Downey Family History
ancient family history was found in the irishsurnames.com archives.
Surnames developed a wide number of variants over the centuries. Many different spelling variations of the same name can be traced back to a single original root. Also, when a bearer of a name emigrated from Ireland it was not uncommon that their original name would be incorrectly transcribed in the record books upon arrival at their new location. Some names have dozens of spelling variations. Some Surnames were also altered over the years based on how they sounded phonetically, by their sound, and depending on the prevailing political conditions it may have been advantageous to change a name from one language to another. This was especially so in Ireland where most Gaelic names were 'anglicized' at some stage.
Variants of the name Downey
include McEldowney, Doheny and Muldowney. The O'Downeys were of some importance in early mediaeval times when there were two distinct septs of O'Dunadhaigh. Though the prefix O is now quite rare in English in the case of Downey, in the Irish language O'Dunadhaigh is sometimes MacDunadhaigh in County Galway. This, of course, would be anglicized as MacDowney. MacDowney, however, which is actually to be found in Ulster, though a rare name even there, is the anglicized form of quite a different surname, Mac Giolla Domhnaigh, usually rendered MacEldowney in English and sometimes simply Downey. As well as the Galway sept there was a more important sept of O'Dunadhaigh which was located in Luachair of which their Chiefs were Lords. They are mentioned as such in records by O'Herrin, who died in 1420.The Downey
family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Downey