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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish Coffey family come from? What is the Irish Coffey family crest and coat of arms? When did the Coffey family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Coffey family history?

The name Coffey originally descend from Cobthach Fionn, a quo O Cobhthaigh, where "cobthach" means "victorious" and "fionn" means "fair," combined to mean "the fairhaired victor." [1]


Many different spelling variations of the surname Coffey exist in the archives researched. Ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. Different spellings that were found include Coffey, Caughey, Coffie, Coughey, Cauffey, Cauffy, Cauffie, Coffy, Coughay, Coffay, Coffeye and many more.

First found in County Cork, Roscommon and Meath, where the claim descent from the Irish monarch, Luy Mac Con, from the line of Ithe Kings, ancestor of Cobthach Fion, who in turn was the ancestor of the name Coffey or Caughey (both pronounced the same way). The O'Coffeys of Corcaloidhe are kin of the O'Driscolls, and are still common in southwest County Cork today.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Coffey research. Another 197 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1580, 1700, 1745, 1857 and 1916 are included under the topic Early Coffey History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 61 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Coffey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


During the middle of the 19th century, Irish families often experienced extreme poverty and racial discrimination in their own homeland under English rule. Record numbers died of disease and starvation, and many others, deciding against such a fate, boarded ships bound for North America. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Unfortunately, many of those Irish that arrived in Canada or the United States still experienced economic and racial discrimination. Although often maligned, these Irish people were essential to the rapid development of these countries because they provided the cheap labor required for the many canals, roads, railways, and other projects required for strong national infrastructures. Eventually the Irish went on to make contributions in the less backbreaking and more intellectual arenas of commerce, education, and the arts. Research early immigration and passenger lists revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Coffey:

Coffey Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Tho Coffey, who arrived in Virginia in 1711
  • Edward Coffey, who landed in Virginia in 1726

Coffey Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Nicholas Coffey, who landed in New York, NY in 1815
  • Henry Coffey, aged 25, landed in Missouri in 1840
  • Michael Coffey, aged 20, landed in New York, NY in 1848
  • John Coffey, who landed in New York, NY in 1851
  • Ann Coffey settled in New York in 1853

Coffey Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Annie Coffey, aged 19, who arrived in America from Dublin, Ireland, in 1903
  • Beatrice Coffey, aged 45, who arrived in America from Liverpool, England, in 1904
  • Hannah Coffey, aged 25, who arrived in America from Ballymaculey, County Waterford, in 1905
  • John Coffey, aged 24, who arrived in America from Ballymaculey, County Waterford, in 1905
  • John Coffey, aged 27, who arrived in America from Belfast, Ireland, in 1907


  • John Louis Coffey (b. 1922), American federal judge
  • Kellie Coffey (b. 1971), American singer-songwriter
  • Dennis Coffey (b. 1940), American guitarist, studio musician
  • John "Jack" Francis Coffey (1887-1966), Major League Baseball player
  • Russell Coffey (1898-2007), American serviceman, one of the last three surviving American World War I veterans
  • Todd Coffey (b. 1980), Major League Baseball relief pitcher
  • Brigadier-General John Will Coffey (1897-1951), American Professor of Ordnance, US Military Academy West Point (1947)
  • Brian Coffey (1905-1995), Irish poet, best known for his poems Advent (1975) and Death of Hektor (1979)
  • William Coffey VC DCM (1829-1875), Irish Victoria Cross recipient for throwing a live shell out of a trench thus saved many lives during the Crimean War
  • Aeneas Coffey (1780-1852), Irish inventor and distiller, creator of the "Coffey still" or "Patent Still"



  • The Coffeys of Wayne County by Jacqueline Coffey Sexton.
  • Lizzie's Legacy and Our Coffey Cousins by Mary Elizabeth Coffey Self.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Non providentia sed victoria
Motto Translation: No victory without foresight


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  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)

Other References

  1. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  2. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  3. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  4. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  5. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  8. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  9. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  10. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  11. ...

The Coffey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Coffey Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 8 October 2014 at 10:34.

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