Though I love my maiden name -- McIlree -- it often times bugged the crap out of me. Why? Because it was so weird to spell. Mc or Mac? Il or El? "How do you pronounce it?"
When I married in 1998, I was certain I was going to keep my maiden name -- I was really proud of it. But I was tired of spelling it, so I took my husband's name -- Noble. Now I get, "Is it spelled N-o-b-e-l or N-o-b-l-e?"
But back to what I promised yesterday. I was raised thinking that my family was of Scottish descent (moved to Ireland and then to the U.S.) and our surname was originally spelled "MacIlree."
Wrong. My younger brother, Andrew McIlree, has done extensive research on our family, and we are actually Irish. What little research I have done indicated the name means "son of the redhaired lad." If my brother and his wife have a son someday, then maybe it's true -- as Andrew is a redhead. It's the 692,573rd most common surname in the world and about 287 people bear this surname.
I was always told the name meant "royalty." Not sure the back story on that. As we've never been invited to royal weddings and all that, I'm thinking some relative made it up.
In Northern Ireland, it must have some history and here's why I think that. I've been to the U.K on several occasions prior to my marriage -- and EVERY time I left London to fly home, I was pulled over in security and everything...and I mean EVERYTHING...was searched. They even went through every page of whatever book I brought with me to read on the plane. I damn near missed both flights home!
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when my brother and his wife were returning from their delayed honeymoon to Northern Ireland. Good thing I told Andrew about my experiences, because he went through the exact same thing leaving Ireland to come home. His wife did not, as she kept her maiden name -- Quinn.
So, instead of meaning "royalty," I'm thinking it has a rather negative meaning in the U.K. When I find out exactly what, I'll write about it.