Mulvainy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Mulvainy surname was an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Ó Maoilmheana, meaning "descendant of Maoilmheana," a personal name meaning "chieftain of the Main (river)." In Donegal it may be an Anglicized form of Ó Maolmhaghna

Early Origins of the Mulvainy family

The surname Mulvainy was first found in County Derry, where they were hereditary ollavs of O'Cahan (O'Kane.) One of the first records of the name was O Maiol Mheanna mentioned in the Annals of Ulster in 1164 where the family claim descent for the from Eoghan, son of Niall of the None Hostages and was probably associated with the river Meana which flowed into Lough Neagh at Randalstown. [1]

Another source claims that the name claims descent from the Donnelly line from MaolfIona which meant in English "the devotee of wine" [2]

As both authors referenced were Chief Heralds of Ireland, we must leave it up the reader to decide who is more accurate.

"O'Mulvey was a Chief in the Barony of Mohill, County Leitrim, in which county about 50 per cent, of persons bearing the name Mulvey are now found." [3]

Early History of the Mulvainy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mulvainy research. Another 142 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1659, 1770 and 1845 are included under the topic Early Mulvainy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mulvainy Spelling Variations

The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name Mulvainy were encountered in the archives: O'Mulvany, Mulvany, Mulvenna, O'Mulvey, Mulvey and many more.

Early Notables of the Mulvainy family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Mulvainy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Mulvainy family

In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the Mulvainy family came to North America quite early: John Mulvay, who settled in Philadelphia in 1746; Patrick Mulvany, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1808; James Mulvany, who arrived in Baltimore in 1809.



  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, More Irish Families. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0)
  2. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  3. ^ Matheson, Robert E., Special Report on Surnames in Ireland with Notes as to Numeric Strength, Derivation, Ethnology, and Distribution. Dublin: Alexander Thom & Co., 1894. Print


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