A note on Haigneys
This Irish surname is derived from the Gaelic Ó h-Éignigh, and has been anglicized from here to kingdom come and back. Therefore, in addition to “Haigneys”, you can find Heagneys, Higneys, Hagneys, Heighneys, Hegneys, Haighneys and Heigneys, for starters. And that’s before the census takers in the New York counties of Albany, Rensselaer and Kings started in on it. (My great-great grandfather Martin has been listed as “Haggemy” and “Halgely.”)
The Irish Times has a pretty nifty surname search chart about the Irish occurrences of this name, noting that the Haigney spelling variant is extremely rare.
Also, if you’re truly addicted to name variations, check out this chart from the Irish Family History Foundation. Fun! Laughs! Census mayhem!
My Haigney line came to America circa 1850 with Martin, my great-great-grandfather. When Martin enlisted in the U.S. Army to work in the arsenal in Watervliet, New York, he told the registrar he had been born in Tipperary. Exactly where, I am still not sure, but I’m working on it. Circumstantial evidence [i.e., migration patterns detected in many Irish families who ended up in the Troy/Watervliet area] may point to North Tipperary.
Martin lived until 1911, remaining in upstate New York most of his life. In about 1900, two of his sons, including my great-grandfather, Joseph, started spelling their name consistently as “Haigney” (thank goodness), and relocated to Brooklyn. That is where most of these Haigneys stayed until World War II, after which a bunch of us started migrating to the suburbs of New Jersey and Long Island, although a core group is still in Brooklyn.
By now I’m used to having people mispronounce and misspell my surname in creative ways, and also to being asked if I’m sure it’s really Irish. (In Ireland, even!) It’s all part of what makes family history research a lot more entertaining than you’d think.
If you are a Haigney family researcher (or Higney/Heigney/oh, you get the picture) and want to swap war stories, feel free to contact me at email@example.com. My other Irish surnames of interest include Kelleher, Kearney (or Carney) and McKenna in Brooklyn; Connors, Mahon/McMahon and Roche in the Troy/Watervliet area.