- This most interesting and rare surname is a dialectal variant of "Tuffy", which is a rare synonym of "Towey". Towey itself comes from two possible origins. Firstly it may be the Anglicized version of the Gaelic "O Toghdha", meaning "the male descendant of (o) the chosen one ("togdha", chosen) found in Connacht, or secondly it may be the Anglicized version of "O'Tuathaigh", the male descendant of the ruler ("tuathach", ruler), who were a sept of the Ui Maire, formerly of South Galway, now mainly in county Clare. The first recording of the name in records appears as "Taaffe" in Ireland (see below). One Johannes Tuffey married Bettrice Bethell at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London on July 8th 1666. Richardus, son of Aegidii and Sarae Tuphee was christened at St. Martin in the Fields, on October 24th 1669. Margaret Tuffy, aged 19 yrs, left Liverpool on the "Nonantum" on April 18th 1846 bound for New York as an Irish famine immigrant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Taaffe, which was dated 1552, christening witness at Ballybraggan, Co. Louth, during the reign of King Edward V1, "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.