This is an anglicized form of an Olde Gaelic name O Fiannaidh - composed of the elements 'O' meaning a 'grandson (of)' or 'male descendant' and 'Fianna' - a 'soldier'. The main O Fiannaidh clan was located in the parish of Easkey, Co. Sligo. A smaller sept of the Feen(e)ys (who write their name O Fidhne in Irish) resided in Co. Galway. The name is, in fact, very numerous in Connacht and the clan have given their name to Ballyfeeny in Co. Roscommon. The first element 'bally' coming from the Gaelic 'baile' meaning a 'town'. Mary daughter of John Fenney was christened on April 9th, 1654 at Acton by Nantwich, Cheshire, while one Thomas Phennah was christened on March 7th 1742 at Churton Heath, Cheshire. The name was probably introduced into England by Irish immigrants looking for work in the major cities in England. Michael, John and Mary Fenney, aged 32, 28 and 19 yrs., left Liverpool for New York on board the "Marmion" on November 28th 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O Feinneadha or O Fighne which was dated circa 1600 - 'The Annals of Connacht'. during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 ' 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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