Ireland was one of the first countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames: they came into being fairly generally in the eleventh century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. ROONEY originated in County Down where Ballyrooney provinces locates them. This name is now numerous in all provinces except Munster. In West Ulster and North Connacht, Rooney is often an abreviation of Mulrooney. The name is O'Ruanaidh in Irish. The Normans had three kinds of names from different sources. First were names their Viking ancestors brought from Norway to France (8th Century). That's why they were Normans (Northmen). Second were names they found in France.The Franks (French) had come from Franconia in Germany and had crossed the Rhine to occupy the Roman Province of Gaul (5th Century) and called it France. They mixed Latin and German to create French, translating old Germanic names into it, ignoring existing Latin and Celtic (pre-Roman) names.The Viking Normans who also ditched their own language (except for the names) adopted French names as well. The third kind of Norman names were religious. They became Christians and the most religious of them used Saints names. The Normans between 1066 and 1170 conquered England, southern Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Sicily and southern Italy. They were followed everywhere by other French families and some Bretons (the pre-Roman Celts left in north-west France). To this day their names are found in Royalty, Politics and Big Business in these countries and in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States which their descendants colonised. Many Highland families migrated from Scotland to Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries, and were granted the lands of the native Catholic Irish. People heard of the attractions of the New World, and many left Ireland to seek a better life sailing aboard the fleet of ships known as the 'White Sails', but much illness took its toll with the overcrowding of the ships which were pestilence ridden. From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagons to the prairies, and many loyalists went to Canada about the year 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.
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