With the help of Church and civil records it is easy enough to trace a surname back to the early 1800s in Ireland. In conjunction with headstone data, it is even possible to go back into the 1700s, depending on the type of records available and what part of Ireland is involved. To go back even further, one of the best sources to consult for the 16th and 17th centuries is The Fiants.
The Irish Fiants of the Tudor Sovereign During the Reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Philip & Mary, and Elizabeth I are over 1700 pages of administrative, legal and judicial writings that contain around 120,000 names of individuals who were living in 16th and 17th century Ireland. It is a veritable treasure trove for historians and genealogists. They get their name from the wording in the original documents, Fiant Litterae patentes, “Let Letters Patent be Made.”
Like many genealogical resources, the original documents were destroyed in the fire at the Public Records Office in the Civil War in 1922. However, before this, they had been fully indexed and published by the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records in Ireland between 1875 and 1890. A modern version of The Fiants come in four volumes and were published in 1994 by Eamonn De Burca:
Volume I 1521-1558: The Fiants of King Henry VIII 1521-1546/7, King Edward VI 1546/7-1553 and Philip & Mary 1553-1558
Volume II 1558-1586: The Irish Fiants of Elizabeth I 1558-1586
Volume III 1586-1603: The Irish Fiants of Elizabeth I 1586-1603
Volume IV 1558-1603: Index to the Fiants of Elizabeth I
I have searched the Fiants for Buggy and every variation of it. There is one entry for a man by the name of Murtagh O Bugginn who is listed as being from Ossory. It is in volume three, entry 6768, concerning the years 1602-3:
…Dermot m’Donnell grome and Murtagh O Bugginn, in Osserie, yeoman…
It is quite likely that O Bugginn was one of the anglicized forms of Bogaig and would possibly become Buggy. Further evidence to support this is where they are from, Ossory. This name has been synonymous with the counties of Kilkenny and Laois for centuries. They are listed as yeomen, which would indicate that they were more than likely small farmers.
Their names are included in a lengthy pardon given out to a number of men. The pardon given out comes with provisions and is referred to as being the same as in entry 6573, which in turn is referred to being the same as in entry 6565. The provisions of the pardon in 6565 read as follows:
The pardon is recommended by the Earl of Ormond , who at this time was Thomas Butler (1531-1614), 10th Earl of Ormond and 3rd Earl of Ossory.