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

Where did the Irish Toohey family come from? When did the Toohey family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Toohey family history?

The original Gaelic versions of today's Irish names demonstrate a proud, ancient past. The original Gaelic form of the name Toohey is O Tuathaigh, which is derived from tuathach, which means ruler.

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People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the surname Toohey that are preserved in archival documents are Tuohy, Tuohey, Touhy, Touhey, Tooey, Tooy, Towey, Towy, Twoey, Twoy, Twohig, Toohey, Toohy,O'Tuohy, O'Tuohey, O'Touhy, O'Touhey, O'Tooey, O'Tooy, O'Towey, O'Towy, O'Twoey, O'Twoy, O'Twohig, O'Toohey and many more.

First found in County Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) part of the province of Connacht, located on the west coast of the Island, where they held a family seat as a clann, and their chief was known as O'Tuathaigh (meaning ruler). They were amongst the many tribes of western Ireland, septs of the Hy Niall who were descended from King Niall of the Nine Hostages. King Niall was perhaps the most famous of all Irish Kings being responsible for harassing the Roman departure from England at the foot of the Alps.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Toohey research. Another 230 words(16 lines of text) covering the year 1593 is included under the topic Early Toohey History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North America. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Toohey:

Toohey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Bridget Toohey, aged 2, landed in New York in 1854
  • Ellen Toohey, aged 30, landed in New York in 1854
  • Jude Toohey, aged 40, landed in New York in 1854
  • Margaret Toohey, aged 4, arrived in New York in 1854
  • Ned Toohey, who landed in New York in 1854


Toohey Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Denis Toohey, who arrived in Canada in 1829

Toohey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Mary Toohey, aged 22, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Sea Park"

Toohey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Peter Toohey landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1836

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  • John Peter Toohey (1880-1946), American writer and publicist, member of the Algonquin Round Table
  • John Peter Toohey (1892-1984), American college football player
  • John Leslie Toohey AC, QC (b. 1930), Australian judge and Justice of the High Court of Australia (1987-1998)
  • Peter Toohey (b. 1954), Australian cricketer who played in 15 Tests and 5 ODIs from 1977 to 1979
  • Meghan Toohey, folk-rock singer/songwriter
  • John Thomas Toohey, Irish-born, Australian brewer, founder of Tooheys in 1869


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  1. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  3. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  5. 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).
  6. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  7. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
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This page was last modified on 30 April 2015 at 14:34.

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