Recorded in many forms including O' Fee, O' Fay, Fee, Fay, and Foy as well as diminutives such as Fagan, Fegan, Feehan, and Feighan, this interesting surname is of Irish origin. The origin is said to be from the pre 10th century Gaelic O' Faich, meaning 'The male descendant of the Raven', with Raven being an early personal name. Most Irish clan names originate from a nickname for the first chief, and in that respect Raven is one of the more polite examples. It is said that the name holders as Fee and Fay are mainly from County Armagh in Ulster, and this is possible although if so they would seem to be overlap with English settlers in the same area also called Fay. However the Annals of the Four Masters has a different story and claim that they are from Derrybusk in County Fermanagh. If correct they were 'erenaghs' or hereditary church administrators as far back as 1480. As O' Fee they were recorded in the Census of Ireland in 1659 as being the principal name in that barony. The most famous name holder was Cardinal Thomas O' Fiach, although he was more usually known as Tom Fee. He was both Archbishop of of Armagh and President of Maynooth College in Dublin. He died in 1926. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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