Leabhar Dearg an Fheiritearaigh

Posted by Seoirse on 8/11/2010 in Family Legends | Genaology

Anyone reading this who might also read the occasional news update on Facebook's "The Great Ferriter Family" may recognize that work has commenced on compiling a "Red Book of the Ferriters" (Leabhar Deargh an Fheiritearaigh). Such a document would be a comprehensive family history, genealogy, reference and register.


The idea of such a book extends directly from the Irish, who kept such compilations within their septs, to chronicle and document the family history. These were not usually single volumes, but in some cases rolls of parchment, bound books, loose documents, all taken together and considered as one thing. Most such collections only exist in fragmentary form today, however the “Red Book of Ormond” is a good example. This little essay will serve to make a few comments and to provide an update on that work in progress.

The history of the lifetimes of the Ferriters of Kerry is bounded, finite, and at least partially visible, all the way to earliest times in Ireland. Before that, the history seems mightily obscured, and aside from DNA studies, may stay that way. That is not a despairing thought, as the history in hand is deep and rich, and embracing it via An Leabhar Deargh promises to produce something of lasting value for everyone within the family, and of some interest to many others. We have 800 years of time, spanning something like 25 generations.

Across this breadth of years, we have many individuals to recognize, many events of individuals lives, and many events of a broader historical context. There are the people - who they were, what they did, what their lives were like…images in time, painted on the tapestry of the context of the history within and upon which they lived. To keep those who have gone before us in our minds must be understood to be a principal purpose of this book.

An initial focus has been upon the early years - the first 350 years in Ireland, beginning about the year 1220. Some of this - names of individuals, and individual activities - resides in concrete terms within the historical record. Effort is also underway to illuminate the historical stage of Ossurys Cantred in Corca Dhubhine barony, (the western and southern portions of the Dingle Peninsula) – upon which most of the story acts out. In every case where individual action or activity is on record, the surrounding events and circumstances must also be unveiled, lest some key aspect of the individual's role be misunderstood, or a key element lost. What you would see here is the difference between motionless stick figures (the citation on the record) and three dimensional animation (the citation placed within the correct historical context).

Here are some aspects of:

The Red Book of The Ferriters

Documents to be pulled together, stories identified, and tales to be written down:

The first arrivals: The stories of Richard le Fureter, Walter le Fureter, their arrival in Ireland and the early le Fereters in Kerry - Walter, Martin, and the two Phillips – early Norman settlers, given land in Ossurys Cantred.

Nicholas Fereter, manucaptor: The story of a Fereter man who lived c1320 – 1400, who was a cattle raider, local notable, and Family Chief. This man probably served the Earl of Desmond as a soldier, in terms of scutage/knights service, and kept company with the Knight of Kerry, Richard FitzMaurice.

The Century of the Nicholas’: 1450 – 1550, In the service of Lord FitzGerald, or How the Ferriters became fully Irish.

The Wars of the Geraldines, 1565 – 1603, and the reduction of the Ferriter Family.

Piaras: Historical Summary: Just the facts, and there are plenty of them

Dominick: Tales of a Feiritear Man who lived over three hundred years ago.

Lucas na Srianta: The lineal patriarch. Turning the light, (however dim) on a man at the advent of the Protestant Ascendancy

A compendium of Ferriters: c1700 – 1900:

To name a few: Nicholas Feriter, ropemaker c1750 -1780, Nicholas Ferriter, ship’s captain c1750, Maurice Ferriter, medical patient, c1760, Edward Spaight Ferriter, Estate owner, Kappa Lodge, Clare, c1800, John Steven Ferriter, R.N., Naval Officer, Australian Pioneer, c1830 – 1870, Maurice Ferriter, “The Professor” Immigrant to Indiana, c1835 – Mathematics Professor at Notre Dame, Luke Ferriter, Vermont lad in the Civil War c1860, John H. Feriter, SC politician, carpetbagger, racist, c1865 – 1880, Bad Boy John, a Sad Tale of Delinquent Youth, c1890. Padraig Feiritear, Manuscript Collector, Archivist, writer, Irish Land Rebel, c1880 – 1924.

Of course, this list is not fixed, and also it is well understood that the individual lines have great stories close to the heart, involving great events, trials, tribulations, and great deeds – all pertaining to people of the respective lines. These all should be told, and the data recorded, lines of information exchange established, and all of this information connected to electronically, or physically pulled into the great book, The Red Book of the Ferriters.


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Know Your Ancestors

Agnes Theresa Ferriter

photo b. 1876
d. February 22, 1958

Agnes Theresa 'J' Ferriter was the twelfth child born to Nicholas and Mary Ann (Sullivan) Ferriter, Irish immigrants to America from the Dingle Peninsula area in Ireland.  Agnes was born when the family was living in Barclay Village, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.  Her father, Nicholas, and some of her brothers were working in the coal mines.  The family had moved around since their immigration looking for better jobs over the years.  Four of the twelve children born to Nicholas and Mary had not survived early childhood.  But, by this time, there were a number of young working adults in the family. Her family eventually moved back... Read More