A Letter from Ireland:

The Irish Surname Twomey / Toomey


Irish Surname TwomeyKim Douglas Watkins was on wonder about the Irish surname “Twomey“. You can read Kim’s question and story at the end of this post.

Origin of the Irish Surname Twomey.

Recorded in many forms – but mostly either “Twomey” or “Toomey“. It is from the Irish O’Tuama (phonetically pronounced “Oh Too-a-ma” and is from the originally first name of Tuama. This original personal name came from the word ‘tuaim’, meaning a small mountain’.

Home Counties of the Twomeys.

The O’Twomeys were from the sept of the Dal gCais originally (kin of the the O’Briens and several other Dal gCais families) – but moved to Counties Limerick and Counties Cork and Kerry over the centuries. The anglicised name Twomey is now always associated with County Cork and in Limerick it is generally spelt “Toomey“.

The picture here is from the shop front of Edward Twomey in Clonakilty in West Cork – home of the famous Clonakilty Black Pudding!

Kim Douglas Watkins’s Question and Story.

Hi!!! My great-grandparents came to the USA in the late 1910’s/early 1920’s. They did not meet until they came here. My granny never seemed to want to share much of what she knew of their lives in Ireland. Anyway, my great- grandmother’s name was Ellen Twomey, and she came over on the White Star line. My great-grandfather’s surname was Brady. I remember being old that he came to the US because the IRA was trying to recruit him and his brothers, or the IRA was looking for them for some reason. Sorry….I would like to know about the Twomey surname. I thought it was spelt Toomey, but my Granny said it was Twomey. Sadly, I can’t verify because she died in 2012. Thank you so much!!!

Kim Douglas Watkins

Like to add your Irish surname to our list? Just signup for your free weekly Letter from Ireland by clicking here.and we’ll let you know how to join in the fun.

If you would like to add what you know about the Twomey surname, tell the story of your Twomey family OR ask a question – please do so below in the comments section.

Remember – at Your Irish Heritage we consider an “Irish Surname” to be one that belongs in your family. It may belong to an ancestor who lived in Ireland at one stage. We consider old Gaelic, Viking, Norman and planter names to be all Irish – if they fit this criteria.


  • Kim Douglas Watkins says:

    Thank you so much for the information on the Twomey surname. Now I have an idea of what county my ancestors are from.

  • nancy marsden says:

    OK My Dad was born in Chalrestown,Ma. in 1899. His name was John Warren Toomey, his Dad was a sheet metal worker. He left the family (I was told) I’m sure there was good reason. The mother and sister died soon after. Mother’s maiden name was McLaughlin. The sister’s name was Mary Elizabeth, she died under a year old. My Dad was placed in an orphanage until the age of nine when he was adopted by a family in Lewiston, Maine name of Bunny Burke and his wife, don’t know the wife’s name but they were childless My Dad went to St.Mary’s college ( I found out years later was a seminary) from there he went to the Palmer Institute of Chiropractics where he graduated in 1922. Met my mother after opening an office in Woonsockt R.I. He died in 1959.

  • joe toomey says:

    Hi, I am Joe Toomey and i live in Co Clare Ireland. I have traced my maternal Great grandparents as Marcella and John Malone from Drumline Newmarket on fergus. Their daughter Annie married a migrant agricultural worker named Pat Toomey from west Limerick ( have not pinned down where yet.. They raised a family of 12 whose names in order of birth were Mary, Katie, John, Maggie, James (immigrated to US), Patrick, Tim, Peter, Annie, Dinney, Marcella and Joe (my father b.1921). They lived on the Hill road Bunratty from early in the 20th century and their house still stands today but unoccupied.

    • Mike says:

      Thanks for sharing Joe – be sure to join up our free Letter from Ireland at bit.ly/letterfromireland – where we chat a lot more about these things. Mike.

    • Hello Joe! Im researching a John Twoomey who came to the u.s. John Twoomey was my great grandfather and im having a tough time finding information on him. Do you know what year he migrated and where he ended up residing? It would be helpful in my research. Thanks!

      • LaNell Barrett says:

        Melody, do you have any other info or even rumors about him. Age, year of immigration, etc?

  • Shouna toomey says:

    Im a toomey from wicklow
    Were im from theres another family of twomeys but their no relation or connection i understand it says they are more or less the same but their not through the centreys there must have been 2 diffeent familys completely maybe one originated in cork and the other from limrick ?

  • pat o shea says:

    my mother was christine twomey from the rural cork area i dont know if there are any relativst out there

    • Robert Toomey says:

      I had a great aunt named Christine Toomey. Her dad immigrated from Ireland around 1890. Family lore is he was from Cork. I do not know his first name. He married Elizabeth Scheiting (from Germany) when they met in rural western Massachusetts (Northfield/Greenfield area). He later left Elizabeth who raised Christine and her brother Dennis (my grandfather) by herself. Dennis later moved to Chicopee Falls, MA where my Dad was born and raised. I was raised in Holyoke, MA and now live in the Seattle area.

