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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


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

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

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.


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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.

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

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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 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


Rooney Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Hugh Rooney, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Neptune" in 1833
  • Bryan Rooney, aged 25, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Cupid" in 1834
  • Mary Rooney, aged 20, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Cupid" in 1834
  • Edward Rooney, aged 25, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Cupid" in 1834
  • Nicholas Rooney, aged 21, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Cupid" in 1834


Rooney Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Rooney, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Owen Rooney, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Agincourt" on July 6, 1844, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Mary Rooney arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Inconstant" in 1849
  • Ellen Rooney, aged 18, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Dirigo"
  • Mary Rooney, aged 24, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Grand Trianon"


Rooney Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Annie Rooney, aged 14, a servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rodney" in 1875
  • Jane Rooney, aged 21, a servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hermione" in 1878
  • Teresa Rooney, aged 22, a servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hermione" in 1878

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  • Miss Mary Rooney (d. 1915), American 2nd Class passenger from Brooklyn, New York, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Sean Michael Rooney (b. 1982), American two-time gold and silver medalist volleyball player
  • John E. "Jack" Rooney (d. 2011), American businessman, President and Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Cellular
  • John Rooney (b. 1954), American radio sportscaster for the St. Louis Cardinals
  • 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
  • Charles Rooney, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kansas, 1952
  • Daniel Milton Rooney (b. 1932), American Democrat politician, U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, 2009-12
  • Davitt M. Rooney, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1956, 1960
  • Ellen Elise Rooney, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Massachusetts, 2004
  • Francis J. Rooney, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Wisconsin, 1924, 1928

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  1. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  2. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  5. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  6. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  10. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  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 15 November 2015 at 11:37.

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