The Clan/Sept History
The Irish name O Heyne was originally written in a Gaelic form as O hEidhin,
which may be derived from "eidhean" meaning "ivy."
People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their
name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those
scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one
person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the
illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the
surname O Heyne that are preserved in archival documents are O'Heyne, O'Haine,
Hayne, Heyne and others.
First found in county Galway, where they were seated from very ancient times.
Irish Families left their homeland in astonishing numbers during the 19th
century in search of a better life. Although individual reasons vary, most of
these Irish families suffered from extreme poverty, lack of work opportunities,
and exorbitant rents in their homeland. Many decided to travel to Australia or
North America in the hopes of finding greater opportunities and land. The Irish
immigrants that came to North America initially settled on the East Coast, often
in major centers such as Boston or New York. But like the many other cultures to
settle in North America, the Irish traveled to almost any region they felt held
greater promise; as a result, many Irish with gold fever moved all the way out
to the Pacific coast. Others before that time left for land along the St.
Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula, or the Maritimes as United Empire
Loyalists, for many Irish did choose to side with the English during the
American War of Independence. The earliest wave of Irish migration, however,
occurred during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. An examination of early
immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the O Heyne
name: Patrick O'Heyne who arrived in New York State in 1849.
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