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

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

Hundreds of years ago, the Gaelic name used by the Dwyer family in Ireland was O Duibhir and Mac Duibhir. These are both derived from the words dubh, which means black, and odhar or uidhir, which means uncolored.


Those scribes in Ireland during the Middle Ages recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in this era many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research on the Dwyer family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including Dwyer, O'Dwyer, Dwire, Dwier, Dyer and others.

First found in County Tipperary where they were the traditional Lords of Kilnamanagh. They claim descent from Cairbre Cluitheachar, the youngest son of Cucorb, King of Leinster through the O'Connors (Faley.) [1] Although the O'Dwyers originally held a family seat in the barony of Kilnamanagh, they later branched to Clonyhorpa and Drumdromy in the same county. The eponymous ancestor of the O'Dwyers was Duibhir (sometimes spelled Duibhidir and Dubhiir), [1] the 11th century chief of the sept.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dwyer research. Another 341 words(24 lines of text) covering the years 1473, 1798, 1916, 1842 and 1917 are included under the topic Early Dwyer History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the Dwyer family in North America:

Dwyer Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Cate Dwyer, who landed in Maryland in 1678

Dwyer Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Daniell Dwyer, who landed in Virginia in 1702
  • John Dwyer settled in Virginia in 1736

Dwyer Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Andrew Dwyer, aged 32, arrived in Louisiana in 1812
  • William Dwyer, aged 21, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Jeremiah Dwyer, aged 27, arrived in New York in 1815
  • Joseph Dwyer, aged 25, arrived in America in 1822
  • Timothy Dwyer, aged 30, landed in Missouri in 1842


  • Florence Price Dwyer (1902-1976), American politician who was second female elected to House from New Jersey
  • Bernard James Dwyer (1921-1998), United States Representative from New Jersey
  • Jim Dwyer (b. 1957), American two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, 1992 for Spot News Reporting, and 1995 for Commentary
  • William Vincent Dwyer (1883-1946), American early Prohibition gangster and bootlegger in New York during the 1920s
  • Finbarr Dwyer (1946-2014), traditional Irish accordion player from the famed Dwyer musical family
  • Edward Dwyer (1895-1916), English recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Sergeant John James Dwyer (1890-1962), Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross and 1st Deputy Premier of Tasmania
  • Bob Dwyer (b. 1940), rugby union coach, he coached Australia to victory at the 1991 Rugby World Cup
  • Phil Dwyer (b. 1965), Canadian jazz saxophonist, pianist, composer, producer and teacher nominated for Juno Awards 4 times
  • Hilary Dwyer (b. 1945), English film and television actress and film producer


  • The O'Dwyers of Kilnamanagh by Sir Michael O'Dwyer

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: Vertus sola nobilitas
Motto Translation: Virtue alone enobles


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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. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  4. 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).
  5. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  6. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  7. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  8. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  9. 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).
  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 Dwyer Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dwyer 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 12 September 2014 at 21:07.

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