Recorded as Clohisey, Clohesy, Clohessy, Clohissy, and others, this is an Irish surname. It is a developed form of the Gaelic O' Clochasaigh, meaning the male descendant of the bold or forward one. Traditionally Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, revered elders, or some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by O', meaning male descendant of, or Mac denoting son of. The O' Clochasaigh clan belonged to the Munster county of Clare where Ballycloghessy in that county specifically locates them. The initial element of the placename is the Gaelic "baile", meaning town or settlement. The surname like many surnames, seems to have lost its O' prefix after the 17th century. The surname is still found in Clare, but is more widespread in the bordering county of Limerick, with lesser numbers found in Tipperary and Cork. Examples of recordings taken at random include Patum, the son of Jacobi Clohessy and Mariae Marman, was christened at Askeaton, County Limerick, on March 20th 1859, and John, son of Thomas Clohissy and Margaret Doherty, recorded at Miltown Malbay, County Clare, on March 1st 1866. On September 26th 1846. Alley Clohessy, aged 21, was a famine emigrant to New York. She embarked at Belfast Lough on the ship "Waterloo of Liverpool." The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mary Clohesy. This was dated August 10th 1806, when she married John Bull at St. John's Limerick. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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