The Cremean Family Journey, From Ireland to Appalachia

By Riocard O'Cruimin

Cremeans family history is an interesting one to say the least: Our forefathers hailed from southern Ireland, where the Cremeans and its variants came into being in the late 14th century as a major second branch of the MacCarthy Reagh lineage. Its territories stretched from the counties of Kerry to its final home in the Barony of Carbery in an area called Duhallow, and it was with in this area where the Cremeans flourished and exited Ireland. The Cremeans sept was named after the daughter of O'Cruimin which was extant at that time, coming from a marriage to Donal Glas MacCarthy Reagh. The birth of the offspring by his son or brother started the Cremeans sept in July 1425.

During this time Ireland was a strife with the imposing British encroachment into Gaelic Ireland mostly Gaelic Roman Catholic Cremeans or as it was known MacCarthy Cremeen Sept ,fought very hard for its freedom to live in the southern Ireland, Then in the year 1641 Oliver Cromwell brought a regiment of foot and calvary to northern cork and small and large scale battles where fought here.

There are many accounts of the atrocities by British troops over 1.3 Million Irish where killed during Oliver Cromwell's campaign in Northern Cork, Even though the Irish fought very hard they paid dearly for opposing the English Crown., the war only lasted about 3 years but Oliver Cromwell set up laws governing the sale and deportation of Irish Nationals mostly rebels and prisoners this lasted from 1641 to 1720. It was this time males the age of 17-60 years of age was deported to colonial American now under the hands of British rule most went to the Carribean Barbados  but many more where sent to the colonies in Virginia and in Maryland. these at this time where Tobbaco plantations and the British used the terms Indentured servant as a cleaned up version of slaves and this Is where Our Founding father of the Cremeans deported to. He was born in the town of Glantane,Cork Ireland in 1650 or about this time. He was one of about 10 siblings as far research goes it is likely many also came to the Americas there after in the periods of 1677 through about 1830 with the bulk of the family after residing in London's Irish community arriving here ,a few family came afterwards.

After the revolutionary war many Cremeans moved west from Maryland into the Appalachian mountains, for the coastal areas where becoming too crowded and there was not any land to be had for the new generations of Cremeans so they moved, into Pennsylvania,Virginia and a part of Virginia which is called West Virginia now.

Many came in wagons and on horseback or just walked it is here they set up their living many farmers or tradesmen or fur traders that traded with the areas Indian tribes this is where many became interbred with native women this is why many tribes at this time had offspring that had Irish genetics it was vital for survival of the families to trade this way ,the only way a tribe would trade with you was ,if you where a member within its ranks. And this was done by marriage into the tribe.

But as the Cremeans prospered in the Appalachia's ,so did the new United States is was seeing a movement westward of many peoples and the Cremeans grew in numbers and size being of Gaelic Irish heritage many knew the hardship faced in living in the wilderness of Appalachia .They had many other things to worry about other than when who was born or where and this is a problem when it comes to searching for Cremeans genealogy.

So why did they not keep good records or even not at all,well frankly they were busy fighting Indians,farming,and trying to starve off disease and many other things so many genealogical aspects just never where kept. And here is where many get frustrated with the Cremeans lineage research, and one has to remember that in the mid to late 1800's as many as 20 Cremeans brother,sons,uncles,cousins where off fighting the American Civil war and after the end of hostilities ,many moved into the Ohio/Kentucky valley from the hills and hollers of West Virginia.

Many at this time where still too busy to concern themselves with keeping track of their heritage many just didn't feel comfortable or safe and still had resentment over the British troubles in the 16th and as late as the end of the 17th Century. Many at this time just didn't know anything of their ansceteral genealogy. It was a well kept secret by the Cremeans forefathers and it was done to protect the whole family from more British encroachments and the deepness of resentment was still in the older generations of Cremeans and this is why we where told by our folks that we where many things other than what we really where and that is Southern Irish.

