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Surname:  Fox
Branch:  Fox
Origins:  Welsh
More Info:  Wales

Background:  Originally from Ireland, one family of whom became extensive landowners in Co. Limerick and are perpetuated there in the place name Mountfox, near Kilmallock. The Irish Foxes got their name as a sobriquet: Tadhg O Catharnaigh (anglice O'Caherny - mod. Carney or Kearney), Chief of Teffia, Co. Meath (d. 1084) was called Sionnach, I.e The Fox, and in due course this branch acquired the name Fox as a distinct surname. (For Kearney see below) A report of the Registrar-General gives a list of alternative forms of surnames used by persons registering births, deaths, marriages. Few are so lengthy as that of Fox, the synonyms for which are Mac Ashinah (Co. Tyrone), MacShanaghy (Co. Louth) - from the Irish Mac a'Sionnaigh, son of the fox, Shanahy (Co. Westmeath), Shinagh (Co. Mayo), Shunny (Co. Louth), Shinnock (Co. Kilkenny), Shonogh (Co. Galway) and others, with O Sionnaigh in Irish in general use. It will be seen that these synonyms cover a wide stretch of country in three provinces. The name, as Fox, is found in every county, though nowhere in very large numbers; it is most numerous in Dublin, Longford, Tyrone and Leitrim. The head of the sept has for centuries since the English language was first introduced into Ireland been known as "The Fox" and this designation, still used to-day, is admitted as authentic by the Irish Genealogical Office - it cannot be called a title for titles are not recognized under the Irish Constitution. Among interesting bearers of the name we may mention Sir Patrick Fox of Moyvore, Co. Westmeath, who was State Interpreter (of Irish) in 1568, and Charlotte Milligan Fox (1864-1916), a collector of folk songs and founder of the Irish Folk Song Society.

Motto:  Faire sans dire, To do without speaking, i.e. Deeds not words.
Arms:  Ar. a chev. betw. three foxes' heads, erased, gu. collared or.
Crest:  Out of a ducal coronet, a greyhound's head or.

View the Heraldry Dictionary for help.

We are unable to locate the history for this surname. If you can provide us with this information, then please contact Arms & Badges!

Name Variations:  Fox, McFox, McShanaghy, McShinagh, McShinnock.

One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.
The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.

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