In its ancient Gaelic form, the Irish name O'Casys was written O Cathasaigh, from the word "cathasach," which means watchful.
Early Origins of the O'Casys family
The surname O'Casys 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'Casys family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Casys 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'Casys History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Casys Spelling Variations
Names during the Middle Ages were typically recorded as they sounded and in many cases, one's surname spelling changed with each record. Spelling variations
revealed in the search for the origin of the O'Casys family name include Casey, MacCasey, O'Casey and others.
Early Notables of the O'Casys family (pre 1700)
Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Casys Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Casys family to the New World and Oceana
began leaving their homeland for North America in the late 18th century. These families were usually modestly well off, but they were looking forward to owning and working on a sizable tract of land of their own. This pattern of emigration continued until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine
sparked a major exodus of destitute and desperate Irish people. These people were not leaving for a grant of land in North America because by this time the East Coast had reached its saturation point and free land was scarce. They were merely looking to escape the disease, starvation, and hopelessness that Ireland
had fallen into. Although these unfortunate immigrants did not receive a warm welcome by the established populations in the United States and what would become Canada, they were absolutely critical to the rapid development that these two nations enjoyed. They would help populate the western lands and provide the cheap labor required for a rapid industrialization. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many early bearers of the name O'Casys 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'Casys 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.