This interesting surname is of Irish origin, and is an Anglicised form of the Gaelic "O'Searcaigh", composed of the elements "O", male descendant of, with "Searcach", a byname meaning "beloved". The name originated in County Tyrone, and is now to be found located in considerable numbers in various parts of the northern half of Ireland, chiefly in counties Roscommon, Donegal and Louth. It appears as O'Serky as well as O'Sharky in the 17th Century Hearth Money Rolls of County Monaghan; but the prefix "O", dropped in the 18th Century, has not been resumed to any extent. Seamus O'Sharkey, a Gaelic poet of the O'Naghten circle in the 1720's, wrote a love poem based on the fact that his surname derives from the Irish word "searc", meaning darling. James, son of James and Elizabeth Sharkey, was christened on November 19th 1727, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London. Recordings from Irish Church Registers include: the marriage of Philip Sharkey and Mary McGuire on November 4th 1787, at Dunleer, County Louth, and the marriage of Margaret Sharkey and Patrick Croaghan on August 23rd 1789, at Templemichael, County Longford. Anne Sharkey, aged 25 yrs., a famine emigrant, departed from Liverpool aboard the "Jane", bound for New York, in May 1845. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Buidhe O'Sergoid, chief priest of Trinity Island, which was dated 1578, in the "Annals of Loch Ce", during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 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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