This is a very interesting Irish surname, and particularly associated with County Sligo and the west of Ireland. Recorded in the spellings of Conboy and Conaboy, also as Conway, it is a derivation from the original pre 10th century Gaelic O'Conbhuidhe meaning 'the descendant of yellow hound'. Quite why anybody should be called 'yellow hound' is open to conjecture, but almost all Irish surnames were originally the nickname of the chief of the clan. To show that this is far from unusual and not uncomplimentary, the famous name 'Kennedy' for instance, translates as 'ugly head', a description far removed from the image cultivated by some American nameholders. The word 'con' meaning hound, appears in many Irish surnames, and is usually interpreted as meaning a fast runner or a messenger, but without having actually been present when the name was originally given out a thousand or more years ago, it is very difficult to make precise translations. It is known that the nameholders suffered greatly during the infamous Potato Famine of 1846 - 1848. Amongst the records of the emigrants who left Ireland for New York was Marla Conboy, on the ship Spartan of Liverpool, on June 22nd 1847, and only two days later on June 22nd James Conboy, who sailed on the ship Christiana, also of Liverpool.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017