In its ancient Gaelic form, the Irish name MacGasey was written O Cathasaigh, from the word "cathasach," which means watchful.
Early Origins of the MacGasey family
The surname MacGasey was first found in the counties of Fermanagh
, Mayo, Dublin
, Cork and Roscommon
. In early times, there were six unrelated septs of O Cathasaigh; the two most important were the erenagh (church steward) families of Devenish in the county of Fermanagh
and the Lords of the Suaithni, in the present-day barony of Balrothery West, in County Dublin
. The name has since become widely scattered. Although it remains common in County Dublin, it is now most prevalent in the southwest of Munster
, with a smaller but still sizable population in north Connacht
. This corresponds with the locations of the other four septs, which were found at Liscannon near Bruff in the County Limerick; near Mitchelstown in County Cork; in Clondara in County Roscommon; and in Tirawley in County Mayo
, where two Casey septs were located. The Caseys of Mayo and Roscommon
, like those in Fermanagh, were also notable as erenaghs. Archaeological remains indicate that Caseys were also once found near Waterford
. Furthermore, a sept of MacCasey was once located at Oriel
and was common in County Monaghan
. However, this sept is nearly extinct today. Due to the widespread dropping of Irish prefixes under British rule and their often-erroneous resumption in the 20th century, many MacCaseys are incorrectly thought to be O'Caseys.
Early History of the MacGasey family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacGasey research.Another 225 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1381, 1787, 1862, 1846 and 1870 are included under the topic Early MacGasey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacGasey Spelling Variations
One name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer because one must realize that attempting to record a Gaelic name in English is a daunting task at the best of times. Spelling variations
revealed in the search for the origin of the MacGasey family name include Casey, MacCasey, O'Casey and others.
Early Notables of the MacGasey family (pre 1700)
Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacGasey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacGasey family to the New World and Oceana
The 18th and 19th centuries saw many Irish families
immigrate to North America in search of land and opportunities. The largest influx of Irish immigrants to the United States and British North America came during the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine
laid waste to their homeland. Hundreds of thousands left the island in an attempt to escape the starvation and disease it brought. Although the arrival of such a large number of destitute Irish was not welcomed by the established population in the United States and what would become known as Canada at the time, these Irish were an essential element to the rapid development of these growing industrial nations. They filled the demand for the cheap labor needed for the work in factories and in the construction of bridges, roads, canals, and railways. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many immigrants bearing the name of MacGasey or one of its variants: Elizabeth Casey who arrived in Maryland in 1725; as well as Andrew, Cornelius, Daniel, David, Edward, James, John, Mary, Michael, Patrick, Richard, Thomas and William Casey, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1865..
The MacGasey Motto
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: Per varios casus
Motto Translation: By various fortunes.