Recorded in many forms including O'Twomey, Twomey, Toomey, Twoomy, and Towmey, this interesting surname is Irish. It is a developed form of the ancient Gaelic name O'Tuama, translating as 'the descendant of Tuama'. This was a personal name probably derived from the word 'tuaim', meaning a hill or a small mountain, with the prefix O' denoting 'descendant of'. The name Twomey, usually without the prefix O, is now always associated with County Cork, and when found elsewhere it is generally spelt Toomey. In the Census of 1659, O'Twomey appears as the second most numerous surname in the barony of Barretts, County Cork, Murphy being number one. Amongst the recorded examples in London is the marriage between Johannes Toomey and Helena Huggin on December 30th 1797 at Lincoln's Inn Fields, Roman Catholic Church, Holborn. The most notable name bearer is Sean O'Tuama (1706-1775), one of the Maigue Gaelic Poets. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Saray Tomye, which was dated October 27th 1564, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st of England, 1558-1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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