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Cassidy Clan Chieftains

The Cassidy Clan is headed by the Chief of the Clan, who is referred to or addressed by the title “An O’ Caisideach,” and the officers of the Executive Committee. The An O’Caisideach is an honoree position and ex-officio member of the Executive Committee.

The first An O’ Caisideach was Sean Ó Casaide of the Republic of Ireland, who was designated honorary Chief of the Clan for life. Sean served in this position from 1991 to 2003. With Sean’s passing, his wife Noirin Casaide was designated Chief of the Clan and served as Chief until 2005.

Noirin and Sean Ó Caiside
Noirin and Sean Ó Caiside at the 1998 Cassidy Clan Rally.

Dr. Sheila Cassidy from Australia was inaugurated as An Caisideach inaugurated on Devenish Island at the 2005 Cassidy Clan Rally.

Three years later Philip Patrick Cassidy (known as Pat) from County Fermanagh was installed as An Caisideach, and served as our Chieftain through the 2014 rally.  

Sadly, Pat died in August 2014 and as a mark of respect for his dedication and commitment to the Cassidy Clan organization since 1991, the office of An Caisideach was left vacant.

At our 2017 Gathering, Nuala Cassidy was elected as the new Chieftain.

Nuala Cassidy with her brother Noel at the 2017 Clan Rally where she was installed as Chieftain.

2017 Cassidy Clan Rally Report

We thank Kerry Cassidy of Switzerland and Australia for his report and contribution to our website:

The 2017 Cassidy Clan rally was a great success. It was attended by over 60 clan members from many parts of the globe and all seemed to enjoy the varied and interesting program.

The Rally commenced on Friday the 30th June with registration of participants from 12.00 to 2.00 pm, then continued with getting to know the other members. This was followed at 4.00 pm by the Clan General Meeting with the election of An Caisideach (or president) and office bearers. The meeting was rather short as there was only one nomination for An Caisideach.

Nuala Cassidy was elected in a unanimous vote and her brother Noel was elected as chairman, a position in which Nuala had been active for some time. Both Nuala and Noel are very devoted to the clan and I feel they will both be excellent in the positions. Oliver Cassidy was invited to accept the office of An Tánaiste (deputy chieftain) for the next three years.

The venue for the Clan Rally was the Killyhevlin Hotel at Enniskillen and the facilities were perfect for the event.

After dinner on Friday we had a Power Point Presentation, “Meet the Cousins”, then the rest of the evening was spent meeting new friends and enjoying the beautiful night.

Saturday started with an interesting talk by Veronica Williams from Australia, telling us of the research she has done tracing her Cassidy ancestors back to Ireland and also explaining her work with DNA to trace ancestral links.

Anyone interested in this subject, please contact Veronica as she has now volunteered to oversee the Clan’s DNA project.

Veronica’s talk was followed by an interesting presentation by Frank Roofe, who is a local historian and genealogist. Frank is also an honorary life member of the Cassidy Clan and has helped many people with their research. He has been an integral part of the Clan gatherings for the last 15 years. Frank gave us several good tips on research and afterwards was our guide on a bus tour visiting interesting historical sites in the area.

We started off with the Enniskillen Castle museum, previously the Maguire Castle until the English confiscated it and their lands. The museum contains some very interesting displays showing how the people of the area have lived over the last two thousand years. We later continued on via Bally Cassidy to the Ardess Famine Graveyard and finally to the Ancient Cassidy Rath. It was a very special feeling to be at the Rath, knowing that over a thousand years ago our ancestors lived there.

After dinner on Saturday evening we were invited to an old fashioned Céili House, with three members of the Blackwater Céili Band. Eamonn Keeman and Jeff the Piper tod many tales of old and we were also entertained by singer Tina Cassidy and some talented clan members including Noel Cassidy.

The Sunday program started with a talk by Noel Cassidy about some of the renowned early Cassidy poets, including Gill Mo Duta Ua Caiside and Tómas Ban Úa Caiside.

This was followed by a fascinating P P Presentation by Alf Monaghan where he looked at the history of early Irish Christianity from a very different perspective. Titled “Monastic Ireland – A Gift of the Nile” it showed evidence that the original Christians in Ireland were Coptic Christians escaping the persecution of the Romans. Alf showed many examples of evidence substantiating the links back to Egypt. This was a long time before Saint Patrick came to Romanize the Christians in Ireland.

