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by Dr. Brian S. Turner
"It has been argued elsewhere that intensive study of the contemporary surname pattern may throw light on a past about which written history has little to say, or may indicate new directions and raise new questions to be examined in the light of old evidence.
It is not the present intention to illustrate such an intensive study but merely to draw attention, using Fermanagh as an example, to the type of simple observation which can serve as a starting point for much more detailed study in which family names can be an important element."
This article looks at how settler names can be an important element in the study of the past - they can indicate new directions to follow or new questions to be answered.