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

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

Gaelic is at the heart of all the Irish surnames that can be found throughout the world today. The original Gaelic form of the name Dorsey is "O'Dorchaidhe," from the word "dorcha," which means "dark." Alternatively, some branches of the family may be descended from Norman stock; the name is also derived from "Arcy," the name of a place in La Manche, Normandy. In this case, the surname would refer to "one from Arcy."

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The recording of names in Ireland in the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. The many regional dialects and the predominate illiteracy would have made common surnames appear unrelated to the scribes of the period. Research into the name Dorsey revealed spelling variations, including Dorcey, Dorcy, Dorsey, Darcey, D'Arcy, O'Dorcey, MacDarcy, Darsy and many more.

First found in Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) part of the province of Connacht, located on the west coast of the Island, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dorsey research. Another 675 words(48 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1334, 1384, 1725, 1779, 1598, 1668, 1598 and 1668 are included under the topic Early Dorsey History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 91 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dorsey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish migrating out of their homeland in a great measure due to the oppressive imperial policies of the English government and landowners. Many of these Irish families sailed to North America aboard overcrowded passenger ships. By far, the largest influx of Irish immigrants to North America occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These particular immigrants were instrumental in creation of the United States and Canada as major industrial nations because the many essential elements such as the roadways, canals, bridges, and railways required an enormous quantity of cheap labor, which these poor immigrants provided. Later generations of Irish in these countries also went on to make valuable contributions in such fields as the arts, commerce, politics, and education. Extensive research into immigration and passenger lists has revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Dorsey:

Dorsey Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Edward Dorsey, who came to Virginia in 1646
  • James Dorsey, who landed in Maryland in 1668

Dorsey Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Patrick Dorsey, aged 30, arrived in Maine in 1812
  • Mrs. Dorsey, who landed in New York, NY in 1812
  • Peter Dorsey, who landed in Maryland in 1813
  • Hugh Dorsey, aged 18, arrived in New York in 1849
  • Caleb Dorsey, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850


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  • George Washington Emery Dorsey (1842-1911), American politician, Representative to the U.S. Congress from Nebraska
  • James "Jimmy" Dorsey (1904-1957), American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, trumpeter, composer, and big band leader, older brother of Tommy Dorsey
  • Thomas Francis "Tommy" Dorsey (1905-1956), American jazz musician, trumpeter, composer, and bandleader of the Big Band era, known as "The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing"
  • Anne Hanson Dorsey, American novelist
  • Decatur Dorsey (1836-1891), Union Army soldier in the American Civil War, recipient of the Medal of Honor, for his actions at the Battle of the Crater
  • Tim Dorsey (b. 1961), American crime novelist
  • Irving Lee Dorsey (1924-1986), African American pop/R&B singer during the 1960s
  • Richard Elmer "Joey" Dorsey (1983-1983), American professional basketball player
  • Gail Ann Dorsey (b. 1962), American session musician who has long worked with David Bowie
  • Jack Dorsey (b. 1976), American web developer and businessman, known as the creator of Twitter and as the founder and CEO of Square

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  • Grandparents Are Great by Lois Colette Dorsey Bennington.
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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: Un dieu, un roi
Motto Translation: One God, one king.

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  1. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  2. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  3. 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).
  4. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  5. 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).
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  8. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  10. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  11. ...

The Dorsey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dorsey 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 7 March 2014 at 13:55.

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