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Getty Coat of Arms / Getty Family Crest

Getty Coat of Arms / Getty Family Crest

The surname of GETTY is exclusively a County Derry and Antrim name, and is a known abbreviation of the Scottish Dalgetty, so this may be accepted as its usual origin. Mag Eitigh is the usual form in Ireland. The tradition of surnames in Ireland developed spontaneously, as the population increased and the former practice, first of single names and then of ephemeral patronymics or agnomina of the nickname type proved insufficiently definitive. At first the surname was formed by prefixing 'Mac' to the fathers Christian name or 'O 'to that of a grandfather or an even earlier ancestor. In the latter part of the sixteenth century, an influx of settlers arrived under the patronage of Elizabeth I of England, and colonized the country beyond the 'Pale', the area around Dublin that was the only part firmly under English control. At the same time , groups of Presbyterian settlers were encouraged to migrate from Scotland to Ulster, thus establishing the distinctively Scottish surnames of Ulster. During the long centuries of English domination, Irish surnames were crudely Anglicized either phonetically or by translation. In the 19th century, political repression and famine combined to force many Irish people to seek other countries in which to live. Large numbers emigrated to the United States, where strong emotional ties to Ireland are still preserved in many families, while others found themselves transported, willingly or otherwise, to Australia, often after having first tried to make a living in England. Irish surnames are now very widely dispersed, and are common in England as well as in Ireland, the United States and Australia. A notable member of the name was Jean-Paul GETTY (1892-1976) the American oil executive, multi-millionaire and art collector, born in Minneapolis. After studying at Berkeley and Oxford GETTY entered the oil business in his early twenties and made a quarter of a million dollars in his first two years. His father (also a successful oil-man) died in 1930 leaving him 15 million dollars. He wrote several books including a history of the family oil business and two autobiographies 'My Life and Fortunes' (1963) and 'As I See It' (1976).


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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