Oakeefe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

All Irish surnames have underlying meanings that can be traced back to their fullest points when the names first appeared in a Gaelic form. The name Oakeefe originally appeared in Gaelic as "O Caoimh," which is derived from the word "caomh," which means "gentle."

Early Origins of the Oakeefe family

The surname Oakeefe was first found in County Cork (Irish: Corcaigh) the ancient Kingdom of Deis Muin (Desmond), located on the southwest coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

"In ancient times the O'Keeffes were Marshals and chief military leaders of Desmond. They possessed several castles, and were styled Princes of Fermoy. The principal county for the Keeffes and O'Keefes at present is Cork." [1]

Early History of the Oakeefe family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Oakeefe research. Another 116 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1655, 1640, 1691, 1703, 1670, 1740, 1747, 1833, 1778 and 1791 are included under the topic Early Oakeefe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Oakeefe Spelling Variations

The recording of names in Ireland in the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. One must realize that attempting to record a Gaelic name in English is a daunting task at the best of times. Even today the translation is a difficult one. Accordingly, research into the name Oakeefe revealed spelling variations, including O'Keeffe, O'Keefe, Keefe, Keeffe, Keefer, Keiffe and others.

Early Notables of the Oakeefe family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Constantine O'Keeffe (born c. 1670) who was admitted to the French aristocracy in 1740 on the basis of...
Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Oakeefe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Oakeefe family

Irish families fled the English-colonized Ireland in record numbers during the 19th century for North America. Many of those destitute families died from disease during, and even shortly after, the long journey. Although those that immigrated before the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s often were granted a tract of land, those that arrived later were generally accommodated in urban centers or in work camps. Those in the urban centers would labor in the manufacturing sector, whereas those in work camps would to build critical infrastructures such as bridges, canals, roads, and railways. Regardless of when these Irish immigrants came to North America, they were critical for the rapid development of the young nations of the United States and Canada. Early immigration and passenger lists have recorded many early immigrants bearing the name of Oakeefe: Anthony, Daniel, Hugh, John, Lawrence, Owen, Patrick, Thomas and William Keefe, all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860; Daniel, Denis, James, John, Joseph, Michael, and Patrick Keeffe, all arrived in Philadelphia during the same period.



  1. ^ 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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