Maloney Surname Genealogy
“descendant of a servant of the church” is an old Irish surname. Maul in fact translates as
“bald.” Early monks and priests had close cropped hair with their
trademark shaven patch. Many legends and stories relate to the
association of the name with the Moloney clan.
contributed a number of anglicized surnames, the main ones being
Maloney, Malony, Moloney, Molony, Mullowney and Malowney (but not
Malone or Mahony). The surnames are to be found in Ireland in Clare,
Limerick and Tipperary.
Maloney Resources on
- Genealogy of a Country Family. David H. Moloney’s book.
- Malowney Name. Malowney website.
- Maloney Family in Tennessee. Maloneys of Greene
Moloneys, one of the oldest Irish septs, were the princes of the Dil
gCais in county Clare and held a number of castles around their estate
at Kiltannon. Kiltannon House was and
continued to be their
ancestral home (until it was burnt down in 1920 during “the
They were a strongly ecclesiastical family, contributing many
bishops. Father Donough O’Molony was tortured to death for his
beliefs in 1601. Bishop John O’Molony held the diocese of
Killaloe from 1630 to 1670 at a time when anti-Catholic legislation was
height. His nephew John continued his work at home and
The story goes that he was presented with an inlaid grey marble table
by King Louis XIV of France as restitution for losing his temper over a
game of cards.
The O’Molony family vault was built in 1702 in the
old St. Mochulla’s church in Tuila. The Molonys of Cragg in Clare
were a related family who managed to survive the subsequent
There were land confiscations in Clare in the 1690’s after the defeat
of James II’s supporters in Ireland. James Molony narrowly held
Kiltanon. But others, such as Daniel Moloney of Sixmilebridge,
lost their lands at this time. And many Moloneys moved away to
neighboring counties of Limerick and Tipperary.
The Moloneys suffered in Clare, as did other Irish families, after the
potato blight struck. Many tenant farmers like Michael Molony
Ballina were evicted from their lands. Clare overall
quarter of its population. Father Thomas Molony saw at first hand
the sufferings in Clare in his own parish of Kilmurry Ibrickane:
broken-hearted clergyman had to drag his own tottering limbs, with
scarce of interval of rest, from one corpse to another. In the
three subsequent days, overcome, feeble and faint, he had still to
continue his attendance to the dying, to pass continually from townland
to townland, to look on corpse on corpse, to behold renewed over and
over all the agonies and horrors.”
subsequently did much to publicize the plight of his
starving people to British officials.
Canada. Moloneys left, as did many other Irish
families. An early departure was William Moloney, conscripted
into the British army in the 1770’s to fight the
Americans. He ended up in Canada on Bonaventure island off
Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula. Various Maloneys settled in
Newfoundland, as place names such as Maloney beach, Maloney
Malloney river attest.
of the Maloneys in America also arrived as Moloney or Molony. This was true of Joseph Moloney who came to
Pennsylvania in 1772 and of William Moloney of Cork who came to
the 1860’s and later settled in Nebraska.
Martin Molony arrived as a boy with his parents in 1854 from Tipperary
escaping the potato famine. He made
a fortune in Philadelphia from his gasoline burner invention that was
early gas lighting companies. He then
devoted huge sums to Catholic church building and repairs around the
and was made a Papal Marquis in 1904.
Australia. The Maloney
exodus from Ireland increased after the famine, with Australia being a
favored destination. The following
were some of the Maloneys who set off for Australia in the 1840’s and
- Jeremiah (Jerry) Maloney on the Neptune from Clare to Melbourne in
Malony from Tipperary to Australia in 1845
- Daniel and Catherine Maloney from Limerick to Sydney in 1849
- Robert Maloney on the Kate
from Limerick to Sydney in 1851
- Thomas and Ellen Moloney on the Australia from Limerick to Sydney
- Thomas and Ann Maloney on the Glentanner from Tipperary to Sydney
The Seed, an account of three
generations of Maloneys, opened to great acclaim in Australia in
The playwright is Kate Mulvany and the play is based on her family
Select Maloney Miscellany
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
Bishop John O’Molony from
Clare promoted the oppressed Irish Catholic Church
in the late 17th century by re-establishing the Irish College in Paris. Paddy Moloney is a member of
the Irish musical group The Chieftains and the main composer and
arranger of its music.
Father Francis Moloney is an
adviser to Pope Benedict and is widely considered to be the leading
authority on the Gospel of St. John.
Select Maloney Today
- 8,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 15,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
- 26,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)
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