Alf’s talk was followed by another bus trip, this time to the ferry landing near Devenish Island.

We then took the ferry across to the Island for the Inauguration Ceremony of our new An Caisideach.

This was also a special experience and included many old customs of previous generations. We had lots of time to explore the Island, the ruins of the old monastery and the interesting museum.

We then returned to the hotel for the Gala Dinner and evening entertainment with the Byrne Brothers and the dancing and fellowship continued into the wee hours of the morning.
Many of us met again on Monday morning to say our farewells and there were quite a few who promised to meet again at the next rally in three years. We hope to see lots of members there in 2020.

Nuala Cassidy with her brother Noel at the 2017 Clan Rally where she was installed as Chieftain.

If you would like to see more of the above events, I have a photographic reportage posted on my website, visit http://www.cassidys.ch/clan.htm

I hope you enjoy it.

Kerry Cassidy

P.S. SAVE THE DATE – the Cassidy Clan is pleased to announce the dates and venue for our next rally. The 2020 Cassidy Clan Rally will take place at the the Manor House Country Hotel, Killadeas, Enniskillen for the 3rd, 4th and 5th of July 2020.

Final Programme of Events for 2017 Cassidy Clan Rally

Friday, June 30th 2017

12.00 noon – Registration at the Killyhevlin Hotel in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

4.00pm – 5.30 pm; Official Opening Clan General Meeting including election of An Caisideach

8.00pm – 10.00 pm; Meet the Cousins…..PowerPoint and screen available to members

Saturday, July 1st

10.00am – 12.30 Genealogy……PowerPoint and Screen
Family and Local History.

Veronica Williams, a member since 2008 will present her Family History research

1.30pm – 5.30 pm  Bus tour of scenic and historic places of interest including; Cassidy Ancient Rath

8.00pm  Céilí House: An Evening of Traditional Tales from Ireland.

Sunday, July 2nd

10.00 am Devenish Summer School
A number of lectures + Q&A Including a PowerPoint presentation by Alf Monaghan on Monastic Ireland – A gift of the Nile

2.30 pm Inauguration of An Caisideach on Devenish Island an Ancient burial ground of our Cassidy Ancestors

7.30 pm Reception
8.00 pm Clan Gala Dinner

An evening of good company, food, drink and entertainment The Byrne Brothers,
Dress code ; Smart casual. We will have an area for dancing so bring your dancing shoes.

Fees for weekend events
£110.00 per person.
£190.00 per couple
£320.00 2 Adults + 2 children aged 12 – 16, price for younger children on request

We do ask for a £25 per person deposit with registration. Balance of fee to be paid by June 26th 2017.

Please make your payment by credit card  via the Cassidy Clan PayPal account.  Click the  “Buy Now” button below:




 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2017

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all Cassidys and friends worldwide! We look forward to seeing many Cassidys at our rally this Summer in Enniskillen.

St. Patrick in Birmingham, Alabama Catholic Church.

On today and all days:

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,

may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

How Irish are you?  Test your “Irishness” on this quiz from the Irish Times.

2017 Cassidy Clan Rally

Our next Cassidy Clan rally will take place in the Summer of 2017 near Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, from Friday, June 30th to Sunday, July 2nd.   The host hotel for the rally will be the Killyhevlin Hotel.  We will publish the rally program and cost of the program in early 2017.

Attendees must make their own lodging reservations. You can book directly with the  Killyhevlin Hotel or visit Fermanagh Lakelands website which has a comprehensive listing of hotels, B&Bs, and other accommodations.

February 2017 Update

The Cassidy Clan Rally is a weekend to promote friendship and camaraderie among Cassidys worldwide. The weekend will include Devenish Summer School, a trip to Devenish Island, the Ancient Cassidy Rath and other historic and scenic places in County Fermanagh, genealogy and family history discusscions, concluding with a gala dinner with traditional music, song and dance.

Programme of Events

Friday, 30th 2017

12 noon – Start of Registration

4 pm – Official Opening followed by Clan General Meeting including election of An Caisideach. As the office of An Caisideach (Chieftain of the Cassidy Clan) is vacant all registered members of the Clan may nominate a person for this position.

