Recorded in the spellings of Crampsey, Crampsy, Kneafsey, Neaphsy, Neecy, and Cramsie, this is an Irish surname of great antiquity. The origin is the pre 10th century personal name 'Cnaimhsighe', a name originally from County Donegal and rarely found elsewhere. In the earliest of all Irish national census and known as 'Petty's, undertaken in the year 1659, the surname was found recorded as O' Knawsie, the nameholders being specifically recorded in the village of Irishowen. The origin of the name is very unusual in that it is a matronymic, and derives from the female name"Cnaim", which normally means "the bone".To this has been added a transposed diminutive from "siog" to give "the son of the descendant of Cnaim". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Philip MacShane Y'Neasy, which was dated 1584. He was a soldier who served in the army lead by Viscount Roche, in rebellion against the rule of Queen Elizabeth 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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