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History of the Hennessee Name

◦The Hennessee Name: The name Hennessee originally appeared in Gaelic as O hAonghusa, which means "descendant of Angus". Just like the English language, the Gaelic language of Ireland was not standardized in the Middle Ages. Therefore, one's name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origins of the Hennessee family name include Hennessey, Henasey, Henasay, Henchy, Henchey, Henchie, Hinchy, Hinchey, Hinchie, Henesey, Henessy, Henesy, Hennesey and many more. In early times the name was often spelled phoneticly. First found in County Offaly where they held a family seat from very ancient times. They were a family who were lords of Clann Cholgan,

"Wiseman Family and Allied Lines" by Eugene M. Wiseman, p. 448: "The Hennessy family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon. The founder of the family was Eogan, ancestor of the Northern HyNials, and son of Nial of the Nine Hostages, King of Ireland, 379 A.D. The Ancient name was Heodhasas, and signifies "Despair". It was taken from Aengus, a chieftain of the clan. The possessions of the sept were located in the present counties of Tipperary, Westmeath, and Kings. The O'Hennessys were Chiefs of Hy-Mac-Uais, now the Barony of Moygoish, in Westmeath. The O'Hennessys were also Chiefs of Clan Colgan. This district was situated in the barony of Lower Phillipstown, adjoining the conspicuous hill of Gorgham, in King's Country. (From "Genealogy of Irish Families by John Rooney, p. 286)"

"Irish Pedigrees" p. 483: gives a description of the coat of arms of the Clan Colgan of King's Country, Ireland.

"The Heritage Book of Burke County, NC" by The Burke County Historical Society, p. 329: "The Hennessee (O'hennessa, Hennesey, Hency) family is of Irish decent, a sect of the Colgon Clan of Ireland. They have been in Burke County, NC for at least 200 years, possibly longer. Patrick Hennessee, Sr. was the beginning of the family in Burke County.

"Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland" by C. Thomas Cairney, p. 82: "The Ui Failghe, closely related to the Eile, had probably separated from them by A.D. 516, the year of the defeat of the Eile at Druim Derge by the Southern Ui Niell. The Ui Failge descend from Failge Berraide, who a few years earlier had won the battle of Fremainn Mide (A.D. 510). This victory probably accounts for their being able to remain in the more northerly portion of Offaly while their cousins, the Eile, were forced to migrate south. The chief families of the Ui Failghe include the O’Connors of Offaly, the O’Mooneys, MacColgans, O’Hennesseys, O’Holohans, O’Dempseys and O’Dunnes.

The O’Connors (O Conchobhair) of Offaly were a powerful and warlike sept of the northeast of what is now County Offaly. They descend from Conchobhar, son of Fionn, Lord of Offaly, who died in A.D. 979. From their stronghold at Dangan, now Philipstown, they successfully defended their territory from the English of the Pale (i.e. County Dublin) for more than 300 years. They were finally dispossessed by the English about 1550. The O’Mooneys (O Maonaigh) of around Ballymooney in County Offaly are a branch of the O’Connors.

The Clann Cholgan included the families of MacColgan, O’Hennessy and O’Holohan. The MacColgans (Mac Colgan) were chiefs of the territory around Kilcolgan in the extreme northeast of County Offaly. The O’Hennessys (O hAonghusa) shared the lordship of Clann Cholgan (i.e., their clan-name was applied to the territory they possessed) with their kinsmen the O’Holohans (O hUallachain). Their territory comprised the present barony of Lower Philipstown, a district adjoining the hill of Croghan, near Kilbeggan, and lying just east of the O’Connors in northeast Offaly. A branch of the O’Hennessys were chiefs of Gailenga Beg, the district between Dublin and Tara, until they were dispersed into Offaly as a result of the Anglo-Norman invasion. Some of the O’Hennessys spread early into Tipperary and Glare. In County Glare they are now known as Henchy or Hensey." Note: This researcher found this book to be full of history of the first Hennessee families.

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