  • Grace Twomey says:

    Hi! I am Grace Twomey. I am from London (aged 16 ) , and I am really interested in my ancestry. All I know is that my great-father was from co. Cork, Ireland…but I unfortunately do not know any further. If anyone could help I would be very grateful. Thank you 🙂

  • My ancestor Daniel Henry Toomey was born in Ireland around 1751. He probably came to Maryland USA from Cork Co. in the 1770’s. He worked for the Carrolls (John Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence) I believe he was a teacher/surveyor. He married a Sarah Sheets in the late 1770’s. And the rest is clearly documented. I’m trying to find out how and when he came over, and anything I can about his history/genealogy in Ireland. Thanks for accepting me on your site.

  • Carolyn says:

    My great grandfather was Patrick Twomey born in cork county Ireland 02/28/1826 came to Ducktown, TN and died 03/08/1906 in CA spouse Larrissa Jane Parks marrried Ironton Mo. Had 12 children Henry Clay, born 1856, James 11/01/1859, Samuel 11/11/1861, Isabella Jane 1862, Serena 1864, Mary 11/21/1865, Sarah 10/20/1869, Margaret 09/13/1871, Charley 1872, Belle 09/24/1873, Elizabeth 1875, Harriet 1878.
    My grandfather was Henry Clay Twomey born 1856 in Ducktown TN died 03/15/04 in Ironton Mo his spouse was Clara Whitnah they were married in Ironton Mo 09/04/1883. They had 9 children, Frede rick 04/14/1886, Mary alice 10/19/1887, Maud Rebecca 10/17/1889, Samuel Everett 07/16/1891, Henry Howard 07/07/1893, my mother Ethel Serena 05/28/1895, Clara Lovicy 03/09/1897, Blanch 05/06/1900, May Catherine 05/11/1903. My mother was married at age 40 and had me at age 47. She passed away 09/09/1975. My dad Ambrose O Champlin born Hanford CA 06/16/1895 passed away 12/07/1986. Hope this helps even though I go on and on.

  • LaNell says:

    My best friend’s grand mother was Anna née Doolan of Louisville Ky. Daughter of Martin And Elizabeth (née ?) Doolan both born in Ireland apprx 1840.
    1901 Anna married John Joseph Toomey. His father of same name

    • Gayle Pendleton says:

      Lanell – wow.. Ana Doolan and John J. Toomey are my great grandparents… they had 8 children, one of whom is my father.. Anna and John were married Feb. 18, 1901 in Jefferson Cty. Louisvlle KY.. John J. Toomeys father and mother are John Toomey born 1835 and Elizabeth O’Farrell born circa 1840-42. and had 5 children… i only know Martin to be Anna’s father name… they lived on W. St. Catherine here in Louisville KY..

      • LaNell says:

        Gayle…so sorry for delayed reply!! I just keep plugging away at Judy’s mother’s maternal side. And checked yet again just now. And your fascinating info popped up. I’m thrilled. Do you know Judy, who’s mother was Mary Josephine Toomey? ? Yes, It’s Judith Ann b. ’57.
        And Anna and John J were her maternal grandparents.
        MJ Toomey was born in 1916, passed away around ’60?…Judy was only 3-4yrs old, and was the youngest of 10 children. She and I became friends in Jr. high school. There in Louisville, where she still lives.
        So you are a ‘searcher’, too? Do you know
        We must chat, please. I’m in Naples Fl, and hope you get my email address. I have something to share thay possibly you’ve not seen.
        And I very very much would like to find out more for Judy and her sibs. And her three sons.
        Hope so much to hear from you soon,

      • LaNell says:

        Yep…that’s her. And one of the 5 children is your dad?? They would be your paternal grandparents, just as Judy’s maternal. Your dad, her mother, brother and sister. So you two are first cousins. No ‘once removed’ etc. etc. Correct?

        The Martin, father of Anna J. Toomey, was a Doolan and came from Ireland as well. Not sure I have his wife’s name.
        Wanting at least find her Toomey g’grandfather JJ’s area of Ireland. Hopefully Martin Doolan’s info to go with it. And hopefully very soon.
        I’d have to glance back to my file, but the rather official ‘document’ I have of the Toomey- Doolan marriage I believe gives it in mid Jan.1901. When you see my ‘document’ you may laugh. Please do email.

        • Gayle Pendleton says:

          John and Anna had 8 children, with Mary Josephine being one, and my father James Edward Toomey the youngest.. I am his daughter Gayle, youngest of 9 .

