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History - The Name Rafferty
Rafferty is a surname which is found primarily in Ireland, which is formed from the words "O' Raithbheartaigh" meaning "prosperity wielder" and "O'Robhartaigh" meaning 'a flood tide'. Rafferty family members have migrated through history thereby carrying the name to many areas. In studying our archives we found that one of the earliest references to the family name Rafferty dates back in history to the year 1090. They were corabs (i.e hereditary stewarts of church lands, of St Columcille in Tory Island, County Donegal. In County Sligo the family was one of several pillars of Skreen). There was an abbot of Durrow of the name mentioned by the Four Masters. Over the course of the 18th-century it is estimated that more than 400,000 people emigrated from Ulster, the vast majority to North America. In 1790 the US population of Irish stock has been estimated at 447,000, two thirds of them originating from Ulster. The Rafferty name is now found scattered throughout the country but predominantly in Ulster, particularly in the counties of Donegal and Sligo. Roarty is a variant of the name found mainly in Donegal.
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