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

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

Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name Dempsey originally appeared in Gaelic as O Diomasaigh, from the word "diomasach," which means "proud."


Names from the Middle Ages demonstrate many spelling variations. This is because the recording scribe or church official often decided as to how a person's name was spelt and in what language. Research into the name Dempsey revealed many variations, including Dempsey, O'Dempsey, Dempsy, Dempsay, Dempsie and many more.

First found in King's County and Queen's County, where they were traditional Chiefs of Calnmaliere, a territory that lay on both sides of the river Barrow. It contained parts of Geashill and Phillipstown in Kings County and parts of Portnehinch in Queen's County. They claim descent through the O'Connors of Offaly, specifically the 2nd century Irish King, Cathair Mor. [1]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dempsey research. Another 573 words(41 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1193, 1652 and 1865 are included under the topic Early Dempsey History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Dempsey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute do to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United Sates and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the Dempsey family relocated to North American shores quite early:

Dempsey Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Capt. Dempsey, who landed in Georgia in 1741
  • Ann Dempsey, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1753

Dempsey Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Joseph Dempsey, aged 18, landed in New York, NY in 1804
  • Mary Dempsey, aged 14, landed in New York in 1810
  • Edward Dempsey settled in New York in 1810
  • Francis Dempsey, who arrived in New York in 1810
  • Catherine Dempsey, who landed in New York, NY in 1816


  • Jack Dempsey (1895-1983), American boxer who held the world heavyweight title from 1919 to 1926, inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame
  • Donald Dempsey (1932-2005), American recording executive
  • Patrick Galen Dempsey (b. 1966), American Golden Globe Award and Emmy Award nominated actor
  • Thomas "Tom" Dempsey (b. 1947), former American NFL football placekicker
  • Clint Dempsey (b. 1983), American soccer player from Nacogdoches, Texas
  • General Martin E. Dempsey (b. 1952), USA American Army officer, 18th and current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Denis Dempsey (1826-1896), Irish soldier, recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Gary William Dempsey (b. 1981), Irish footballer from County Wexford
  • Girvan Dempsey (b. 1975), Irish retired rugby union footballer
  • Ian Michael Dempsey (b. 1961), Irish presenter of television and breakfast radio



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  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)

Other References

  1. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  2. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  3. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  4. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  5. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  7. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  8. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  9. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  10. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  11. ...

The Dempsey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dempsey 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 31 May 2014 at 17:44.

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