This notable Irish surname, widespread in the counties of Donegal, Derry and Cork, is a form of the pre 10th century Old Gaelic O'hEigceartaigh, from the personal byname "Eigceartach". This has the strange literal meaning of 'unjust', and may refer to the original nameholder or chief who was considered to have been unjustly treated. The principal sept of O'hEigceartaigh were members of the Cineal Eoghan, that is a group of people who claimed descent from Eoghan, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, a 4th century High King of Ireland. This sept was located on the borders of the present counties of Donegal and Derry, and by the 14th century, the barony of Loughinsholin in County Derry was their chief habitat. The surname was also numerous in Inishowen in County Donegal, and far away in the baronies of Barrymore and Carbery West in county of Cork, where a branch had settled. Over the centuries O'hEigceartaigh acquired many forms including: O'Heagertie, O'Hagirtie, O'Hagerty, Hagerty, Hegarty, Haggarty and Haggerty. Early examples of recordings taken from surviving records include those of James, the son of William and Jane Haggerty, who was christened at Donaghmore, County Tyrone, on February 14th 1779, and that of the marriage of Catherine Haggerty to John Aitkin took place at St. Luke's, Old Charlton, Kent, England on April 14th 1829. The family coat of arms has the blazon of a silver field charged with an oak tree eradicated proper, on a red chief three birds argent, beaked and legged sable. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Maolmuire O'Hegarty in 1602. He was a member of O'Neill's army, and is recorded in the annals of the battle of Kinsale of that year.
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