Looney One-Name Study

Background:  The creation of this One-Name Study website began in April 2016.  Research on the surname Looney has been extensive and long term going back many generations.  This research has been accomplished by a multitude of family researchers, past and present.  While the name Looney may sound odd or appear embarrassing to some, the people who are born with it are quite proud of their surname.  When you find a person with the first name of Looney you will frequently find that the mother or grandmother was born with the Looney surname.

This website was started and will be expanded upon in an effort to share information, documents, photos, etc. that have been collected over the years by generations of Looney family researchers.  It is hoped that the sharing of this information will encourage others to join in and that it will assist future generations of Looney family researchers by sharing with them the prior discoveries of historical records, documents, photos and information on their early family connections.

Surname Origins:  The Looney surname has its origins on the Isle of Man, an island which lies in the Irish Sea between Ireland and Great Brittan.  Looney is an ancient Manx surname as it comes from MacGillowney, the Manx form of the early Gaelic name MacGiolla Dhomhnaigh, “the son of Giolla Dhomhnaigh”.  In the earliest times it is found on the Isle of Man, parish of Lonan.  In the year 1500 a Patick MacGillony or MacGillewney owned land in a part of the parish called Amogary.  This land was long known as Ballalooney or Ballalewney, ‘The homestead of Looney’.

Surname Variations:  The spelling of the surname “Looney” seems to have evolved over time.  Most likely the result of keepers of the records writing down the name the best they could based on how they thought they heard it spoken.  There is a point in time on the Isle of Man when the use of the prefix “Mac” in front of a surname was dropped from useage.  Early parish records from the Isle of Man show that the surname was then commonly spelled Lewney, Lewny and eventually evolved into Looney.  When the Looney family left the Isle of Man and immigrated to Colonial America about 1724 the surname begins to show up in Colonial America records as Luna, Luney, Loony and Looney.  The Luna and Luney spellings are not variations found on the Isle of Man.

Looney in America:  Over the decades immigrants from the Isle of Man have continued to arrive in the United States so it is not uncommon for a United States census record to reflect the fact that an individual with the surname “Looney” was born on the Isle of Man.  Through my own personal research of the Looney family, I have found that a vast majority of the individuals who carry the Looney surname in the United States seem to descend from Robert and Elizabeth Looney who first show up in Colonial America records about 1724.  The exact dates for Robert and Elizabeth Looney’s birth, marriage, immigration and where specifically they arrived in America from remains unknown.

Follow this link to the Robert and Elizabeth Looney Eight Part Family Manuscript titled:

Early Looney in America, ca 1963, by Leroy W Tilton”:

Looney DNA:  While there is no written historical record tying the Looney family in the United States directly back to the Isle of Man, Y-DNA testing has shown that Looney families with proven Isle of Man origins do in fact share a close common ancestor with the descendants of Robert and Elizabeth Looney of Colonial America.  If you are a male Looney descendant I would encourage you to participate in the Looney Y-DNA Project by having your Y-DNA tested and joining the Looney Y-DNA Project.  You can reaffirm your American and Isle of Man Looney family ties with as few as 37 Y-DNA markers, but if you want to help the project make distinctions between the different branches of the Looney family, please consider having 67, or better yet, 111 Y-DNA markers tested.  The more Y-DNA markers that you have tested, the better the results are for making family branch distinctions.

Here is the link to the Family Tree DNA testing site where you can order a Y-DNA test kit and join the Looney DNA Project: 


And here is the related website for The Looney Y-DNA Project where you can see the results and family lines for those who have already been tested and joined the Looney Y-DNA Project:



Other helpful research websites:

A useful and informative “Isle of Man” website:

Be sure to check out the “A Manx Note Book” website:

Also be sure to check out the “Manx Genealogy Message Board”:  There are tons of earlier messages on this message board concerning Looney families on the Isle of Man as well as discussions concerning the Looney families who immigrated to America.


The website “Family Search” which is sponsored by “The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints” is another great website to search out records pertaining to members of the Looney family:


Coming soon:

Link to Isle of Man Looney items

Link to Looney related Maps

Link to Looney Photos

Link to Looney Documents

Link to Looney Family Trees and Family Ties