This interesting surname, with variant spellings (O')Devanny, (O')Devany, (O')Denvenny and (O')Donveney is of Irish origin, and is an Anglicization of the Gaelic-Irish personal name "O'Duibheannaigh", meaning "descendant of Duibheannach", from "O", meaning grandson or male descendant of , and a personal name of uncertain origin, but may be derived from the elements "dubh", meaning "black", and "eanach", which is thought to mean a "marshy place". Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, revered elders, or from some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "O", as above, or "Mac", denoting "son of". The name is widespread in County Donegal and in the neighbouring counties in the Province of Connacht. Today it is one of the most popular names in the counties of Mayo and Leitrim. Recordings from English Church Registers include: the marriage of patrick Devanny and May Lane on December 1st 1823, at St. James's, Westminster, London, and the christening of Catherine Devanny on May 10th 1840, at Norfolk Row, Sheffield, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Conor Devanny, which was dated 1602, in "Records of County Mayo", Ireland, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England, known as "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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