This very interesting and unusual surname is an Ulster variant of "Sheehy", which is found in Ireland and Scotland, itself the Anglicized form of the Gaelic personal name "Sitheach", possible from "sioth", peace or "Sitheach", relating to fairies, eerie or mysterious. Sheehys are first heard of in Ireland as Gallowglasses, who fought with distinction in many battles, having come to Ireland in the 14th Century from Scotland, where they were a branch of the Mac Donnell clan. The first recorded namebearer (see below) received 7.15.61/2 as "Head Money" for the head of Mallanchy Mac Clancy.Sheekey first appeared in Co. Monaghan in the 16th Century and is still to be found in Oriel, the ancient name for counties Armagh and Monaghan and parts of south Down, Louth and Fermanagh. The name was introduced to England by Irish immigrants, especially during the period 1845-1847. One Ann Shecky married John Whitmore at St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, London on August 31st 1750, while Jane Sheeky married William Ferris at Magheralin, Down on September 16th 1834. Joseph Sheekey married Adeline Bowles on December 19th 1837, at St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Manus ne Cleggan Mac Shane, Captain of Gallowglasses, which was dated 1539, during the reign of King Henry V111, "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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