Aiken (also Aitken, Eakin, Eakins)


In Ireland common only in Ulster, Aiken is of Scottish origin.  It is the Scottish form of the English name Atkin, which comes from Adkin, a pet form of Adam.  The name was very common in the parish of Ballantrae in Ayrshire and many of our Aikens may stem from there.  There are many variant spellings.  It was recorded as being used interchangeably with Eakins in Belfast, Ekin in counties Derry and Donegal, Ekin in Co. Donegal and Egan in Co. Down.  Some of the Irish sept of O'Hagan (see O'Hagan) may have further anglicised their name to Aiken.

In Co. Antrim, where it is most popular, it was found to be most concentrated in the area northwest of Ballymena in the mid-nineteenth century.

Dr. Joseph Aiken published a contemporary account of the Siege of Derry in verse entitled Londerias, or, a narrative of the siege of Londonderry (1699).

 

GLOSSARY

Clan From the Gaelic clann which means literally 'children'.
Mac- From the Gaelic mac, meaning 'son'
O' From the Gaelic , meaning 'grandson', 'grandchild' or 'descendant'; N is the femine form of , meaning 'daughter' or 'descendant'
Plantation (Ulster) The redistribution of escheated lands after the defeat of the Ulster Gaelic lords and the 'Flight of the Earls' in 1607.  Only counties Donegal, Derry, Tyrone, Armagh, Fermanagh and Cavan were actually 'planted', portions of land there being distributed to English and Scottish families on their lands and for the building of bawns.
Sept A family group of shared ancestry living in the same locality
Undertakers Powerful English or Scottish landowners who undertook the plantation of British settlers on the lands they were granted.
Gaelic This word in Ireland has no relation to Scotland.  As a noun it is used to denote the Irish language, as an adjective to denote native Irish as opposed to Norman or English origin.
Erenagh From the Irish Gaelic airchinneach, meaning 'hereditary steward of church lands'.  A family would hold the ecclesiastical office and the right to the church or monastery lands, the incumbent at any one time being the erenagh.