52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 1. Foundations. Fahy/ Fahey Ancestors.

I took a few weeks off from my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blog posts. I was quite busy working and volunteering for The Salvation Army during the latter part of December. So, I am now beginning again now that it is a new year and new prompts. This year we have more options, we have a theme each month and prompts each week. For January, the theme is Foundations. Also, this first week of January the prompt is also the word Foundations. Additional information about this week’s prompt: “Some ways you might interpret this include focusing on the person who sparked your interest in family history, a builder in your family tree, or the person who is the bedrock of your family.

I spent quite a bit of time going through all the surnames of my direct ancestors in my family trees (a daunting task!) looking up the meanings of each surname that I had not done this prior. I got to the letter “f” and to the surname Fahey/Fahey (Fay), and I realized that I should have thought of it right away, I already knew that the meaning of the surname is related to the word FOUNDATION!

Graphic from Irish Origenes

The surname Fahy/Fahey is Irish and is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Ó Fathaidh or Ó Fathaigh meaning ‘descendant of Fathadh’, which is a personal name derived from fothadh ‘base’, ‘foundation’. This name is sometimes Anglicized as Green(e) as a result of erroneous association with faithche ‘lawn’. (1 & 2)

The name still has a very strong association with County Galway, Ireland, where the historic homeland was situated. The area of the family’s power was around the modern town of Loughrea in the south of the county, and they retained their property in the region until the catastrophe of the seventeenth century. The surname is still most plentiful in this area, despite the upheavals and migrations which have spread the name quite widely throughout Ireland. (2)

Interesting to listen below as to how the surname Fahey/Fahy is pronounced in Irish, whereas in American English it came to be pronounced Fay-He thus why my ancestor, eventually after several decades in America, dropped the ‘h’ and began spelling his surname as Fay.

The words base and foundation refer to anything upon which a structure is built and upon which it rests, the basis or groundwork, the act of founding, setting up, establishing. My ancestor Daniel Wolfetone Fahey/Fahy (Fay) and his kin were certainly our Irish foundation ancestors here in America.

For more information about my Fahy/Fahey ancestors and related lines, I have provided links below to a few other blog entries that I have written about my paternal Irish family.

Strength. My Irish Ancestor Daniel Wolfetone Fahey/Fahy (Fay) from County Galway, Ireland.

My ☘️ Irish ☘️ Joynt and Larkin Ancestors from Galway and Clare. Related Irish lines: Fahy/Fahey, O’Donnell, Nestor, Hanberry/Hansberry.


  1. Fahey Name Meaning – Ancestry.com
  2. Fahey surname history

If you’d like to learn more about the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project, please visit here:

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Or join the Facebook group Generations Cafe.

If you use any information from my blog posts as a reference or source, please give credit and provide a link back to my work that you are referencing. Unless otherwise noted, my work is © Anna A. Kasper 2011-2022. All rights reserved. Thank you.

About Anna Kasper, ACDP

I am an avid Genealogist. I am currently a student at Phillips Theological Seminary (one of the few Catholics!). I am an ACDP - Associate of the Congregation of Divine Providence (Sisters of Divine Providence of Texas). If you are unfamiliar with what a Religious Associate (also called an Affiliate, Consociate, Oblate, Companion) is exactly, visit my about me page for more information. In community college, I majored in American Sign Language/Deaf Studies, and Interdisciplinary Studies when at university.
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7 Responses to 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 1. Foundations. Fahy/ Fahey Ancestors.

  1. Barb LaFara says:

    I recall seeing actress Tina Fay on Finding Your Roots and her Irish immigrant ancestor spelled the surname as Fahey. Am I remembering that right? Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lady Anna K says:

    I watch that program and didn’t remember this, so I looked it up: Her paternal grandfather, Heinrich “Henry” Fey, was the son of German immigrants, and her paternal grandmother, Mildred Ada (Ritchie), had English, German, and Northern Irish ancestry. Tina’s mother is Greek, born in Piraeus, to Constantine “Gus” Xenakes and Vasiliki Kourelakos.


  3. Anne Young says:

    A nice coincidence of name meaning and the #52ancestors topic 🙂


  4. sbarnold says:

    Fascinating! I did not know this about the surname Fahy/Fahey. My maiden name is Fay and as far as I know we’ve always spelled it this way, though many have told me it is derived from Fahey. My Fay’s come from county Cavan and sadly that’s the extent of my knowledge at this time.


    • Anna Kasper says:

      In my line the name was changed to Fay after being in USA for several decades but was Fahy/Fahey when they were in Ireland. I do see that Fay is found in Irish records in County Caven. And I just read “The Norman-derived variant of Fay is the most common origin of the name in Ireland, and is predominantly found in counties Westmeath, Cavan and Monaghan. However, the surname also arose independently in Ireland from the Anglicization of two Gaelic surnames.” So, yours could be of French origins originally or from one of the two Gaelic surnames Ó Fiaich meaning ‘descendant of Fiach’ (a nickname meaning ‘raven’,) and Ó Fathaigh meaning ‘descendant of Fathadh’ (a personal name derived from fothadh ‘base’ or‘foundation’). Most with Fahy/Fahey surname in Galway, the roots are the latter, base/foundation.


  5. Auntie Jen says:

    I really enjoyed your blog post! I have Irish ancestors, but I can’t trace them into Ireland. Their surname is Hill which is very American and not so much Irish. Maybe one day I will find the link.


  6. Pingback: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. February Theme: Branching Out. Week 7: Landed. My Contentious and Quarrelsome Mayflower Pilgrim Ancestor Edward Doty. | Anna's Musings & Writings

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