          Mary Josephine had 10 children, the only one I know is Sharon Marie b.1942 who married Bader. I have Judith Ann b. 1957 ..

          Am searching for info of the past – really need pics of the family – my dads siblings and what they did growing up, school, etc.. I know my father went to St Benedicts and St X. then army and then married in 1951 and had 9 of us…

          Its great to hear from you and i did send you an e mail..

          We recently went to visit the Lyons, neighbors of our grandparents in the west end area..

          • Gayle Pendleton says:

            Sharon Marie i meant not married Bader. sorry Her name is Risen.. She made bday cakes for my father each year at Xmas.. my dad being born Dec 25, 1916.

          • LaNell Barrett says:

            Yes. Mary Josephine Toomey married Marcel Bader. Mary died when Judy, her youngest of ten, my friend from school days, was 4 yrs old. Mary being 44.
            Interesting because this was a descendant of a long line of Germans marrying a descendant of a long line of Irish. But both Catholic.
            The Irish side just being, I think, 2 generations from across The Pond.
            Is this the info you have?

            Also, Mary’s mother and father met in Ohio. She was an O’Farrell but a widow with a young child. Not positive, but she may have had a different birth name.
            Seems there was some mention of Mr Toomey (James Joseph?) having fought as a Unionist in the Civil War. Possibly this is how he started out when arriving from Ireland.

        • Gayle Pendleton says:

          I have John and Anna married in Feb. 1901

          I havent found anything on John and Elizabeth Toomey in Ireland . i know they came from Ireland but cant find anything previous to that…

  • LaNell says:

    …of Ireland. John Jr. was born in Ohio.A brother Edward Toomey also of Ohio prior to all in Louisville. Anna and John J Toomey had various children. My friend’s mother being their daughter Mary Josephine née Toomey who married Macell Francis Bader. Both born apprx 1917. Mary Josephine Bader died in 1962 when my friend, the youngest of their 10 children, was 4.

    Trying to tie into the Toomey/Twomey …and Doolan lines in Ireland. John Joseph Toomey sr immigration date 1854. Martin Doolan was written in 1901 Louisville Irish paper article as being the oldest Standard Oil emlpoyee. Unsure of his immigration date
    Dates with names I am hoping I have correct as doing from memory.

    • Gayle Pendleton says:

      would the friend be Judith Ann?? born 1957 youngest of 10 children… ?

      • LaNell Barrett says:

        Yes. Have heard your first name mentioned various times. Since Judy has never had a memory of her mother, I try to dabble around in the Toomeys, Doolans, Gannons and O’Farrells.

  • LaNell says:

    As for me, and a few other distant Kentucky Barretts originally of Eastern Ky, we’ve abandoned hope of getting past 3 to 4 generations back!
    Our seemingly Protestant or godless bunch kept no records. So it sadly seems. Perhaps English or Heaven knows what if a vowel has been dropped along the way from end (e, a, o, i) along the way. If Irish, definitely ‘Black Irish’

    So if I can find any ffurther Irish roots for for my friend’s Toomeys and/or Doolans, I’ll be back to add.

  • John Fitzgerald says:

    where is that Edward Twomey Pub Located?

  • genevieve says:

    Does anyone know of the history with the surname spelt tuomey

  • starus says:

    hello i am starus twomey but i prefure o’tuama and i was woundering dose my clan have kilts

  • jill farris says:

    My grandfather came over from Ireland with last name of Twomey to Massucuattes. I have renamed twice, so I don’t even keep Twomey as my middle name, like my sister did. I know I have a couple cousins but i don’t know them. I think my uncle Robert Twomey is still around.

  • The surname O’ Twoomey i was told derives from O’Tuama and descended from Tuaim Snamha an 8th century King of Osraige ( medieval Ireland). So if we descended from a king wouldn’t that make O’Twoomey of Royal lineage of Ireland?

  • James says:

    From Newfoundland Canada and the spelling is thomey here

  • Jillian Twomey says:

    I have family that came to Canada in the late 1800’s from Ireland. My last name is Twomey. The information I have from my aunt is that they were from Cork. Very cool to connect with other Twomey’s

  • CG Toomey says:

    My great grandfather came to UK in 1860 from Mallow , Cork. He used to tell of the name deriving from the Purple mountain in Kerry. A section of this mountain is called Toomis and the wood down below is called Toomis wood. In a EV Chadwick translation of Njal’s Saga (Penguin) there is a description of battle of Clontaff (1014) which has a follower telling Brian Boru that the battle is going badly and it is like Toomis wood has been cut down. We have real history!!

  • B Curry says:

    My wife’s ancestry has a Thomas Toomey as being born in Ireland in 1814. He marries in Sydney, Cape Breton in October of 1834 (to Amelia Cann). His immigration or actual birth place/date has proven difficult. Toomey family seems to be from Cork?

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