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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: Irish, Scottish

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

The Irish surnames in use today are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name Looney originally appeared in Gaelic as O Luinigh.

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The spelling of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was rarely consistent. This inconsistency was due to the scribes and church officials' attempts to record orally defined names in writing. The common practice of recording names as they sounded resulted in spelling variations such as Lunney, Lunnie, Looney, Loney, Lunny, O'Lunney and others.

First found in County Tyrone (Irish:Tír Eoghain), the ancient territory of the O'Neills, now in the Province of Ulster, central Northern Ireland, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Looney research. Another 378 words(27 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Looney History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Looney 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 Looney:

Looney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • James C Looney, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

Looney Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Mary Looney, aged 26, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Confiance"
  • Timothy Looney, aged 37, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Northern Light"
  • Ellen Looney, aged 15, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Northern Light"
  • Mary Looney, aged 18, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Northern Light"

Looney Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Michael Looney, aged 28, a farm labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874
  • Margaret Looney, aged 24, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874
  • Mary Looney, aged 1, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874
  • Thomas Looney arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874
  • Thomas Looney, aged 35, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1874


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  • John Don Looney (1917-2015), American professional football end who played three seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles (1940) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (1941-1942)
  • Richard Carl Looney (b. 1934), retired American Bishop of the United Methodist Church
  • Joe Don Looney (1942-1988), American football running back
  • Ben Earl Looney (1904-1981), Louisiana artist and author
  • Brian James Looney (b. 1969), retired Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Shelley Looney (b. 1972), American ice hockey player
  • Martin M. Looney (b. 1948), American politician
  • Andrew J. Looney (b. 1963), award-winning American game designer and computer programmer
  • Thomas David Looney, Irish Labour Party politician
  • Séamus Looney (b. 1950), Irish retired sportsperson

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  • Looney Family Tree by Paul Looney.
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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: Patriae infelici fidelis
Motto Translation: Faithful to an unhappy country.

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  1. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  2. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  7. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  8. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  9. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  10. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  11. ...

The Looney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Looney 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 15 June 2015 at 16:33.

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