In its ancient Gaelic form, the Irish name O'Cassey was written O Cathasaigh, from the word "cathasach," which means watchful.
Early Origins of the O'Cassey family
The surname O'Cassey was first found in the counties of Fermanagh
, Mayo, Dublin
, Cork and Roscommon
. In early times, there were six unrelated septs of O Cathasaigh; the two most important were the erenagh (church steward) families of Devenish in the county of Fermanagh
and the Lords of the Suaithni, in the present-day barony of Balrothery West, in County Dublin
. The name has since become widely scattered. Although it remains common in County Dublin, it is now most prevalent in the southwest of Munster
, with a smaller but still sizable population in north Connacht
. This corresponds with the locations of the other four septs, which were found at Liscannon near Bruff in the County Limerick; near Mitchelstown in County Cork; in Clondara in County Roscommon; and in Tirawley in County Mayo
, where two Casey septs were located. The Caseys of Mayo and Roscommon
, like those in Fermanagh, were also notable as erenaghs. Archaeological remains indicate that Caseys were also once found near Waterford
. Furthermore, a sept of MacCasey was once located at Oriel
and was common in County Monaghan
. However, this sept is nearly extinct today. Due to the widespread dropping of Irish prefixes under British rule and their often-erroneous resumption in the 20th century, many MacCaseys are incorrectly thought to be O'Caseys.
Early History of the O'Cassey family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Cassey research.Another 225 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1381, 1787, 1862, 1846 and 1870 are included under the topic Early O'Cassey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Cassey Spelling Variations
One must realize that attempting to record a Gaelic name in English was a daunting task. Even today the translation is a difficult one. Accordingly, spelling variations
were the norm. Variations found include Casey, MacCasey, O'Casey and others.
Early Notables of the O'Cassey family (pre 1700)
Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Cassey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Cassey family to the New World and Oceana
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 America. 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 O'Cassey or one of its variants: Elizabeth Casey who arrived in Maryland in 1725; as well as Andrew, Cornelius, Daniel, David, Edward, James, John, Mary, Michael, Patrick, Richard, Thomas and William Casey, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1865..
The O'Cassey 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: Per varios casus
Motto Translation: By various fortunes.