Origin of the Name Downey
The ancient history of the name Downey
was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives.
Over the centuries Surnames developed a wide number of variants. Different spellings of the same name can be traced back to an original root. Additionally when a bearer of a name emigrated it was not uncommon that their original name would be incorrectly transcribed in the record books at their new location. Surnames were also often altered over the years based on how they sounded phonetically and depending on the prevailing political conditions it may have been advantageous to change a name from one language to another.
Variants of the name Downey
include McEldowney, Doheny and Muldowney. The O'Downeys were of some importance in early mediaeval times when there were two distinct septs of O'Dunadhaigh. Though the prefix O is now quite rare in English in the case of Downey, in the Irish language O'Dunadhaigh is sometimes MacDunadhaigh in County Galway . This, of course, would be anglicized as MacDowney. MacDowney, however, which is actually to be found in Ulster , though a rare name even there, is the anglicized form of quite a different surname, Mac Giolla Domhnaigh, usually rendered MacEldowney in English and sometimes simply Downey. As well as the Galway sept there was a more important sept of O'Dunadhaigh which was located in Luachair of which their Chiefs were Lords. They are mentioned as such in records by O'Herrin, who died in 1420.
The Downey coat of arms came into existence centuries ago. The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this. The new art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own coat of arms, including all Downey descendants.