If you are researching men religious in your family, then you understand just how important these personalities are in your genealogy. A brother of your ancestor who became a Roman Catholic priest or brother may have had an excellent education, may have been well travelled, could have authored books, and most importantly, left a paper trail behind.
Naturally, a main purpose for researching and reconstructing these lives of these men would be to see if there is a record stating where in Ireland he was born. My research philosophy is that if you find men religious in the family, then stop all your research and concentrate on that one individual.
One record in which you begin to reconstruct all the facts is obituaries of an immigrant priest or brother. Even if an obituary does not provide a place of birth, then there are clues which will eventually lead you there. After his name will be some letters, which if you’re unaware, signify the religious order he belonged. This is your key! It’s within the order records that birth places and additional biographical material can be found.
However, those letters, can be baffling, especially if you’re unfamiliar with Roman Catholic orders. I am providing the main ones in Ireland where Irish men belonged. I’m drawing my source material from the excellent article by Kyle J. Betit “Priests, Nuns and Brothers in Ireland “ The Irish At Home and Abroad 5, #2 (1998): 70-76. Although parts are dated, I would recommend getting a copy of the entire article. Here’s his listing, which will open up records for you, if your relative studied with a religious order in Ireland prior to 1920:
CFC: Congregation of Christian Brothers (of Ireland)
CM: Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians)
CP: Congregation of the Passion (Passionists)
C.S.Sp: Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost) Congregation
C.SS.R: Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists)
FPM: Presentation Brothers
FSC: Brothers of the Christian Schools (De La Salle Brothers)
FSP: Congregation of the Brothers of St. Patrick (Patrician Brothers)
IC (prev. OC): Institute of Charity (Rosminians) (prev. Order of Charity)
O.Carm (prev. OCC): Order of Carmelites (of the Ancient Observance, prev. Calced Carmelites)
OCD: Order of Discalced Carmelites
OCSO (prev. Cist.): Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance (Trappists)
OFM (OSF until 1897): Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans)
OFM.Cap (prev. OSFC): Capuchin Friars
OFM.Conv: Conventual Franciscans
OH: Hospitaller Brothers of the Order of St. John of God (St John of God Brothers)
OMI: Oblates of Mary Immaculate
OP: Order of Preachers (Dominicans)
OSA: Order of St. Augustine (Augustinians)
OSB: Order of St. Benedict (Benedictine Monks)
OSF: Brothers of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis (Franciscan Brothers)
SJ: Society of Jesus (Jesuits)
SM: Society of Mary (Marists)
SMA (prev. AM): Society of African Missions
Once you have identified the Religious Order, then search the Internet for a website, or contact the Central Catholic Library in Dublin: www.catholiclibrary.ie
Tomorrow, I will be discussing the abbreviations used for Women Religious in Ireland.