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

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

Irish surnames are all based on the Gaelic language native to Ireland. The original Gaelic form of the name Rooney is O Ruanaidh.


Within the archives researched, many different spelling variations of the surname Rooney were found. These included One reason for the many variations is that scribes and church officials often spelled an individual's name as it sounded. This imprecise method often led to many versions. O'Rooney, Rooney, Roony, Roonay, Roney and others.

First found in County Down (Irish:An Dún) part of the Province of Ulster, in Northern Ireland, formerly known as county St Mirren.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rooney research. Another 265 words(19 lines of text) covering the years 1079 and 1288 are included under the topic Early Rooney History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Rooney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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 Rooney or a variant listed above, including:

Rooney Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Edward Rooney, aged 30, arrived in Norfolk, Va in 1803
  • Brian Rooney, who landed in Newport, Rhode Island in 1811
  • John Rooney, who arrived in Newport, Rhode Island in 1811
  • Paul Rooney, who arrived in Newport, Rhode Island in 1811
  • Lawrence Rooney, aged 40, landed in New York in 1812


  • Andy Rooney (1919-2011), noted journalist and commentator for CBS best known for his commentary on the show "60 minutes"
  • Art Rooney (1909-1988), American founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Francis Rooney (b. 1953), former American Ambassador to the Holy See
  • John J. Rooney (1903-1975), American Democratic politician from New York
  • Mickey Rooney (1920-2014), born Joseph Yule Jr., American Juvenile Academy Award, Honorary Academy Award, two-time Golden Globe and an Emmy Award winning film actor and entertainer
  • John Rooney (b. 1954), American radio sportscaster for the St. Louis Cardinals
  • John E. "Jack" Rooney (d. 2011), American businessman, President and Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Cellular
  • Sean Michael Rooney (b. 1982), American two-time gold and silver medalist volleyball player
  • Adam Rooney (b. 1988), Irish footballer
  • Martyn Joseph Rooney (b. 1987), English Olympic sprinter



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  1. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  4. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  5. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  6. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  7. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  8. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  9. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  10. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  11. ...

The Rooney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Rooney 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 19:04.

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