Saturday, July 1st

Morning – Genealogy

Family and Local History

Afternoon (depending weather)

Bus tour of scenic and places of historic interest including Cassidy Ancient Rath

Sunday, July 2nd

Morning –  Devenish Summer School

Afternoon – Inauguration of An Caisideach on the Ancient burial ground of our Cassidy Ancestors on Devenish Island

Clan Gala Dinner

An evening of good company, food, drink and entertainment

Registration

Please contact Nuala Cassidy by email.  Her address is  nuala [at] caiside.org and inform her of your intention to attend and the number of persons in your party. 

Cassidy Births in Ireland Mapped: 1864 to 1913

Between 1864 and 1913, what was the peak year for Cassidys born in Ireland?  The answer is 1866 with 188 births.

Cassidy births by Year in Ireland 1864-1913, source JohnGrenham.com
Cassidy births by Year in Ireland 1864-1913, source JohnGrenham.com

Here are the totals for Cassidy births during this time period with Cassidy variations:

Cassidy: 7072

Casady: 1

Cassedy: 64

Cassidi: 4

Cassady: 17

Cassiday: 190

Casidy: 31

Casedy: 5

Cassaday: 1

Cassiady: 8

Kessidy: 4

Cassidey: 3

Cossidy: 5

Cashady: 2

Casiday: 2

Kassidy: 2

Kessiday: 2

Cassaday, Casada, Cassity: Why So Many Variations of Cassidy?

Cassidy — O’Cassidy — O’Caiside is an ancient Irish name.  Gaelic Families of Influence in Ulster Province

But why are there so many variations of the Cassidy family name, especially in America?  

In America, in addition to Cassidy, one will find the surnames:

    •   Casada
    •   Casaday
    •   Cassada
    •   Cassaday
    •   Cassady
    •   Cassedy
    •   Cassetty
    •   Cassida
  •   Cassity

Many of these variations are common in the American South, and increasing in the Midwest.  In the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, Cassidys and Cassitys landed in Virginia and moved west into Indian territory, playing leading roles in the formation of the states of Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.

Post famine, another wave of Cassidys came to America, with many settling in the industrial centers of the North, along with smaller towns in the Northeast.

And even in Ireland one will find variations on the Cassidy surname as this gravestone for Patrick Cafsidy on Devenish Island shows.

Graveston of Patrick Cafsidy on Devenish, Island, County Fermanagh.
Gravestone of Patrick Cafsidy on Devenish, Island, County Fermanagh.

How and why did so many variations of Cassidy of develop in America? 

The following discussion occurred on the Roots Web Cassidy exchange in July 1999:

Leslie Cassidy:

Why so many Cassidy variations?  (1) Immigration officials who weren’t wonderful spellers; and (2) Spelling the name as they heard the people pronounce it.  Caiside in Irish is CAW-SHI-DUH.

Nancy Cassada Nelson:

My name is Nancy Cassada Nelson, and thereby hangs a tale.  A few years ago when I was getting divorced & planning to resume my maiden name, my daughter, knowing how caught up I was in the family history, suggested that instead of just becoming “Nancy Ruth Nelson” again, I should take this opportunity to rename myself.  Her reasoning was that “two last names are classier than two first names.”

 Casada was my grandmother’s maiden name, and the photos, letters and Bible pages that my mother had treasured formed the beginning of my family search.  The first “new” relatives that I located, back in those pre-Internet days, were from the Casada branch.  My daughter suggested that I use the Michiganers’ “Cassada” with 2 SS’s, thinking it would help folks to pronounce it better.  That doesn’t seem to work, but it does attract interest, and at the office of the doctor, dentist, any one at all with multiple Nancy Nelsons, I do stand out.  But I sometimes regret that I didn’t retain our “classic” spelling of Casada.

I know that my great grandfather signed his name that way and it appears that his father and grandfather did so as well.  My East Tennessee grandmother spelled her name Casada and pronounced it “Cassidy.”   Family who went to Iowa in 1840’s apparently retained pronunciation; spelling there is now Casaday or variations thereof.  Folks who went to Michigan in early 1900’s spell it Cassada and say “Cass Uh Duh”.

Only one generation removed from the East Tennessee folks, they are real surprised to learn the “correct” pronunciation.  You read all kinds of dramatic and involved stories about “why Uncle Jim changed the spelling” — I think that even those who could read and write in the 19th century didn’t think the spelling was that important.  And, of course, just because it is spelled a certain way by a census taker in 1870, doesn’t mean anyone else ever spelled it that way.

