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About the study

I started researching my family tree a few years ago and my interest in a one name study grew from this research. My one name study is on my family name Cass originally from the parish of Thurles North Tipperary. The name is is relatively uncommon in Ireland and is mainly found in Kilkenny Laois and Tipperary.

Variant names

Cais, Case, Cash, Casse

Name origin

The internet gives various origins to this surname. According to the Internet Surname Database, the surname Cass, Casse and in Dublin Cash is a group of surnames which derive from the female personal name Cass – a short form of Cassandra which was introduced into Britain around the time of the Crusades This was the name of an ill-fated Trojan prophetess of classical legend, who was condemned to foretell the future but never to be believed The name is also a metronymic in northern England and Scotland, which is so say that it derives from the mothers name, rather than the fathers.

The website Forbears also gives the same definition and that it is the 23,900th most common surname in the world  and there are  approximately 21,503 people  who bear this surname. The surname is most prevalent in the United States and the highest density is England .

The origins of the surname according to Arthur, William  in his book “An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names” published in 1857,  the  origin is “Gaelic.) Cas, a verb, to turn against, to thwart, oppose; a difficulty, a trying situation, a cause. Cas, a castle, the primary sense is to separate, drive off, or hate; the radical sense of hatred is driving off.”

According to the British surname database, There are approximately 4,511people named Cass in the UK. That makes it the 2,333rd most common surname overall. Out of every million people in the UK, approximately 71 are named Cass.


Historical occurrences of the name

The earliest reference to the name in England is  William Cass in the Essex county pipe rolls in 1200. Other recordings include Elyzabeth Casye, who married William Kendricke at St Dionis Backchurch, London, on August 27th 1564, whilst John Cass of Dalkeith, Scotland was summoned before the Privy Council for Scotland in 1566. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Cass,which was dated 1130, in the Registrum de Dunfermelyn, during the reign of King David 1st of Scotland”, 1124 – 1153.


Name frequency

in the 1901 Irish census there are only 184 individuals listed with the name Cass and in the 1911 census there are 186 listed with the surname

Distribution of the name

The break down for those 186 people in the 1911 census with the name Cass shows that they were living in 12 of the 32 counties. The highest number was found in Kilkenny (95) followed by Queen's County (28) and Dublin (22) and Tipperary (22)Cass in 1911 census According to the website, it is the 23,900th most common surname in the world. The top countries are USA, England, South Africa and Australia. The surname distribution for England is mainly centred in York


This project is only at a very early stage. I have collected the data from 1901, 1911 Irish censuses, Tithe Appplotment Books (1828-1838),the BMD data for Ireland (1864-1958). I hope to collect pre registration records next month when the the National Library of Ireland release the online church records I have completed the data collection in respect of Griffiths Valuation records and will now collect necessary information in respect of UK records ie census and BMD