Recorded as Corbally and Corballis, this is an Irish surname. it is almost unique in being one of the very few which is locational. That is to say one which is named after a place. Almost all Irish surnames are or rather were in their origins, nicknames or patronymics, and related to the first chief of the clan or the first nameholders, usually the same person. However the name in this case is even more confused because there at at least two places called Corballis and no less than five called Corbally. According to the research by the late famous etymologist Edward MacLysaght, this is a surname which was common to County Louth, although there is no place called Corbally or Corballis in the county. This may seem odd, but does make sense and follows the general pattern of European locational surnames. That is to say that it was a name given to people after they left their original village to move somewhere else. In so doing they took or more likely were given as their surname, the name of their former home. In most other countries this lead inevitably to the development of 'sounds like' spellings, but strangely for an Irish surname this does not seem to be the case here. Corbally means the town (bally) of (probably) the O' Cora clan, originally from Ulster. John Corballis was a witness at Tallaght, County Dublin, on January 10th 1864, and Patrick and Catherine Corbally were recorded at Ardee, County Louth, on January 1st 1865.
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