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

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

The roots of the Breheny surname are linked to a set of 4,000 year old Irish law, known as the Brehon Law. There were no judges or lawyers, but the arbitrators whose responsibility it was to settle disagreements based on these laws were known as Brehons.

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Brehon, Brehane, Brehany, Brehaney, Breheny, Brehony, MacBreheny and many more.

First found in Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh), the former Kingdom of Osraige (Ossory), located in Southeastern Ireland in the province of Leinster, where they held a family seat as judges and scholars. Irish history was greatly influenced by the Norman invasion of 1172, and thereafter, the surnames of Irish Gaelic clanns and septs and many of the Norman families became almost indistinguishable. This ancient Irish family name was found later in Sligo represented another early reference to the name.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Breheny research. Another 199 words(14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Breheny History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Breheny Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • James Breheny, who was naturalized in Westmoreland Co. Pennsylvania in 1859
  • Bridget Breheny, who arrived in New York, NY in 1866

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  • Brian Breheny, movie cinematographer
  • Richard Breheny, Lecturer in the Department of Phonetics and Linguistics, University College, London


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  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  3. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  5. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  8. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  9. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  10. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  11. ...

The Breheny Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Breheny 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 13 March 2014 at 19:36.

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