When the Stongbow settlers arrived in Ireland
, they quickly learned that the Irish had a pre-established system of hereditary surnames
. The name Huniak is an occupational
surname, which was primarily from the Anglo-Norman culture. There were a few Irish occupational names, however, previous to the arrival of the Strongbownians, so this Anglo-Norman tradition was not too incongruous within the island. Occupational
surnames were derived from a word describing the actual job done by the initial name bearer. The Strongbownians frequently prefixed these names with the French word le, meaning the, but this custom quickly died out in Ireland
. The surname Huniak came from a common occupational name for a valued military officer. The surname Huniak is derived from the expression Unicus Est. According to tradition, during the bitter 13th century feuds between the two powerful Anglo-Norman families of the Fitzgeralds and the Butlers, a Commander who sought help to secure a position pointed to a particularly valued captain and said Unicus Est, which means Hei is the only one to undertake this service. The name Garde was also used as a synonym.
Early Origins of the Huniak family
The surname Huniak was first found in County Cork
(Irish: Corcaigh) the ancient Kingdom of Deis Muin (Desmond), located on the southwest coast of Ireland
in the province of Munster
, where they held a family seat
from ancient times, soon after the Anglo Norman Conquest
in 1172 A.D. That this family name were Norman mercenaries seems reasonably clear. In the bitter 13th century feuds between the Fitzgeralds and the Butlers it is said that a commander, seeking help to secure a position, pointed to one of the captains and said, 'Unicus Est', meaning 'He is the only one to undertake this service'. Hence this expression not only became the family motto but it also became the basis and origin of the family name itself, Uniacke. Later some used Gard as a synonym.
Early History of the Huniak family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Huniak research.Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 197 and 1976 are included under the topic Early Huniak History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Huniak Spelling Variations
Church officials and medieval scribes often simply spelled names as they sounded. As a result, a single person's name may have been recorded a dozen different ways during his lifetime. Spelling variations
for the name Huniak include: Uniacke, Uniake, Uniack, Uniak, Garde, Gard and others.
Early Notables of the Huniak family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Huniak Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Huniak family to the New World and Oceana
experienced a dramatic decrease in its population during the 19th century. This was in a great measure, a response to England's imperialistic policies. Hunger and disease took the lives of many Irish people and many more chose to leave their homeland to escape the horrific conditions. North America with its promise of work, freedom, and land was an extremely popular destination for Irish families
. For those families that survived the journey, all three of these things were often attained through much hard work and perseverance. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name Huniak: Edward Uniacke arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1852.