HANVEY Family History
Recorded as O' Hanvey, Hanify, Hanvey, Hanway, Hanaway, and Hannaway, this is an Irish surname. It is of great antiquity, and derives from the pre 10th century Gaelic O' hAinbhith, which has the somewhat unusual meaning of 'The male descendant of the stormy one'. The vast majority of Gaelic surnames originate from a nickname for the original chief or leader of the clan. Some of these nicknames were very robust, the famous Kennedy name meaning 'Ugly head'. Presumably the original chief of the O'Hanveys had either a stormy temperment or drove his opponents off like a storm! Most early surnames were in some way a memory of great deeds long past, and this surname seems to be a good example of the genre.