The original Gaelic form of O'Foley was O Foghladha, derived from the word "foghladha," which means "plunderer."
Early Origins of the O'Foley family
The surname O'Foley was first found in Waterford
(Irish: Port Láirge), anciently the Deise region, on the South coast of Ireland
in the Province of Munster
, in southern Ireland
where they held a family seat
from very ancient times.
Early History of the O'Foley family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Foley research.Another 261 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1131, 1580, 1657, 1617, 1677, 1659, 1677, 1624, 1676, 1651, 1702, 1644, 1699, 1695, 1699, 1655, 1695, 1673, 1733, 1694 and 1712 are included under the topic Early O'Foley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Foley Spelling Variations
Names from the Middle Ages demonstrate many spelling variations
. This is because the recording scribe or church official often decided as to how a person's name was spelt and in what language. Research into the name O'Foley revealed many variations, including Foley, MacSharry, Foaley, Foli, Fooley, Sharry, Sharrie, McSharry, MacSharey, McSharey, Foalie, Foolie, Fowlie and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Foley family (pre 1700)
Notable among the family name at this time was John Henry Foley, sculptor in Dublin; Richard Foley (1580-1657), English ironmaster, best known from the folktale of "Fiddler Foley"; Thomas Foley (1617-1677), an English ironmaster and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1659 and 1677; Robert Foley (1624-1676), of... Another 78 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Foley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Foley family to the New World and Oceana
To escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, thousands of Irish left their homeland in the 19th century. These migrants typically settled in communities throughout the East Coast of North America, but also joined the wagon trains moving out to the Midwest. Ironically, when the American War of Independence
began, many Irish settlers took the side of England
, and at the war's conclusion moved north to Canada. These United Empire Loyalists, were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Other Irish immigrants settled in Newfoundland, the Ottawa Valley, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, however, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine
of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland
at this time for North America and Australia
. Many of those numbers, however, did not live through the long sea passage. These Irish settlers to North America were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Irish settlers made an inestimable contribution to the building of the New World. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name O'Foley or a variant listed above, including: Bryan Foley who purchased land in Virginia in 1714; followed by James Foley in 1770; the Foleys also settled in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
The O'Foley 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: Ut prosim
Motto Translation: That I may be of use.