This curiously foreign-sounding name, also rendered as Comaskey, Comeskey, and Cumaskey, in fact, derives from the Irish Mac Cumascaigh, the prefix Mac having invariably been lost. The family was originally located in County Monaghan whence they spread into north Leinster. Families are still found today in County Monaghan, and the name is well represented in Dublin. In the last century, the Registrar of Births reported the use of the normally quite distinct surname Comerford, interchangeably with Cumiskey and its variants in Cavan Union and in Granard Union, County Longford. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.The only man of the name appearing in the Lists of Army Personnel in the l7th century, found in the Ormond Manuscript, was a Roger COMMOSKEY, of Dundalk, which is near the homeland of the sept. It is reported by some experts, that in the l890 records of Ireland, the name of COMERFORD was used by some families. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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