Liam Neeson

Neeson in 2012, photo by PR Photos

Birth Name: Liam John Neeson

Place of Birth: Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Date of Birth: 7 June, 1952

Ethnicity: Irish

Liam Neeson is an Irish actor. He was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, to Kitty (Brown) and Barney Neeson, and was raised Catholic. Liam was married to actress Natasha Richardson, until her death. The couple has two children, including actor Micheál Richardson (Michael Neeson).

Liam has become a U.S. citizen.

Liam’s paternal grandfather was Bernard “Barney” Neeson (the son of John Neeson and Mary Hughes). John was the son of John Neeson and Mary Anne McCahill. Liam’s great-grandmother Mary Hughes was the daughter of John Hughes.

Liam’s paternal grandmother was named Matilda “Tillie” Gibson (the daughter of James Gibson).

Sources: Genealogy of Liam Neeson (focusing on his father’s side) –

Birth record of Liam’s paternal grandfather, Bernard Neeson –

Marriage record of Liam’s paternal great-grandparents, John Neeson and Mary Hughes –

24 Responses

  1. ses101 says:

    Neeson and Gibson are both Scottish names (albeit Neeson has origins from further afield), so I’d be surprised if he is just Irish, especially when he comes from Northern Ireland.

  2. undashing says:

    He looks like Lionel Messi lol.

  3. notional says:

    Neeson is a Scottish surname, how far back did you look?

  4. notional says:

    his eyes are definitely not green

  5. MacKrazy says:

    Worth noting that Neeson is a Scottish name. Many Scots immigrated to the Northern Parts of Ireland over the centuries (Not just protestants during the plantations) so it does seem likely that he has some Scottish roots.

    • Alice says:

      Yes this is true. Many Catholics also have some Scottish ancestry e.g. Gerry Adams. I guess if it is a couple of centuries back many people don’t acknowledge it unless they have some definite connection. Alot of border counties are the same.

      • gel says:

        You don’t know that. Irish names were changed all the time by force or to fit in. Several Irish names were changed to Adams.

        Neeson is the name of an Irish clan.

        • Freerk says:

          But the form of this name it classic Germanic: the ending -son means … “son”, of course ;-) (of Nees; probably a short form of Nikolaus/Nicklas/Nils); the variant “Neessen” is common in the Netherlands. How would you explain a Celtic meaning/etymology?

    • notional says:

      yep, you should change his ethnicity to ‘Ulster Scot’

      • Alice says:

        He would most probably Scottish ancestry but he also has Irish. Liam Neeson is an Irish Catholic.

        • Alice says:

          Pity you can’t edit. He would most probably have Scottish ancestry but most Northern Irish and even those in the neighbouring Irish Republic counties have some distant Scottish ancestry. But is there any evidence that Liam has Scottish ancestry?

      • Alice says:

        He’s would have more Irish ancestry than Scottish so no I don’t agree his ancestry should be changed to Ulster Scot although he would highly likely have some Scots ancestry as well.

        • scott says:

          correction; I’d say hes “Scots-Irish” or “Scots-Irish” since hes from Northern Ireland and Neeson is a Scottish name

          • follers says:

            I can’t find proof that he has Scottish or “Scots-Irish” ancestry, although anything is possible. Rootsweb has 4 Neeson matches listed as born in Scotland, and 40 Neeson matches listed as born in Ireland.

            BTW, Liam Neeson was raised a Catholic, so the term “Scots-Irish”, which referenced Protestant immigrants, wouldn’t apply to him.

          • Alice says:

            Liam Neeson identifies as Irish. Scots-Irish is also an American term for people that came to the US in the 1700s and 1800s. You wouldn’t call a modern person from Ulster even if Protestant Scots-Irish. Liam Neeson is also a Catholic. Gerry Adams has a Scottish origin name but he identifies completely as Irish. There are also Protestants in NI with completely Irish names and Catholics with English and Scottish names. Some Irish names were also anglicised.

      • M-oneill-14 says:

        I live in N.Ireland and most of the Neesons are Roman Catholics, it is said the name came from the Gaelic McNeese or McNeise, it is just like how Neilson comes from O’Neill. This Neeson name could have came from the pre plantation gallowglasses or even the more recent Scottish Highland clearances, the term ‘Ulster-Scot’ is only ever used to describe an Ulster unionist, Liam is certainly not part of the Ulster unionist community.
        I am new to this site and don’t particularly understand it, his great-grandfather could have had a French surname for all anyone knows.

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