TUNNEY Family History
Ireland was one of the first countries to adopt hereditary surnames. It is known that these were in use before the 1070 - 1071 A.D. Norman Invasion, although early records are fragmentary. The usual surname form was patronymic, but very occasionally a habitational style was used. This is the case with Tunney (in its various spelling forms). It derives from the Gaelic "tonnach", which translates literally as "by the waves", or "by the wetlands". That it (Tonnach) was a place of habitation would seem to be confirmed by the first recording (see below), which is in a French form.