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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The many Irish surnames in use today have long rich histories behind them. The name Cathey originally appeared in Gaelic as Mac Carthaigh, which is derived from the word "carthach," which means "loving."


The surname Cathey was first found in County Kerry and much of County Cork, in the area formerly known as Desmond. One of the oldest and most important of all Irish families, the MacCarthy family claim descent from Oilioll Olum, the 3rd century King of Munster who gave the region of Desmond to his son Eoghan after his death. Eoghan's descendants were known as the Eoghanacht, and the surname MacCarthy is derived from Carthach, an 11th century lord of this group who was killed when the Lonegans set his house on fire. They were settled at Carrignavar where they were the Lords of Eoghannacht and Diarmod MacCarty Mor swore fealty to King Henry II thereby retaining his estates in Cork. Innumerable members of the family have been important in Irish history, especially those with the forenames Fineen, Florence or Justin, beginning with the Fineen MacCarthy who vanquished the Geraldines in 1261. Several branches of the powerful MacCarthy sept existed, including MacCarthy Reagh, who held a family seat at Carbery in West Cork, and the Muskerry MacCarthys, who were based in the barony of Muskerry in that county. MacCarthy Mor of County Kerry, long thought to be extinct, has only recently been proven to still exist.

Irish names recorded during the Middle Ages are characterized by many spelling variations. This preponderance of variations for common names can be explained by the fact that the scribes and church officials that kept records during that period individually decided how to capture one's name. These recorders primarily based their decisions on how the name was pronounced or what it meant. Research into the name Cathey revealed many variations, including MacCarthy, MacCarty, MacArty, MacArthy and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cathey research. Another 253 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1446, 1646, 1640, 1628, 1594, 1665, 1694, 1668, 1734, 1698, 1769, 1733 and 1734 are included under the topic Early Cathey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Notable among the family name at this time was Charles MacCarty (Cormac Oge McCarthy), (d. 1640). He was from the ancient line of Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster, and was created the 1st Viscount Muskerry in 1628. His motto was "Forti et fideli nihil difficile, " which translates as "to the...

Another 94 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cathey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


A great wave of Irish migration occurred during the 19th century as a direct result of English colonial rule and tight-fisted absentee landlords. Many of these Irish immigrants boarded passenger ships bound for North Ameri ca. Those who migrated early enough were given land in either British North America or the United States; those who came in the late 19th century were typically employed in industrial centers as laborers. At whatever age they undertook the dangerous passage to North America, those Irish immigrants were essential to the speedy development of the two infant nations to which they arrived, whether they broke and settled land, helped build canals, bridges, and railroads, or produced products for consumer consumption. An examination of immigration and passenger lists has uncovered a large number of immigrants bearing the name Cathey or one of its variants:

Cathey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • James Cathey, who arrived in Virginia in 1739

Cathey Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • John Cathey, aged 29, who arrived in America from Ulverston, England, in 1912
  • Arley D. Cathey, aged 31, who arrived in Kilbourne, Louisiana, in 1921

  • Morgan Henry Cathey (b. 1984), American soccer player
  • James J. Cathey, American vice president of business development for Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc
  • Reginald "Reg" E. Cathey (b. 1958), American stage, film and television actor
  • William Cathey, American politician, Mayor of Meridian, Mississippi, 1867-70
  • H. A. Cathey, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Alabama, 1920
  • Elizabeth Cathey, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 2012
  • Betty Cathey, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Tennessee State Senate 7th District, 1974
  • Ralph Cathey (b. 1963), British professional footballer

  • Cathey Cousins by Myrtice Adell Cathey.

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    Other References

    1. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
    2. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
    3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
    4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    5. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
    6. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
    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. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
    9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
    10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    11. ...

    The Cathey Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Cathey 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 20 October 2015 at 15:20.

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