If you were guided to this website because you are interested in genealogy related to the surname Griffin (or Griffith, Griffy, Griffiths etc) and believe you have Irish ancestors — especially from County Kerry, Ireland — or, perhaps, 23andme has assigned you to paternal haplogroup R-S764 — then, you have come to the right place! Make yourself at home here and have a look at the information on offer. Feel free to contact us (Kevin Griffin and Andrew Griffiths) at the e-mail address given at the foot of this page, if you have any questions.
One purpose of this site is simply to share what we know about the origins and history of the Griffin family of County Kerry, Ireland. Another is to encourage Griffins everywhere to work together to extend our knowledge even further, for example through DNA testing. Details on that will be found in the section on DNA analysis.
The surname “Griffin” is very common in Kerry and neighbouring counties of the Province of Munster. There are notable pockets in Galway and Donegal as well, and isolated occurrences will be found all over the southwestern half of Ireland. As you go further East, “Griffith” becomes more common than “Griffin”, but the two spellings were often interchangeable.
So far, we have identified three distinct Griffin families with Irish roots, but there may well be more. Looking just at the male line, carrying the Griffin name, two of these families (it is tempting to call them clans, but clan members are not necessarily genetically related) came to Ireland from Scotland within the last thousand years, while the third group has been in Ireland longer than that. There must also be Griffins and Griffiths living in Ireland, whose ancestors came from Wales or England with invading armies, or as settlers, but they are not the primary focus of this website.
The website is divided into sections on the history of the Kerry Griffins, on the origin of the name and on the DNA evidence. This is a living document, so expect additions and corrections to be made as time goes on.