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Our exclusive research into Bram Stoker's family history
Count Dracula is one of the most terrifying figures in popular culture. He first appeared in print in 1897 as the title character in Bram Stoker’s book. Since then his legacy has permeated popular culture.
In the century since its publication, critics have dined out on the blood sucking aristocrat from Transylvania. They have pored over Bram Stoker’s early life and formative experiences to try and explain how this one-time civil servant could have imagined the gothic horror of Dracula. Now, new research by findmypast Ireland has uncovered aspects of Stoker’s family history, previously unknown, which reclaims the story as essentially Irish.
Through painstaking research, we have traced and documented Bram Stoker’s direct descent from Manus O’Donnell, (Manus ‘the Magnificent’ d 1563) one of the most famous men in early Irish history. Our research has proven links between the writer’s family, the oldest surviving Irish manuscript in existence, and one of the greatest treasures held in the National Museum of Ireland.Intriguingly, our research also shows that Bram Stoker himself knew of these family connections and was influenced by them when he wrote his best known novel.
Intriguingly, our research also shows that Bram Stoker himself knew of these family connections and was influenced by them when he wrote his best known novel.
We believe that our research will rescue Stoker from his critics, so that Dracula can be read and understood as its author intended. Stoker did not use overtly Irish symbols in Dracula but his main theme is taken from Irish history, recast in the artist’s imagination. The tale of a decayed aristocracy in possession of a great warrior past, the survivors displaced by the passage of history now living in the shadows is the story of Dracula as envisioned by this descendant of Manus O’Donnell.
Through the links below you can view our research and trace Bram Stoker’s family tree all the way back to the 11th century.
More in this series
- Bram's links to the O'Donnells
- Press information
- The Blake-Thornleys
- The family tree of the Blake-Thornleys
- The Psalter of Columbcille
- The Stokers of Dublin