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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the Irish Cox family come from? What is the Irish Cox family crest and coat of arms? When did the Cox family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Cox family history?

In Ireland, the name Cox is generally derived from the Gaelic "Mac an Choiligh," which means "son of the cock or rooster;" the name was often Anglicized as Cox.


Scribes and church officials, lacking today's standardized spelling rules, recorded names by how they were pronounced. This imprecise guide often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname Cox are preserved in documents of the family history. The various spellings of the name that were found include MacQuilly, McQuilly, MacQuilley, McQuilly, MacQuillie, McQuillie, Quilley, Quilly, Quillie, Cox, Coxe and many more.

First found in County Roscommon (Irish: Ros Comáin) located in central Ireland in the province of Connacht, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cox research. Another 221 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1558, 1650, 1675, 1733, 1770, and 1837 are included under the topic Early Cox History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 38 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cox Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


A massive wave of Irish immigrants hit North America during the 19th century. Although many early Irish immigrants made a carefully planned decision to leave left Ireland for the promise of free land, by the 1840s immigrants were fleeing a famine stricken land in desperation. The condition of Ireland during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s can be attributed to a rapidly expanding population and English imperial policies. Those Irish families that arrived in North America were essential to its rapid social, industrial, and economic development. Passenger and immigration lists have revealed a number of early Irish immigrants bearing the name Cox:

Cox Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Lasse Cox, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1627
  • Ann Cox, who arrived in Maryland in 1633
  • Anne Cox, who arrived in Maryland in 1633
  • Jon Cox, who landed in Virginia in 1634
  • Moses Cox, who landed in Hampton, NH in 1639

Cox Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Susanna Cox, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • Justin Cox, who landed in Virginia in 1705
  • Tho Cox, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1712
  • T Cox, who landed in New England in 1733
  • Jno Cox, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1738

Cox Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • William Cox, who arrived in America in 1804
  • Thomas Cox, who arrived in New York, NY in 1805
  • Edward Cox, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Edward L Cox, aged 26, arrived in Massachusetts in 1812
  • Nancy Cox, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812


  • Archibald Cox (1912-2004), American lawyer and Professor of Law, solicitor general in the Kennedy administration
  • John I. Cox (1855-1946), American Governor of Tennessee from 1905 to 1907
  • Channing Harris Cox (1879-1968), American Republican politician, Governor of Massachusetts from 1921-1925
  • Courteney Cox (b. 1964), American television and film actress
  • Lieutenant John Richard Cox Jr. (1913-1995), American officer awarded the Croix de Guerre during WWII
  • Daniel Rinald "Ronnie" Cox (b. 1938), American character actor, singer/songwriter, and guitarist
  • Brigadier-General Albert Lyman Cox (1883-1965), American Commanding General Washington Military (1942)
  • Brigadier-General Richard Ferguson Cox (1886-1964), American Commanding General Boston Harbor Defenses (1942-1944)
  • Pat Cox (b. 1952), Irish Liberal Democratic politician and president of the European Parliament in 2002
  • William Trevor Cox (b. 1928), Irish short-story writer



  • Ambrose N. Cox, Sr., Descendants, 1772-1972 by Elza B. Cox.
  • The Cox-Bates Family and Related Families by Ruby Cox Eddleman.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fide et fortitudine
Motto Translation: By fidelity and fortitude.


  1. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  2. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  3. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  4. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  5. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  8. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  9. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  10. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  11. ...

The Cox Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cox Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 25 August 2014 at 13:15.

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