The Clan/Sept History
The history of the name O Rafferty begins long before Irish names were
translated into English. The original Gaelic form of O Rafferty was O
Raithbheartaigh, which was modified to O Raifeartaigh. The surname is derived
from the words rath bheartach meaning prosperity wielder.
Because early scribes and church officials often spelled names as they sounded,
a person could have many various spellings of his name.Many different spelling
variations of the surname O Rafferty were found in the archives researched.
These included Rafferty, O'Rafferty, Raferty, Raffhery, Raffthery, Raftery,
Raverty, Roarty and many more.
First found in county Donegal.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, thousands of Irish Families fled an Ireland that
was forcibly held through by England through its imperialistic policies. A large
portion of these families crossed the Atlantic to the shores of North America.
The fate of these families depended on when they immigrated and the political
allegiances they showed after they arrived. Settlers that arrived before the
American War of Independence may have moved north to Canada at the war's
conclusion as United Empire Loyalists. Such Loyalists were granted land along
the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Those that fought for the
revolution occasionally gained the land that the fleeing Loyalist vacated. After
this period, free land and an agrarian lifestyle were not so easy to come by in
the East. So when seemingly innumerable Irish immigrants arrived during the
Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s, free land for all was out of the
question. These settlers were instead put to work building railroads, coal
mines, bridges, and canals. Whenever they came, Irish settlers made an
inestimable contribution to the building of the New World. Early North American
immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name O
Rafferty or a variant listed above, including: Michael and Mary Raferty who
settled in Passmaquodie Maine in 1823; Anne, Bridge, Catherin, Ellen, John,
Mary, Owen, Pat, Thomas Rafferty all settled in Quebec in 1849.
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