March 15, 1996
Delighted to discover your site which Diane Loftus-Condrey, whom I contacted via soc.Genealogy.surnames, pointed me at.
Here are a few comments which I hope everybody will find useful:
1) First about me. My name is Peter Loftus. I am a retired aero-space engineer who still teaches Maths and Computer Science, part time at our local grammar school. I am an amateur genealogist and a swimming coach and I have all sorts of minor interests including looking after a 30ft canal boat on our local river.
I was born in London, went to university in Dublin (Trinity College) and worked mainly in Chshire and Kent where I now live - in the cathedral city of Rochester.
2) My father was Jack Loftus,(1898 - 1963) a medical practitioner from Castlerea in Co. Roscommon. He was the only married son of Thomas Loftus (1857 - 1925) who ran a pub and general store in the town. The building is still there but it is now a shoe shop!. He married a lady called Winifred Fannon (1855 -1930). In spite of hours of research in the National Library, the National Archive and the General register Office in Dublin I have not been able to find any trace of any siblings of either of them. The Census returns say that he was born in Galway and she in Roscommon. I remember talk of cousins of my father's but I've not been able to locate them yet. One of them married a man called Hession who lived in Co. Mayo. but whether she was a Loftus or a Fannon I have no idea. My father also spoke of a mysterious “Aunt B in America” but againI don't know from which side of the family she came.
I had a brother Kevin Loftus who lived for many years in Johannesburg S. Africa. He had two sons Brendan and John and a daughter Siobhan. Only John is married and has no children. Brendan and Siobhan live in England now. I have two sons Adam and Timothy and two daughters, both married. One of my sons is also married and has a son Johnathon. There are nearly 200 names in my family database but only 15 of them were born Loftuses.
3) My father always claimed that the Irish version of our name was O'Locnon but I think that he was guessing. Loftus is not a very common name in England. Of the approximately 20,000 entries in our local telephone directory there are nine Loftuses.
4) I was interested in Beth Smarr's list of the descendants of Edward Loftus of Swineshead (sic) in Yorkshire. Have you managed to sort out the actual tree from all this data? I tried but it is difficult, particularly because of the repetition of Christian names, Adam, Dudley and Nicholas. It's worth having a look at the entry in Burke's peerage. The important fact is that Edward Loftus' son Adam was the first protestant Archbishop of Dublin, Lord High Chancellor of Ireland and first Provost and founder of Trinity College, University of Dublin. In the metophoric sense he was indeed the architect of the college but not in the sense that Barbara Loftus suggests, that he designed the buildings. His nephew, another Adam, who also became Chancellor of Ireland was created Viscount Ely of Kings Co. (Offally). This peerage became extinct twice during the the ensuing centuries but was recreated, eventually for a man, Charles Tottenham who was married to a Loftus but assumed his wife's name. The current Earl, who is a direct descendant lives in Canada. The family seats were Rathfarnham Castle near Dublin and Loftus Hall in Wexford (the latter up to the beginning of the nineteenth Century at least; I hope that Mascha Voorham will be able to throw some light on this after his visit to Ireland in April).
5) Generally Loftuses who are Protestant are descended from this family but elsewhere in Ireland it is a Catholic name and probably an anglicisation as Barbara Loftus has suggested. The Irish names were very difficult for clerks and officials in Ireland during the 16th to 19th Centuries, who were generally English, to spell. (Irish is a very difficult language if your mother tongue is English!!)
Hope all this is of interest.