Christmas genealogy is one of the top sites for Irish ancestral research. It contains the historic civil records for Ireland (with data protection limits in place). I use it daily in my work. You can search by a full name or just a first name or surname and also by specific date parameters.

But you can also have fun with it. Births from 1900 to 1918 are given with exact birthdays. I thought it would be interesting to see how many Noels have December birthdays in that period. Have a look at the table below, where we see that Noel increased in popularity as a name throughout the period. By contrast, the feminine version, Noelle, has just 7 instances for the whole 18 years. There were, of course, plenty of Carols and Ivys, but they were more equally spread across the year! Just one single Holly for the period born in an unseasonable September.


The most famous Irish Noel was Noel Browne TD, who was Minister for Health from 1948-1951, and perhaps one of the most interesting politicians to never become Taoiseach. He was born on 20th December 1915 to Joseph Browne and Mary Theresa Cooney on Bath St in Waterford. He was the only member of the Cabinet to attend the first President of Ireland‘s State funeral. Such was the sectarian nature of Ireland at the time that the rest of the government (all Catholics) felt they could not enter a Protestant church & just stood outside. Later, his progressive Mother & Child Scheme effectively brought down the government in 1951.

Happy Christmas to all my readers!