in number than the four M'Tigue households recorded in Dunkellin barony.

Ten Tighe housholds are recorded during 1847-64 in the barony of Ballymoe, with two in Clare, one each in Dunmore, Tiaquin, and Killian; two Tigue households were recorded in Ballymoe (Anon, 1978, p. 80). Many de-prefixed Tighes are descended from bearers of the surname Ó Taidhg an Teaghlaigh, a sept of the vast Siol Muiredaigh lineage, and thus will not be covered here.

The Mac Taidhg lineage were a sept of the Ui Cheallaigh kings of Uí Mhaine. Their ancestor was Tadhg Fionn Ua Cellaigh of Magh Rúscach, one of six sons of King Domhnall Mor Ua Cellaigh (d. 1221) and Dubh Cabhlaigh daughter of King Domhnall Mor Ua Brian of Thomond (d. 1194). Tadhg Fionn Ua Cellaigh’s sons were Cathal, Tomaltach, Diarmuid, were known as the Clann Taidhg (‘Tadhg’s family’). Before the end of the 13th century adopted the surname Mac Tadhg. Leabhar Ua Maine, compiled in the 1390s, listed some five generations of the sept down to the time of its compilation.

Of his brothers – most of the subsequent kings of Ui Mhaine descended from Tadhg’s brother, Conchubhar, including the infamous Tadhg Ó Cellaigh, killed in the aftermath of the battle of Athenry in August 1316. His brother Tomás, became Bishop of Clonfert, dying in January 1263. His brothers Eoghan and Lochlainn likewise sired distinct septs of the dynasty, respectively surnamed Mac Eoghain (Keogh) and Mac Lochlainn (McLoughlin).

Tadhg’s aunt was married to William de Burgh (fl. 1185-1206), making his family first cousins to the de Burgh lords of Connacht. Her father was the ancestor of all subsequent Kings and Earls of Thomond. Tadhg’s paternal lineage can be traced back with some confidence to the sixth century. Some of his more notable ancestors included his namesake, Tadhg Mór Ua Cellaigh, killed at the battle of Clontarf on Good Friday, 23 April 1014. The victor was his maternal ancestor, Brian Boru, King of Ireland.

Family tree

Adrian Martyn (2017)

|Tadhg’s descendants were listed in Leabhar Ua Maine, compiled in the mid-1390s. However, the lineage were little noted after that point, and do not seem to be listed in the annals. Nor do they seem to have been listed in The Compossicion Booke of Connacht of 1585. Tadh’s estate of Magh Rúscach was identified by John O’Donovan in 1843 as Rooscagh in the Fews of Athlone, Co. Roscommon (1843, p. 188).

Bearers of the surname are infrequently noted in subsequent centuries. “John Tayg” witnessed a deed at Galway dated 31 October 1502 (Blake, 1902, p. 51). The Dublin Evening Post of 15 August 1797 reported the marriage of “Mr. Tighe, of the county of Galway, to the agreeable Miss Dunn, of Grafton-street”, Dublin. Twenty-one year old Catherine McTegue of Co. Galway emigrated to Australia in 1853 from Liverpool where her mother, Bridget, then resided; her father, Thomas, was dead (GEI).


Anon, An Index of Surnames of Householders in Griffith's Primary Valuation and Tithe Applotment Books Co. Galway, National Library of Ireland, 1964.

Anon, Index of Surnames of Householders in Griffith's Valuation and Tithe Applotment Books County Galway, Irish Microforms Ltd., 1978.

-Blake Family Records 1300 to 1600: A Chronological Catalogue with copious Notes and Genealogies of many branches of the Blake Family, London, 1902.

Mac Giolla Choille, Brendán, Books of Survey and Distribution being abstracts of various surverys and instruments of title, 1636-1703, vol. III County of Galway, Irish Manuscript Commission, Dublin, 1962.

Nicholls, Kenneth, The Irish Fiants of the Tudor sovereigns during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Phillip & Mary, and Elizabeth I, Dublin, 1994.

O’Donovan, John, The Tribes and Customs of Hy-Many, commonly called O’Kelly’s Country, Dublin, 1843.

Ó Muraíle, Nollaig, “The Ó Ceallaigh Rulers of Uí Mhaine – A Genealogical Fragment, c. 1400”, parts one JGAHS 60, 2008; part two JGAHS 62, 2010.

Galway Emigrant Index 1828-1866, accessed Wednesday 7 June 2017 at 6.32 p.m. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~maddenps/GALWAYEM.htm

On 3 July cholera struck Malta; it lasted till 12 November 1865. This may be why there seems to be just two siblings of the Bird family. It is possible that Thomas and Mary lost children. The epidemic spread to the 1st/22nd on 28 July, when a soldier fell sick and died in the regimental hospital on 29 July. A hospital marquee was pitched on the neighbouring bastion and special nurses were engaged to nurse the sick.

Interestingly this regiment end up back in Cork in 1869, 23 Mar 1866 The 1st/22nd (Cheshire) was relieved by the 1st/60th Regiment. It embarked for New Brunswick where it arrived on 18 April 1866. The 1st/22nd remained in Canada until 28 May 1869, when it moved to Cork, Ireland. We could therefore look for more children born to Thomas BIRD and Mary McCAGUE between 1869 - 1881 or look for the death record and military record of Thomas BIRD, discharge etc.

Adrian Martyn' s research on the McCAGUE surname formed part of our radio show.

Waitbutwhy.com tree showing great-great-great-great-great Grandparents.

The tree by waitbutwhy also shows how many great-great-great-great-great Grandparents we have, 128 in a relatively short space of time. This is where what we need to remember when we are looking at DNA results and our matches and it also shows that you would have a lot of locations to research for Irish family History research.

Lorna Moloney Lorna is the resident genealogist of Dromoland Castle and Lorna is a professional genealogist, and Document Content Management Specialist. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogist and the Society of Genealogists UK. Lorna is the Resident Genealogist for Dromoland Castle in County Clare. Lorna acted as Project Genealogist for George Boole *200 genealogy project for University College Cork, Sunday Times University of the Year for 2016 & 2017.

Lorna produces and presents the successful show: 'The Genealogy Radio show' aired each thursday at 4p.m. from beautiful Kilkee, Co. Clare at Raidio Corcabaiscinn and Podcasts are available at http://www.clansandsurnames.com/the-genealogy-radio-show/. Series 6is titled: Clans and Surnames of Ireland.

Lorna is the Resident Genealogist of Dromoland Castle in County Clare and academic profile can viewed at http://nuigalway.academia.edu/LornaMoloney . She has delivered conference papers at Oxford; Lincoln College: Exploration of the Medieval Gaelic Diet: (2012); seminar papers at the Moore Institute in NUI Galway, 'The Gaelic Lordships in Thomond, c. 1400-c.1500' and papers at Irish Conference of Medievalists on themes of Brian Boru and landscape of East Clare. Lorna has published on medieval themes and on maritime subjects. Lorna received her Certificate for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy (CAFG) in Dallas in March 2015. Her work and presentations can be viewed at academia,edu.

Our show airs from Raidio Corcabascinn in beautiful Kilkee, Co. Clare which is dedicated to community empowerment

Community radio, educational disadvantage and supporting the community. There is a great team behind the show, Steven Baddy, Mike Curran, Sadhb Smyth, to name just a few. It is produced and presented by Lorna Moloney. Lorna is a professional genealogist and historian.

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Our recommendations include books, website, sources and resources and we do hope you will check them out at www.lornamoloney.com and www.clansandsurnames.com

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