This interesting surname is of Irish origin, and is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O' Catharnaigh", descendant of Catharnach, a byname meaning "warlike". Carney is almost confined to Connacht, particularly County Mayo, while Kearney, another Anglicization of "O' Catharnaigh", is found in the four provinces. Many of the present-day bearers of the name descend from Tadhg O' Catharnaigh (first recording), who was killed in battle in 1084. He was nicknamed An Sionnach, "the fox", and for this reason the surname has also been Anglicized as Fox.The modern surname can be found as Carney, Kearney, (O) Caherny, O' Carney, Keherney and County Cavan, McCarney. Among the recordings in Ireland are the christening of Mary, daughter of Edward and Mary Carney, on June 5th 1664 at St. Michas, Dublin and the marriage of James Carney and Catherine Martin on December 29th 1794 at St. John's, County Limerick. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Tadhg O' Catharnaigh, (chief), which was dated circa 1084, Teffia, County Meath, Ireland, during the reign of King Turlough, King of Ireland, 1072 - 1086. 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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