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O'gormley Coat of Arms / O'gormley Family Crest

O'gormley Coat of Arms / O'gormley Family Crest

The O'GORMLEY and families of the name O'Gormley were descended from the Ulster sept O'Gairmleadhaigh, whose early home and territory was in the North and South Raphoe baronies in County Donegal, but which migrated eastwards across the river Foyle in the counties of Derry and Tyrone, re-establishing themselves there in about the 14th century. There is still a considerable representation of Gormley families in County Tyrone. To the south of County Tyrone in the counties of Longford and Cavan, and also in County Antrim, where members of the family settled there is evidence that the name was confused with Gorman, while in the home county of Tyrone in Omagh Union, the Registrar of Births reported in the last century the use of the English surname Grimes interchangeably with Gormley. The Irish prefixes of Mac (son of) and O (grandson or descendant of) gave rise at an early date, to a set of fixed hereditary names in which the literal patronymic meaning was lost or obscured. These surnames originally signified membership of a clan, but with the passage of time, the clan system became less distinct, and surnames came to identify membership of what is called a 'sept' of people all living in the same locality, all bearing the same surname, but not necessarily descended from a common ancestor. Adoption of the name by people who did not otherwise have a surname and by their dependents was not uncommon. Later, nicknames were in some cases to supersede the original clan names. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (a sept deriving their name from GAIRM LADHAIGHS, a chieftan who ruled over a territory in the County Donegal, identical with the present Barony of Raphoe, from which they were driven by the O'Donnells, when they settled on the east side of the River Foyle, and retained a considerable estate there until the plantation of Ulster, 1609).

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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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