This interesting surname is of Irish origin, and is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Tighearnaigh", translating as "descendant of Tighearnach", from the Gaelic prefix "O", meaning grandson or male descendant of, and the byname "Tighearnach" meaning "lord" or "master". Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, revered elders, or from some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "O" (as above), or "Mac", denoting "son of". The surname is especially widespread in County Galway, whereas the earliest recording is found in County Limerick in the early 18th Century (see below). In the modern idiom the surname can be found recorded as Tierney, Tierny, O'Tierney, Tearny, Tearney and Terney. Recordings from various Church Registers include: the christening of James, son of John and Ann Tierny, on June 4th 1741, at Limerick Cathedral, County Limerick; the christening of Penelope Tierney on April 17th 1754, at St. Olave's, Hart Street, London; and the christening of Michael James, son of James and Anne Tierney, on July 21st 1754, also at St. Olave's, Hart Street. James Turney, aged 22 yrs, a famine emigrant, sailed aboard the "Sheridan" from Liverpool, bound for New York in May 1846. The family Coat of Arms is on a silver shield a black chevron with a red chief, the Crest being an oak tree proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Tierny, which was dated 1735, marriage to Ann Young, at Limerick Cathedral, County Limerick, during the reign of King George 11 of England, known as "The Last Warrior King", 1727 - 1760. 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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