Our real surname was MacCarthy and this is where MacCarthy Cremeen came from but when Oliver Cromwell campaigned in southern Ireland it change our family forever when John Cremeen/Cremin left Cork Ireland some say he paid for his passage but a 17 year old boy could not of afforded this passage and the ship he came upon has no record of being a famine ship but it was also a deportation ship and after the October 1677 mooring in Taylors Island there is no longer a recorded history of the Crown Malingo or of its captain,but it one was to search Captain John Taylor you will find he is a British Naval Captain with ties to a few plantation owners .

And this is where, John would of been an so called indentured servant but his records still list him on ships list at time of his death with this it would mean ,his indenture was not just 6-8 years it was his whole life here in the colonies. It was not till his offspring that the had any sort of land to own, and his marriage to the Maces which stem from English peerage her Grandfather here in Maryland was also a plantation owner before the death of John Cremeen in July of 1713.

Whats in the name and why so many variants well  the 16th century for the Irish it was rough especially Irish Gaelic landed gentry,when many Irish where captured they only used their secondary names when giving their name ,especially if they where in prosecution for crimes against England,ie rebels.

So many just dropped the Sept/Clan names for the secondary family name which was Cremeen, and the MacCarthy was completely sublated all together,and Cremeen became the surname there after the various english deportation officials, had no knowledge of the Irish language .So many of them spelled it ,as is sounded and this is where so many variants exists in today's world.

Views: 1104

Tags: Cremeans, Cremeen, Family History,, Maryland, genealogy

Comment by Cristina kyung Radaelli lee on March 26, 2013 at 11:24am

Thank for your work. it's wonderful to go back finding family history.

 2 qestons. what's different between irish nd gaelic irish? was ireland divided by Comwel?

sorry for my igrorance. I didn't have chance o study it.I know a little through the movies and news on about poitic situation.

Comment by Cristina kyung Radaelli lee on March 26, 2013 at 11:28am

Cromwell. taping mistake.

Comment by Séamus Ó Dubsláine on March 26, 2013 at 4:59pm
Comment by Riocard Ó Cruimín on March 26, 2013 at 5:53pm

I am currently learning Irish and gaining new words and learning the sound more and more but my country accent has really given me a hard time with it so I call it Appalachian Irish lol,I am trying to nail down the Munster dialect but because I have such a strong Kentucky accent it sounds funny but I am getting it

Comment by Riocard Ó Cruimín on March 26, 2013 at 5:59pm

No worries Cristina I am still learning Irish history is not an easy thing to get I am still learning everyday

Comment by Cristina kyung Radaelli lee on March 27, 2013 at 6:47am
Thank for seamus, I know more irish history than before.. cana etas tu? (If I remember well) it seems like spanish ( come estas tu)
As I am trsnslator, I am curious about language.
Comment by Bit Devine on March 27, 2013 at 10:14am

Conas ata tu...  I smiled because that is how I remember equating it to Como estas tu, Cristina

In my family we are a melting pot of languages...all of my life I grew up with Irish and Spanish spoken...THrough my irst husband, I learned Cherokee...and in high school and college, I studied American Sign Language

The issue that I have with I relearn it in my adult years... is that pretty much nothing sounds the way it looks...also, as in any language...with each region, the dialect and meanings may or may not stay the same...I used my pidgin Irish in conversation with a friend on Inis Mor...they told me that even if they hadn't know my Armagh roots, my Irish would have pegged me as a child of the North

Founding Member
Comment by Maryann Tracy on March 27, 2013 at 11:35am

Hi Richard,

THe Wild Geese would like to work with you on possibly turning your work into a multi-part feature. We find your work interesting and compelling. Please let me know if  you would  like to pursue this avenue by e-mailing me at



Comment by Cristina kyung Radaelli lee on March 27, 2013 at 1:57pm
Hi Devine Conas ata tu? I am also smiling. Because of irish music I was ended here.and I am knowing about your history. I live where speaks french with Italian husband , more I am Korean. Now I pretend to say irish. Just one pherase.You can imagine how I am in complicated situation. But thank for languages I can meet you and your history.its amazing. Now I feel more free.
Comment by Riocard Ó Cruimín on March 27, 2013 at 8:32pm


 Thank you so very much, and very pleased you enjoy my work and it is amazing how language can bring people together even if they can not speak eachothers own language. I am deeply humbled by your praise and very greatful for you kind words I am glad I made you feel good,especially free!


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