This interesting surname, of Irish origin with variant spellings Donaghie, Donaghy, Donagy, Donaghey and Denaghy, is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "MacDonnchaidh", meaning "son of Donnchadh", a personal name composed of the elements "donn", brown, and "cath", meaning "battle". Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, revered elders, or from some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "O", meaning grandson or male descendant of, or "Mac", denoting "son of".The Ulster surname Donaghy is found mainly in Counties Tyrone and Derry, and the first recording dates back to the late 18th Century (see below). Recordings from Irish Church Registers include: the christening of Anne, daughter of John and Margaret Donaghy, on October 23rd 1803, at Donaghmore, County Tyrone; the marriage of Betty Donaghy and John McCarley in 1829, in the Diocese of Down and Connor and Dromore in the Ulster Province; and the christening of Barbara, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Donaghy, on July 31st 1840, at St. Anne's, Shankill, Belfast. Michael Donaghy, aged 26 yrs., a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the "John-Baring" bound for New York in April 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nathaniel Doneghy, which was dated 1798, witness at the christening of his daughter, Ann, at Donaghmore, County Tyrone, during the reign of King George 111 of England, known as "Farmer George", 1760 - 1820. 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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