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!
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.
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