This very interesting name is of pure Irish origin. Recorded in the forms of Keaveney, Kevane, Keveney, Kevany, Geaveny, and even Geany, and confusingly found with or without both O' and Mac prefixes, it derives from the pre 10th century O'Geibheannaigh. This was a Gaelic chieftains name which is believed to translate as "the son of the descendant of St. Caomhan". This early priest was the Abbot of Glendalough in the sixth Century a.d. The clan is believed to originate from the as early as 971 a.d. when the first nameholder, it is claimed, was killed in battle. The clan is from the provine of Connacht and although nameholders are recorded as living in both County Mayo and County Galway in 1659 we have no individual details. The destruction of the early registers of Ireland in 1922 by the IRA means that it is difficult to obtain precise recordings before 1865. Those that we have include Catherine Keaveny, who was baptised at Castlereach, Roscommon, on the 28th February 1865, whilst earlier in 1846 the family of John Kevanny (as spelt) emigrated to New York to try to avoid the worst excesses of the famine of that year. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agatha Cavaney. which was dated April 1st 1697, married Edward Trim at Antrim, Ulster, during the reign of King William 111, of Orange and England, 1689 - 1703. 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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