The Clan/Sept History
All Irish surnames have a distinct meaning. The meaning behind the name O Mooney
begins when the name originally appeared in Gaelic as O Maonaigh. This is
derived from the word maonach, meaning wealthy.
Before widespread literacy came to Ireland, a name was often recorded under
several different variations during the life of its bearer. Accordingly,
numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the
name O Mooney family name. Variations found include Mooney, Moony, O'Mooney,
Meeny, O'Meany, Meany, O'Meeny, O'Mainy, Meaney and many more.
First found in county Offaly, where they held a family seat from ancient times.
To escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily
at the hands of the English, thousands of Irish left their homeland in the 19th
century. These migrants typically settled in communities throughout the East
Coast of North America, but also joined the wagon trains moving out to the
Midwest. Ironically, when the American War of Independence began, many Irish
settlers took the side of England, and at the war's conclusion moved north to
Canada. These United Empire Loyalists, were granted land along the St. Lawrence
River and the Niagara Peninsula. Other Irish immigrants settled in Newfoundland,
the Ottawa Valley, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The greatest influx of Irish
immigrants, however, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the
late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America and Australia.
Many of those numbers, however, did not live through the long sea passage. These
Irish settlers to North America were immediately put to work building railroads,
coal mines, bridges, and canals. Irish settlers made an inestimable contribution
to the building of the New World. Early North American immigration records have
revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name O Mooney or a variant listed
above, including: Andrew, Arthur, Catherine, Daniel, Hugh, James, John, Mary,
Michael, Patrick, Richard, Thomas and William Mooney all arrived in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1860.
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