Here’s something I’ve read & it seems to hold up: when you find deeds, wills, etc in the courthouse, what you are finding is a copy of the original made by a clerk.  The clerk also copies the signatures at the bottom.  That’s why you find that little drawing that says “seal”, the original had the seal.  The name within the document may be spelled however this clerk, or the one who wrote the original deed, thinks it should be spelled.  The signature or signatures should have been copied exactly as they appeared on the original and are thus the way your ancestor spelled his name.  That day, at least.      

Janet Cassidy-Stroh:

Different Cassidy spellings are because the original name is Gaelic and English “translations” of that vary.   Pronunciation also varies slightly. Think of how differently the same word can be pronounced in parts of the U.S.  And the further back you go, the more unreliable spelling is.

Ever see how many ways Will Shakespeare signed his own name? People just weren’t as hung up on a “correct” way.   Then you get people who can’t read and write (and many of the early immigrants could not), telling their name to some county clerk who barely could, and he wrote what it sounded like to him.

Along the way at some point, a spelling “stuck” to a particular branch of the family and they all started (mostly) using the same spelling.  But often within the family you will find a record in another spelling, or Uncle Harry who decided to spell it with an “e” or an “a” or a “t” or whatever.  The point is, don’t discount a record solely because the name is spelled differently than you spell it today.

Leslie Cassidy: 

This is also a great analysis. An example of an Irish name this happens to is Bradley, which was my grandmother’s name. When you’re in Ireland, they pronounce it “Brolly” and no matter how many times you say “Bradley” they come back at you with “Brolly.”  So then you see the name spelled “Brolly” and it’s the same name.

Pete Cassada in June 2000: 

I was born in Danville, Virginia in 1968, have lived in Virginia all my life.  I am currently living in Roanoke Virginia.  My father died when I was 6 months old, and my grandfather shortly thereafter.  So, any information of my history has always been hard to come by.  My family had always been tobacco farmers until a few years back.   No records were ever kept due to most deliveries being done by midwives rather than at a hospital. 

All my life I have been curious of my family history. I am the only remaining Cassada in my family.  For years I have dealt with the public mispronouncing my name. 

I’m told the correct way is Cas-uh-duh.  Even though I am fair skinned with red hair, I still never new much because the spelling of my name is very difficult to find in genealogy searches.  I was shocked to find the web site about the Cassidy history and my last name included as possible descendants.  Thank you so much for your efforts.  At least now I can say without a doubt that I am from an Irish background.

Patricia Gentry Cassity in May 2002: 

In your lead paragraph about the variations of the name Cassidy, you mention Cassity as being early settlers in Tennessee and Kentucky.  The “ty’s” also came to Alabama before Alabama became a state.  There are many records of James, Charles, Hugh, John Cassity in the area that became Clarke County, Alabama.  In addition, I came across a Peter Cassity in the area.

These men came into the Indian Territory with passes on more than one occasion, which meant that they traveled back into Georgia or some other State.  I have not found records of their leaving the territory.  Permission to leave was probably not required, but some of them did have more than one pass to come into the territory.  It has interested me as to why they went down to the area that later became Clarke County, Alabama.

 That area is quite a distance into the state.   Maybe they were deep into Georgia and just came across into the area and not down as I had supposed.  They have stayed in the Clarke County, Alabama area until this day. Of course, some moved to Mississippi and beyond and into Mobile, Alabama, as did my father-in-law.  This is my husband’s family and I would really like to fill in some blanks.  They have retained the spelling for the most part, although I see Casity and Casety in some of the legal documents.

James Cassada in February 2003: 

My family comes from Halifax and surrounding counties, in Virginia, USA. We spell the name Cassada and pronounce it CASS-uh-duh. Our family tradition says that our earliest ancestor in America came from Ireland, but I have often wondered how that could be, as there doesn’t seem to be a name by that spelling in Ireland. Information I recently found on the Cassidy Clan website helps me to understand some records that others in my family gathered from county courthouses decades ago.

The tithe (tax) records of Lunenburg County show that in 1748 one J. Stuart, owner of a settlement (farm) in what is now Charlotte County, paid tithes for a Wm. Casedy, a male over the age of 16 living on the Stuart farm. In 1749 in the same area James Stuart paid tithes for Wm. Cassady. In 1750, again in the same area, William Cassaday is listed as a principal tithe payer, with no males over 16 living on his farm.

