This surname is of Irish origin, and is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Broithe", the prefix "O" denoting male descendant of, plus the personal name "Broth". The surname is widespread in counties Leix and Kilkenny. According to the "Census" of 1659, Brophy was one of the principal names in five baronies of Queen's County (Leix), and in five of Co. Kilkenny. In Clandonagh it is perpetuated in the well known Co. Leix placename Ballybrophy. Variations in the spelling of the surname include Brohy, Brophey, Broffee, Broffey, and Broy. Church Records list the christenings of Edmund, son of Edmund and Margery Broffee, on January 13th 1725, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, and of Mary, daughter of John and Susan Brophy, on July 27th 1788 in Ahasckaph, Co. Galway. One Bridget Brophy, aged 25 yrs., a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the "England" bound for New York on May 26th 1846. Daniel Brophy of Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny, three times mayor of Ballarat, Australia, was a well known public figure there in the 1870's. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Brophy, which was dated 1659, in the "Census of Population", during the reign of Richard Cromwell, known as "The Lord Protector", 1658 - 1660. 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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