This very unusual surname is of medieval Irish origin, and is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "O'Clochasaigh", descendant of Clochasach, a male given name meaning "bold, forward". Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, revered elders, or some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "O", grandson, male descendant of, or "Mac" denoting "son of". The O'Clochasaigh sept 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", town, settlement, with "O'Clochasaigh", Anglicized as "Cloghessy". The surname is still found in Clare, but is more widespread in the bordering County of Limerick, with lesser numbers found in Counties Tipperary and Cork. On March 27th 1859, Patum, son of Jacobi Clohessy and Mariae Marman, was christened at Askeaton, County Limerick, and on January 1st 1866, the birth of John, son of Thomas Clohissy and Margaret Doherty, was recorded at Miltown Malbay, County Clare. On September 26th 1846, Alley Clohesy, aged 21 yrs., and a famine emigrant to New Yorks, embarked from Liverpool on the ship "Waterloo" bound for that port. The marriage of Thomas Patrick Clohisey to Elizabeth Ann Surridge was registered at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, London, on April 29th 1860. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mary Clohesy, which was dated August 10th 1806, marriage to John Bull, at St. John's, Limerick, during the reign of King George 11 of England, known as "Farmer George", 1760 - 1820. 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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