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

Origins Available: Irish, Scottish

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

The original Gaelic form of the name McConkey is Óconnachtaigh. This name can be considered a place name as it indicates that its original bearer inhabited Connaught. The prefix O, meaning '"grandson of" indicates descent from the original bearer.

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Scribes and church officials, lacking today's standardized spelling rules, recorded names by how they were pronounced. This imprecise guide often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname McConkey are preserved in documents of the family history. The various spellings of the name that were found include Conaty, O'Conaty, Connaghty, Connoty, MacConaghy, MacConkey and many more.

First found in County Donegal with the MacSweenys. That name is derived from Suibhne O'Neill, who was a chieftain in Argyll, Scotland. His descendants migrated to Ireland as gallowglasses (mercenaries) prior to 1267. The three great septs of this name finally established themselves in Tirconnell in 14th century; they were known as MacSweeney Fanad, MacSweeney Banagh, and MacSweeney na dTuath, who were commonly referred to as 'MacSweeney of the Battleaxes.'


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McConkey research. Another 363 words(26 lines of text) covering the years 189 and 1893 are included under the topic Early McConkey History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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In the 18th and 19th centuries, thousands of Irish families fled an Ireland that was forcibly held through by England through its imperialistic policies. A large portion of these families crossed the Atlantic to the shores of North America. The fate of these families depended on when they immigrated and the political allegiances they showed after they arrived. Settlers that arrived before the American War of Independence may have moved north to Canada at the war's conclusion as United Empire Loyalists. Such Loyalists were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Those that fought for the revolution occasionally gained the land that the fleeing Loyalist vacated. After this period, free land and an agrarian lifestyle were not so easy to come by in the East. So when seemingly innumerable Irish immigrants arrived during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s, free land for all was out of the question. These settlers were instead put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Whenever they came, 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 McConkey or a variant listed above, including:

McConkey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Alexander McConkey, who landed in New England in 1718
  • John McConkey, who landed in New England in 1718

McConkey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Thomas McConkey, aged 26, landed in New York in 1812
  • George McConkey, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1874
  • Patrick McConkey, who arrived in Mississippi in 1899

McConkey Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • George McConkey, aged 30, a merchant, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast

McConkey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • William Henry McConkey, aged 22, a farm labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874
  • Matthew McConkey, aged 26, a labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Nations" in 1874
  • Ann J. McConkey, aged 27, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Nations" in 1874
  • Rose A. McConkey, aged 7, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Nations" in 1874
  • Jane E. McConkey, aged 5, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Nations" in 1874


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  • Edwin H. McConkey (b. 1931), American biologist
  • Phil McConkey (b. 1957), American former NFL football player
  • Tony McConkey (b. 1963), American politician from Maryland
  • Mr. Christopher Evans Mcconkey (d. 1915), Irish Second Waiter from Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Shane McConkey (1969-2009), Canadian professional skier, recipient of the 2001 ESPN Action Sport Awards Skier of the Year
  • Thomas David McConkey (1815-1890), Irish-born Canadian businessman and political figure


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  1. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  2. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  3. 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).
  4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  6. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  8. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. 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. 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 McConkey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McConkey 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 17 December 2014 at 20:31.

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