- This interesting name is an anglicization of the Gaelic name O'Cobhthach(meaning 'descended from the victorious one'. Further anglicizations include the surnames Coffee and Coffey. There were three main septs of this name in medieval Ireland. They were the O'Coffeys of Corca Laoidh(South West Cork, those of County Roscommon, and a bardic sept belonging to County Westmeath. The most distinguished of these was Dermot O'Coffee circa 1580, the Gaelic poet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O' Cobhthaigh (Gaelic sept), which was dated Circa 1500, during the reign of Henry V11, known as "The Last Welsh King" 1485 - 1509. 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.