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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the Irish Phinney family come from? What is the Irish Phinney family crest and coat of arms? When did the Phinney family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Phinney family history?

The name Phinney originally appeared in Gaelic as O Fiannaidhe. This name, which was O Feinneadha in its earlier form, refers to a soldier.


Numerous spelling variations of the surname Phinney exist. A partial explanation for these variants is that ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. Different spellings that were found include Finney, Feeney, Finnay, Finny, Fynnie, Fynney, Feenay, Feeny, Feaney, Feanay, Feany and many more.

First found in Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) part of the province of Connacht, located on the west coast of the Island, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, and where their territories were Ballyfeeney and in Roscommon. Moving north into Ulster the name became Finney. This branch also moved into southwest Scotland from about the 15th century.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Phinney research. Another 415 words (30 lines of text) covering the years 1509, 1541, 1551, 1640, and 1678 are included under the topic Early Phinney History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Phinney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


In the late 18th century, Irish families began emigrating to North America in the search of a plot of land to call their own. This pattern of emigration grew steadily until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s cause thousands of Irish to flee the death and disease that accompanied the disaster. Those that made it alive to the shores of the United States and British North America (later to become Canada) were, however, instrumental in the development of those two powerful nations. Many of these Irish immigrants proudly bore the name of Phinney:

Phinney Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Isaac Phinney, who landed in New England in 1657
  • Robert Phinney, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1687

Phinney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • T K Phinney, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

Phinney Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Rev. John Phinney settled in Grand Bank, Newfoundland in 1866


  • Colonel Edmund Phinney, American officer, eponym of Phinney's Regiment, also known as the 12th Massachusetts Regiment and the 18th Continental Regiment
  • Archie Phinney (1904-1949), Nez Perce Indian and an anthropologist
  • William Phinney (b. 1824), American Union Navy sailor in the American Civil War, recipient of the Medal of Honor, for his actions at the Battle of Mobile Bay
  • Joseph Warren Phinney (1848-1934), American printer, type designer, and business executive
  • Elihu Phinney (1756-1813), American first printer in Cooperstown, New York, some claim that James Fenimore Cooper learned the art of setting type in his shop
  • David Phinney, American award-winning journalist and broadcaster
  • Archie Phinney (1903-1949), American Nez Perce Indian and anthropologist
  • Davis Phinney (b. 1959), American former professional Olympic bronze medalist road bicycle racer, founder of the Davis Phinney Foundation in 2004
  • Taylor Phinney (b. 1990), American world champion racing cyclist
  • James Douglas Phinney (1844-1915), Canadian lawyer, judge and politician who represented Kent County in the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick from 1887 to 1895



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  1. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  4. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  5. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  7. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  8. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  9. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  10. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  11. ...

The Phinney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Phinney Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 27 November 2015 at 12:28.

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