Early - what does Early surname mean?
Recorded in the spellings of O`Loughrey, Loughrey, Deloughrey, Early and Erley, this is an Irish surname of some very confused origins. Originally recorded almost entirely in the province of Ulster, it is believed to derive from several sources. The most popular etymology relates to a derived form of the pre 10th century O`Maolmocheirgh, translating as `the descendant of the early rising one`, shortened in the 16th century to O` Mulmogery and Mulmoher. It is claimed that the substitution to Early and Erley took place in the 18th century, through fact that in Gaelic `moch` means early and `eirghe`, rising! This does not explain how O`Loughrey come to be grouped under the same clan, and the only explanation that we can offer is that the original Early`s and Erley`s were in fact Norman French, coming to Ireland in 1170 with Strongbow, earl of Pembroke. This would explain the `De` prefix when it occures, whilst the later `Loughrey` is a Gaelic form of Early or Erley, in other words a reversal of Mulmoher to Early. As they say this is an unlikely tale, but that it what Ireland is all about, the unlikely becomes the usual! Early examples of the surname recordings include Robert Erley of Erleystown, County Tipperary, in 1303, and Teag O` Mulmoghery in the Composition Book of Connacht in 1585. Elizabeth Loughrey and her family, were paassengers on the ship `Georgia`, which left Belfast Lough for New Yok on May 8th 1846, to escape the Irish Potato Famine of that year.
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