Origin stories.

There are plenty of stories about the origin of the “Bodkin” name. My favorite comes from James Hardiman’s History of Galway, published in 1820.

The Bodkins of Galway, and the Earls of Desmond and Kildare, were descended from the common ancestor, Maurice Fitzgerald, Lord of Windsor, and one of the first invaders of Ireland, under Strongbow. His son, Thomas FitzMaurice, acquired ample possessions in Munster, where his descendants became Earls of Desmond. Richard, the son of Thomas, about the year 1242, held considerable properties in Connaught, under Richard de Burgo, and Thomas, his son, was the ancestor of the Bodkin family. This family name originated, according to tradition, from a victory gained by their great progenitor, Thomas Fitz Richard (about the year 1300,) over a valiant Irish knight, whom he encountered in single combat, and having, in the conflict, made use of a short spear or weapon, in Irish called, a Baudekin, he was, from that circumstance, surnamed, Buaidh Baudekin, of the victory of the Bodkin, which name was afterwards retained by his descendants. Whatever doubt may attend this traditionary relation, none can exist as to the origin and descent of the family, which are fully ascertained by the testimony of antiquaries, by ancient stone sculptures and monuments, still remaining, and from the genealogies of the Geraldines, whose arms the Bodkin family bore for many generations, and whose motto, Crom aboo, they retain to this day.

Arms. Ermine, on a saltire, gules, a leopard’s face, or. Crest. A leopard’s face, or. Motto. Crom aboo.

5 Comments

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5 Responses to Origin stories.

  1. David Bodkin

    Best of luck with this!!

  2. Joe Bodkin

    My question concerns the clan motto, Crom aboo.
    How is it translated?
    My father, a bit of a drinker in his time, said the family motto was
    Death before dishonor, and in fact said that occasionally, raised glass
    in hand.

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