Ireland is one of the earliest sources of the development of patronymic names in northern Europe. Irish Clan or bynames can be traced back to the 4th century B.C. and Mac (son of) and O (grandson or ancestor of) evolved from this base, the original literal meaning of which has been lost due to the absence of written records and linguistic ambivalences which subtly but inexorably became adopted through usage. Genealogists and lexographers accept that the patronymic base does not refer to a location, quite the contrary. The use of the prefix 'Bally' (town of) attaching to the base name, identifying the location. The base root was also adopted by people residing in the demographic area without a common ancestor. These groups called 'Septs' were specially prevalent in Ireland. The first Normans arrived in Ireland in the 12th and 13th centuries to form an alliance with the King of Leinster. Under Elizabeth I in the 16th century, settlers from England established themselves around Dublin, then under English control and Presbyterian Scots emigrated to Ulster, introducing English and Scottish roots. The surname of MAHAFFEY was derived from the Gaelic MacDhubhashith. It is one of the oldest Gaelic personal names. Early records of the name mention Johannes Macdufthi, who appears as a charter witness in Dunfriesshire in the reign of Alexander II. Thomas Macdoffy was documented in the year 1296. Morphe mcphee de Colwinsay was cited for treason in the year 1531. Dubhsith McFee was a tenant of Bar in Islay, Scotland, in the year 1541. The name has many variant spellings which include macAffie, M'Aphie, Makfeithe and McIphie. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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