I would assume that William was an illiterate tenant on the Stuart farm, and may have bought that farm or a part of it by 1750. Since he could not spell his name, the tithe-taker spelled it the way he thought he heard William or J. Stuart pronounce it, with the result that the same tithe-taker spelled the same man’s name three different ways in successive years. Marriage records from the same county list a Casady in 1787, a Casaday in 1806, and a Cassida in 1825, making at least seven spellings of the name of what was probably the same family!

I suspect that when the first member of the family learned to read and write, he took the spelling from whatever official record happened to be handy, and it has been “set in concrete” ever since.I recall my uncle telling me that when he was a child (in the 1930’s or early 40’s), he pronounced the name of Cassada as “Cassidy” until a relative pointed out to him that it was not spelled that way, and should be pronounced “CASS-uh-duh”.

I’m sure my uncle did not dream up that pronunciation of his name, he must have learned it from his parents and other family members. Unlike our early Irish ancestors, modern Americans generally believe that every word (especially a name) has one “correct” spelling and pronunciation that never changes. It is easy to understand how a family member just a couple of generations back could have assumed that the way we spell our name today must be the way it has always been spelled, and that the pronunciation must match the spelling.

With the insights gained by reviewing the Cassidy Clan website, all this begins to make sense, and I now understand that we are a branch of the Irish Cassidy clan. I wish that earlier generations of my family could have had access to the Cassidy Clan website years ago when they were researching our family history. It is a terrific resource for information that goes beyond our small section of Virginia, and has answered a lot of questions about who we are and where we came from. Thank you, to everyone who has contributed to this wonderful resource.

Oliver Cassidy in February 2016

Here is my opinion: Very many members of our distinguished Clann left Ireland in the 1800’s. Some left voluntarily and others who were forced to do so by the action of ruthless landlords. Most of them had been living in conditions of abject poverty. They would have had no schooling and would therefore been unable to read or write.

What is the point in been able to read if you have nothing to read or write, no books, no papers?  These people worked morning, noon and night on really small mountainous farms in conditions that were nothing better than slavery.

Let’s imagine then that someone, called Hugh Cassidy, from a poor family in west Fermanagh gets a passage to America and arrive at Ellis Island in 1880. The conversation might go something like this:

Immigration Officer:  Name sir?

Immigrant:  Hugh Cassidy,( he may have pronounced his name as Cassidy, Casdey, Cassiday,Cassity, Keshdey, Keshidey, )

Immigration Officer:  How do you spell that sir?

Immigrant:  Sorry, I can’t read or write or spell.

At that stage it was left entirely to the imagination of the immigration officer as to how Cassidy might be spelt.

I imagine that Hugh Cassidy would have been handed a document at the end of the process with his name written on it. For the first time ever Hugh Cassidy would have his name in print. He would then probably have adopted that spelling and passed it on to his descendents.

The important thing is that all of these spellings are derived from the original Irish name, O’Caiside.  Hope that this interpretation is useful to Cassidys wherever in the world you may be and what ever spelling your ancestors adopted for you.

What is your view?  Please share your comments with us?

Na Casaidigh (The Cassidys) In Concert

The video at this link will bring a smile to all Cassidys worldwide. It is a concert by Na Casaidigh (or The Cassidys) recorded on October 29, 2015 for TG4, the Irish language broadcaster.  Na Casaidigh is a band formed by the sons of Sean and Noirin Ó Caiside.  Sean was designated honorary Chief of the Cassidy Clan for life. Sean served in this position from 1991 to 2003.

Na Casaidigh In Concert

The concert, entirely in Irish, features the brothers joined by the children. It is an absolutely delightful and distinctive treatment of traditional Irish music combined with Na Casaidigh’s  own compositions.

The O’Casaide brothers have been playing and singing together since their childhood in Gweedore, County Donegal.  Since then their harmonies, energy and command of a dazzling number of instruments has placed them in the front rank of traditional Irish.

Na Casaidigh has released five acclaimed albums, including Óró Na Casaidigh, which went platinum and topped the Irish charts for three weeks.   Na Casaidighs appearances in front of U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan in Dublin Castle and Bill Clinton on College Green brought them to the attention of television audiences worldwide.

Noirin Ó Caiside and sons and other family members performing at the 2005 Cassidy Clan Rally.
Noirin Ó Caiside and sons from Na Casaidigh and other family members performing at the 2005 Cassidy Clan Rally.