The origins of the Cartin surname can be traced back to 446 AD when it was referred to in the Annals of Ulster (1). Cartins, Cartons etc. were part of the clan or tribe of people known as the Ui Mhic Carthainn and they have been around the river Foyle ever since, mostly on it’s east bank.
The surnames Carton, Cartan, Carten etc. are derived from the original sept name Ui Mhic Carthainn and will have connections with the area around the river Foyle. These surnames have been interchangeable in the past: even fathers and sons using different variations.
This document uses the surname Cartin as shorthand for all the names derived from Ui Meic Carthainn i.e. Carton, Carten, Cartan, Cartin, O’Cartin, O’Carton, O’Carten, O'Cartan and Carthainn etc. Some MacCartons, MacCartins and a very small number of MacCartans and McCartneys also have their origins in this sept. Similarly the name Ui Mhic Carthainn will be used to cover all the various renderings of the name in ancient Irish and subsequent translations and versions. This includes for example Ui Meic Cairthinn, the most common alternative spelling.
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