This ancient gaelic (Irish) O' Cnaimhsighe is the origin of this surname, now found in modern spellings of Kneafsey, Neaphsy, Neecy, Crampsy, Crampsey and Cramsie. The name is originally from Donegal and rarely found outside that county. In the earliest of all Irish census in 1659, the name was found recorded as O' Knawsie where the nameholders were specifically recorded in Irishowen. the origin of the name is very unusual in that it is a matronymic for the female "Cnaim" which normally means "the bone" but not in this case, plus a transposed diminutive from "siog" to give "the son of the descendant of Cnaim".The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Philip MacShane Y'Neasy, which was dated 1584, a soldier serving with Viscount Roche, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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