This interesting surname is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O hAbhartaigh", the Gaelic prefix "O" meaning male descendant of plus the byname "Abhartaigh" believed to be from "abhar", "makings" in the sense of potential qualities or creativity. This old Connacht name is now, and always was, rare; however, it is well represented in a small area around the Co. Galway parishes of Kilmordaly and Craughwell. William O'Havorta is included in a list of Co. Galway "pardons" in 1584, and one O'Havarta occurs in the Strafford Inquisition of Mayo in 1635. Among the distinguished namebearers are Joseph Patrick Haverty (1794-1864), a portrait painter whose name is perpetuated in the Haverty Trust, which provides funds for the purchase of works by Irish artists, and his half brother Martin Haverty (1809-1887), a historian. Patrick Martin Haverty (1824-1901), the Galway born American publisher of many Irish historical and musical works, who took part in the Young Ireland movement at home and in the Civil War in America, has been described as the "best known Irishman in America". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O hAbartaig, Abbot of Mayo, which was dated 1095, Annals of Innis Fallen, during the reign of High Kings of Ireland "with opposition", 1022 - 1166. 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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