Recorded as Mea, Meagh, Meah and Mee, this most interesting surname is of Irish origin. It is developed form of the Old Gaelic name O' Miadhaigh, composed of the prefix O', meaning male descendant of, and the personal name "Miadhach", the honourable one. It was first anglicized as O' Miey, and later as O' Mee, and sometimes May, although this is also an English settler surname. The sept itself was originally located in Teffia, County Westmeath, where they gave their name to the lands known as Clonyveey or Cluain Ui Mhiadhaigh, that is O'Mey's meadow. As was the case with most of the Irish septs in that area, they were later dispossessed by Norman families, and remained in their homeland only in humble positions, as is evidenced in the 16th century records. Conor O'Miey was one of the followers of Rory O'Donnell in Tirconnell, and today nameholders are to be found in Sligo and neighbouring counties, where Mea and Mee are the usual modern forms. John Meagh was an early recording in County Dublin, on September 1st 1654, whilst Bridget Mee, aged 17, was a servant girl who embarked on the ship "Devonshire" bound for New York on April 10th 1846. As a result she just missed the dreadful Irish famine which commenced that summer. A coat of arms depicting a chevron between three silver boars' heads erased, was granted to the Mee family of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Teag O' Miadhaigh. This was dated 1186, during the reign of Rory O'Connor, the High King of Ireland, 1166 - 1198. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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