This is an ancient Irish surname from the area around the city of Waterford. Originally spelt O'Crotaigh, and it is claimed, a sept or branch of the famous Clan O'Brien, the surname is a nickname, and one given to the first chief of the clan. The meaning is understood to be 'hunch back', or at least a reference to a physical deformity. This is the usual practice in many Gaelic surnames, the first chief of the Kennedys was known as 'Thick head', from the pre 10th century 'ceann eidigh', and this was retained as the subsequent surname. As to when the Crotty's became a separate clan from the O'Briens is not known, but the surname as 'Crottagh' was first recorded in 'Petty's Census of Ireland' in 1659, the nameholders (quote) 'being numerous in the baronies of Coshmore and Coshbride', in County Waterford. Unfortunately research into the origins of many Irish surnames has been greatly hampered by the destruction of the Dublin Records Office by the IRA in the Civil War of 1922. This loss included almost the whole of the country's written heritage through registers dating back to the 12th century and earlier. This act of vandalism is probably unparalled even by the 'exploits' of this self styled and undemocratic organisation. Two of the early nameholders that history has recorded come from totally entirely different spheres of influence. The first was William Crotty, a highwayman of some style, and around whom the usual cluster of liekable legends have grown. However good his intentions, if indeed they were, like most of his brotherhood his life ended prematurely at Cork in 1742 when he was hanged!. Rather less contentious was Bartholomew Crotty 1755(?) - 1846, the rector of the Jesuit College, Lisbon, Portugal in 1790, and later in 1827, bishop of Cloyne and Ross, in Ireland.
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