The ancient Irish sept of O'Cuidighthigh (variously Anglicized Cudigy, Cuddihy, Cuddy, O'Cuddie, Cuddehy, Co(a)dy and Quiddihy) originated in the Leinster county of Kilkenny. The Old Gaelic "O'Cuidighthigh" translates as "Descendant of the Helpful One", from "O", grandson, male descendant of, and the genitive case of the personal byname "Cuidightheach", Helper. Primarily, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes and revered elders, and are usually prefixed by "O" (as above) or "Mac", denoting "son of". It is interesting to note that the first recording of this surname has the "Mac" prefix (see below). In 16th Century Elizabethan "Fiant litterae patentes" the name appears as "O'Codihie" and "O'Kuddyhy", and is written in modern Irish as "O'Cuidithe". By the 17th Century the surname was widespread in the ancient territory of Ormond (Urmhumhan), comprising much of County Kilkenny and north Tipperary. Twenty-two Cud(d)ihy householders appear in the County Tipperary Hearth Money Rolls, quite a few situated as far south as Carrick-on-Suir. During the years 1846 - 1851 many persons, spelling their name Cuddy, and occasionally Cuddie, arrived at the port of New York as famine immigrants. On June 12th 1866, the birth of John, son of Michael Cudihy and Mary Magan, was recorded at Ennistimon, County Clare. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mac Cuidithe, which was dated 1214, in "Medieval Records of County Cork", during the reign of King John of England, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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