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


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. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  2. 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).
  3. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  6. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  7. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  9. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  10. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. 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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