This is a surname which is claimed by the Irish to be Scottish and by the Scots to be Irish but which may originally have been Norse Viking! Recorded in many spellings including MacCaffrey, MacCaffery, MacCafferty, MacCafferky, MacHaffy, MacAfee, MacFie, and in the "Mc" short forms, as well as Mahaffey, Mehaffey, Cafferty and Cafferky and others. In Scotland the spelling is MacCaffrae and MacCaffrey, whilst in Ireland it is claimed that they are part of the famous Clan MacGuires of Fermanagh, the town of Ballymacaffry in County Tyrone being named after them. The original Mac Gafraidh is believed to have been Gaelic spelling of a 9th century Viking introduction Godfrid or Godfrey. The surname has also been recorded in the phonetically correct Mac Goffrey, although this is now rare. Early recordings of the name are sparse, but this is mainly because of the destruction of almost all Irelands early registers by the IRA in 1922, when they occupied the Public Records Office in Dublin. This was no loss to the English, but a total loss of Ireland's heritage. Examples from surviving registers include Frank MacCaffrey, who was recorded as a witness at Virginia, County Cavan, on March 1st 1802, Anna Cafferky, the daughter of Patrick, christened at Kilkelly, County Mayo, on January 20th 1806, and Mgr. A Mahaffy who left Newry on the ship Ayrshire on April 13th 1847 bound for New York. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh MacCaffrey, which was dated 1659, recorded in "Petty's" hearth tax register of Ireland, during the reign of Richard Cromwell, known as "The Lord Protector", 1658 - 1659. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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