O'Caherny History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish name O'Caherny has a long Gaelic heritage to its credit. Generally, the original Gaelic form of the name O'Caherny is said to be O Cearnaigh, from the word "cearnach," which means "victorious." However, in some instances, especially the roots of the present day spelling of Kearney, the surname derives from the Gaelic "O Catharnaigh," meaning "warlike."

Early Origins of the O'Caherny family

The surname O'Caherny was first found in County Mayo (Irish: Maigh Eo) located on the West coast of the Republic of Ireland in the province of Connacht, where they held a family seat from ancient times and were a branch of the Ui Fiachrach.

The MacCarney (McCarney) variant is "Mac Cearnaigh and the family was originally seated at Ballymacarney, Co. Meath. According to records from the sixteenth century to the present day it must be regarded as belonging to Ulster: in the Fiants we find a MacCarney among the followers of Rory O'Donnell; in the Hearth Money Rolls of the l660's the name appears frequently in Cos. Monaghan and Armagh; and comparatively recent sources indicate that they are still mainly located in that part of Ulster. It would appear, however, that the prefix Mac has been widely dropped, the name being now registered as Carney or Kearney. Probably the most remarkable person of this name was Susan MacKarney who died in Dublin in 1751 reputedly 120 years of age. She was a beggarwoman who had £250 secreted in the mattress of her death bed." [1]

Early History of the O'Caherny family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Caherny research. Another 230 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1199, 1721, 1529, 1539 and 1543 are included under the topic Early O'Caherny History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'Caherny Spelling Variations

Those scribes in Ireland during the Middle Ages recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in this era many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research on the O'Caherny family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including Carney, Carnie, McCarney, MacCarney, O'Carney, Kearney and many more.

Early Notables of the O'Caherny family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family at this time was Carney of Cashel and John Kearney of Fethard, prominent in court and legal circles in England. In Scotland, "Patrick Makcarny was one of...
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Caherny Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the O'Caherny family

Thousands of Irish families left for North American shores in the 19th century. These people were searching for a life unencumbered with poverty, hunger, and racial discrimination. Many arrived to eventually find such conditions, but many others simply did not arrive: victims of the diseased, overcrowded ships in which they traveled to the New World. Those who lived to see North American shores were instrumental in the development of the growing nations of Canada and the United States. A thorough examination of passenger and immigration lists has disclosed evidence of many early immigrants of the name O'Caherny: William Carney who settled in Virginia in 1650; Timothy Carney settled in Virginia in 1751; Easter Carney settled in Virginia in 1752; Mary Carney settled in Pennsylvania in 1773.



The O'Caherny Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Sustine et abstine
Motto Translation: Sustain and abstain.


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Supplement to Irish Families. Baltimore: Genealogical Book Company, 1964. Print.


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