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

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

The name Phinney originally appeared in Gaelic as O Fiannaidhe. This name, which was O Feinneadha in its earlier form, refers to a soldier.

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Numerous spelling variations of the surname Phinney exist. A partial explanation for these variants is that 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 Finney, Feeney, Finnay, Finny, Fynnie, Fynney, Feenay, Feeny, Feaney, Feanay, Feany and many more.

First found in Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) part of the province of Connacht, located on the west coast of the Island, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, and where their territories were Ballyfeeney and in Roscommon. Moving north into Ulster the name became Finney. This branch also moved into southwest Scotland from about the 15th century.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Phinney research. Another 415 words(30 lines of text) covering the years 1509, 1541, 1551, 1640, and 1678 are included under the topic Early Phinney History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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In the late 18th century, Irish families began emigrating to North America in the search of a plot of land to call their own. This pattern of emigration grew steadily until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s cause thousands of Irish to flee the death and disease that accompanied the disaster. Those that made it alive to the shores of the United States and British North America (later to become Canada) were, however, instrumental in the development of those two powerful nations. Many of these Irish immigrants proudly bore the name of Phinney:

Phinney Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Isaac Phinney, who landed in New England in 1657
  • Robert Phinney, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1687

Phinney Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • T K Phinney, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

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  • Taylor Phinney (b. 1990), American world champion racing cyclist
  • Davis Phinney (b. 1959), American former professional Olympic bronze medalist road bicycle racer, founder of the Davis Phinney Foundation in 2004
  • Archie Phinney (1903-1949), American Nez Perce Indian and anthropologist
  • David Phinney, award-winning journalist and broadcaster
  • Elizabeth "Beth" Phinney (b. 1938), Canadian former politician
  • Norman H. Phinney (1850-1919), Canadian businessman and political figure, member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1911 to 1916


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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. 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).
  3. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  5. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  6. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  8. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  9. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  10. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  11. ...

The Phinney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Phinney 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 19 May 2013 at 15:27.

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