Historic Trinkets

The Family Name of


This interesting Irish name is an anglicised form of ' Carraghamhna 'generally found as Carron or Carroon and usually prefixed ' Mac '. The name derives from 'gamhan' meaning 'calf' and 'carr' - a rock. One of the many unusual features of Growney is that it is usually prefixed ' O ' rather than ' Mac ' but this is one of the delightful complexities of Irish names.

The name originates in Co. Westmeath, being recorded in the Irish census of 1659 as O'Gramhna, although the main clan of MacCarron is almost exclusively from Ulster.

The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margaret Growney (aged 18) which was dated 1846 on a ships register to New York from Liverpool, during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837 - 1900).

Birth Certificates held with our family show that a Margaret Growney had twins, Mary and James Growney, Mary was born at 4 pm and James was born at 5 pm on 24 November 1857 at Springfield Street, Liverpool. Their parents were James and Margaret Growney. Both parents signed their names with an X.
James was a general labourer and Margaret's former surname was Tully.

History Point!

Family names as hereditary surnames did not come into general use until after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Norman's introduced National taxation to England which they called the POLL TAX (Poll=Head), in consequence the need arose for surnames for identification purposes.

Scotland, Ireland and Wales obtained formal records later than England, and this is reflected in the recording of names. All surnames of every Country have been subject to changes owing to dialect, Civil War and in many cases poor spelling!


Some more History of the name... (added 14.3.09)

With Acknowledgement to ...



Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland
IX. The Gaels

......were dispersed as a result of the Anglo-Norman invasion, and some of them settled afterwards in Tipperary.

The Fir Teathbha ("men of Teffia," an ancient semi-independent district covering a wide territory along the River Shannon and the north of Lough Ree in what is now the south of County Longford) trace their descent back to Maine, son of Nial of the Nine Hostages. Their original clan-territory embraced a great portion of what is now County Westmeath and also what is now the barony of Kilcoursey in the present County Offaly. Their chief representatives in later times were the O’Caharneys or Foxes of Muintear Tad hgain; also the Corca Adhaimh or the O’Dalys; also the MacAwleys; Muintear Mhaoilsionna or the MacCarons, and finally the O’Brennans.

The Muintear Tadhgain (descendants of Tadhgain, ninth of the line of Maine), the O’Caharneys or O’Kearneys (O Catharnaigh) also known as the Foxes (Sionnach), were originally chiefs of all Teffia, but in later times (after the Anglo-Norman invasion) their territory was restricted to Muintear Tadhgain, now the barony of Kilcoursey in Offaly. They were known by the surname of Sionnach, or Fox, from the cognomen of their ancestor, Catharnach Sionnach (Caharney the Fox), who was slain in the year 1084. The head of the family was known by the title of "An Sionnach" or the fox. It was one of the men of An Sionnach that assassinated the Norman de Lacy for making unnegotiated encroachments into O’Caharney territory. In the sixteenth century the head of the family was knighted and fell in with the English under Queen Elizabeth I.

The MacAwleys (Mac Amhalghaidh) were, prior to the English conquest of the sixteenth century, lords of a wide territory known as Calry (Calraighe) which in its broadest extent comprised land in the west of County Westmeath and north of County Offaly, but which was centered on Ballyloughloe in Westmeath. This territory was known to the English as MacGawley’s Country. The MacCarons (Mac Carrghamhna, formerly Mac Giolla Ultain) descend from Carrghamhain, grandson of Giolla Ultain, great-grandson of Maoilsionna (whose name means "chief of the Shannon"), from whom they get their clan-name of Muintear Mhaoilsionna. They thus originally commanded a terrritory on the east side of the River Shannon in Westmeath, and it is there that the MacCarons, or Growneys (O Gramhna, a corruption of "Mac Carrghamhna") are found in later times. Their territory was known by the name of Cuircne, now the barony of Kilkenny West in northwest County Westmeath. These lands passed into the possession of the Dillons not long after the AngloNorman invasion of the twelfth century, though the MacCarons maintained some independence as a clan down to the seventeenth century. In 1578 the English government granted one of them the office of "chief sergeant of his nation" along with lands in the "ploughland of Kilmacaron, which of old belonged to the chief of the nation of M’Caron."