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'. One Dr. Thomas Feeny was Bishop of Killala from 1847 to 1873. In the modern idiom the name is also spelt Feeney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O Feinneadha or O Fighne which was dated C. 1600 - 'The Annals of Connacht'. during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England 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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