Gaffney 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 Gaffney
include Gafney, Gafny, Gaffnee, Caulfield, O'Growney, Keveney, McCarron and Carew. This name is derived from a number of Gaelic septs, including O'Gamhna, O'Caibheanaigh, MacConghamhna and MagFhachtna and as a consequence has a wide number of anglicized forms.
A sept or clan is a collective term describing a group of persons whose immediate ancestors bore a common surname and inhabited the same territory. It is also the case that many Irish septs or clans that are related often belong to a larger groups, sometimes called tribes. For example the 'Tribes of Galway' consisted of fourteen distinct families. The 'Tribes of Kilkenny' were ten families, etc.
When Gaelic names were anglicized during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries they were often changed to Anglo equivalents that sounded most like their original Gaelic name. From the year 1100 to 1600 the name is recorded as a sept in the barony of Kilkenny West. The ancient document the 'Four Masters' records the head of the sept as 'Chief of Maol an tSinna' meaning 'Chief of the Shannon', their territory lying on the Westmeath side of the river Shannon. The Gaffney
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 Gaffney