This interesting name is of Irish origin, and although found in Scotland in the forms of Roney and Ronnay, is a variant of Rooney, the Anglicization of the Gaelic "O'Ruanaidh", translating as "the descendant of the champion", the prefix "O" denoting grandson or male descendant. The (O)Rooneys were an ancient sept of Dromore, County Down, where Ballyroney locales them. Today the name is principally to be found in Ulster, where there is a place called Rooney's island in County Donegal. The O'Rooneys were a literary family, producing a long line of poets from 1079 (see below) until William Rooney (1873-1901), poet and Gaelic Revivalist. In Dromore Parish, County Down, are recorded the christenings of Anne Jane Roney on April 25th 1790, and John Roney on February 21st 1796. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ceallach O'Rooney (chief poet of Ireland), which was dated 1079, in County Down, Ireland, during the reign of King William 1, known as "William the Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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