This interesting surname is the Anglicized form of the ancient Gaelic "O'Laomdha", which is composed of the Gaelic prefix "O", male descendant of, and a personal name from "laomdha", bent, and which was later found as "O'Leime". This was the name of an Old Gaelic sept of Upper Ormond, which now forms part of the modern counties of Kilkenny and north Tipperary, although the surname itself has always been closely associated with ipperary. The name has often been confused with O'Leany, which is a rare Munster name from "O'Laighnigh", meaning "male descendant of the Leinsterman". Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, revered elders, or from some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "O", as mentioned above, or "Mac", denoting "son of". There were fifteen families called O'Leamy in the Tipperary Hearth Money Rolls, circa 1650, while Leany is listed as one of the principal Irish surnames in the barony of Eliogarty, County Tipperary, though in this case Leany has been possibly confused with Leamy. The family appears to have held its lands in north Tipperary throughout centuries of confiscation. Michael Leamy, aged 19 yrs., was an Irish famine immigrant arriving in New York, aboard the "Waterloo" from Liverpool on May 22nd 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O'Leamy (no known personal name), which was dated circa 1657, in the "Tipperary Hearth Money Rolls", during the reign of Oliver Cromwell, known as "The Great Protector", 1649 - 1658. 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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