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Irish Surname - Tierney

Tierney is an Irish surname derived from the Gaelic O'Tighearnaigh. The name comes from 'tighearna' meaning 'lord' or 'master, consequently O'Tighearnaigh means the son or male descendant of Tighearnach.

The earliest records of the surname were found in County Limerick in the early 18th century. For example, in 1735 John Tierny married Ann Young, at Limerick Cathedral, County Limerick. Other records from various church registers include the christening of James Tierny, on June 4th 1741, at Limerick Cathedral; the christening of Penelope Tierney on April 17th 1754, at St. Olave's, Hart Street, London; and Patrick Tiernaney who left Liverpool bound for New York on the ship Marmion on May 18th 1847.

In the mid-19th century, approx 900 Tierney households were distributed across the central third of Ireland - these were most numerous in Tipperary (151) and Galway (111). Today the surname is still widespread in County Galway. The surname is sometimes confused with Tiernan in Mayo.

Famous People

Lawrence Tierney (1919 - 2002) was an American actor born in Brooklyn, New York, to an Irish-American policeman Lawrence Tierney and his wife Mary. He was best known for his many screen portrayals of mobsters and tough guys, some of which mirrored his own frequent brushes with the law. He appeared in countless films including Hill Street Blues, Murphy's Law, The Naked Gun, Reservoir Dogs, Armageddon and some episodes of Star Trek.

New York born actress Gene Tierney (1920 - 1991) was a Best Actress Oscar nominee and leading star of the silver screen. She was offered an acting contract at 17 while visiting Warner Bros Studios. She appeared in many films including Laura, The Ghost and Mrs Muir, Heaven Can Wait, and Leave Her to Heaven.

Surname Variations

Tierney, Tierny, O'Tierney, Tiernaney, Tearny, Tearney and Terney.

Coat of Arms

The family coat of arms has the blazon of a silver shield charged with a red chief and overall a black chevron.

Family Crest

The crest is an oak tree.

Researching Irish Surnames

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