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

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

The many Irish surnames in use today have long rich histories behind them. The name McCarthy originally appeared in Gaelic as Mac Carthaigh, which is derived from the word "carthach," which means "loving."

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The spelling of one's surname was not as important as it is today. Names were recorded as they sounded and in many cases, one's surname changed with each listing. As a result, surnames often had many spelling variations. For McCarthy some of these variations included: MacCarthy, MacCarty, MacArty, MacArthy and others.

First found in County Kerry and much of County Cork, in the area formerly known as Desmond. One of the oldest and most important of all Irish families, the MacCarthy family claim descent from Oilioll Olum, the 3rd century King of Munster who gave the region of Desmond to his son Eoghan after his death. Eoghan's descendants were known as the Eoghanacht, and the surname MacCarthy is derived from Carthach, an 11th century lord of this group who was killed when the Lonegans set his house on fire. They were settled at Carrignavar where they were the Lords of Eoghannacht and Diarmod MacCarty Mor swore fealty to King Henry II thereby retaining his estates in Cork. Innumerable members of the family have been important in Irish history, especially those with the forenames Fineen, Florence or Justin, beginning with the Fineen MacCarthy who vanquished the Geraldines in 1261. Several branches of the powerful MacCarthy sept existed, including MacCarthy Reagh, who held a family seat at Carbery in West Cork, and the Muskerry MacCarthys, who were based in the barony of Muskerry in that county. MacCarthy Mor of County Kerry, long thought to be extinct, has only recently been proven to still exist.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McCarthy research. Another 253 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1446, 1646, 1640, 1628, 1594, 1665, 1694, 1668, 1734, 1698, 1769, 1733 and 1734 are included under the topic Early McCarthy History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 271 words(19 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McCarthy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Irish families fled the English-colonized Ireland in record numbers during the 19th century for North America. Many of those destitute families died from disease during, and even shortly after, the long journey. Although those that immigrated before the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s often were granted a tract of land, those that arrived later were generally accommodated in urban centers or in work camps. Those in the urban centers would labor in the manufacturing sector, whereas those in work camps would to build critical infrastructures such as bridges, canals, roads, and railways. Regardless of when these Irish immigrants came to North America, they were critical for the rapid development of the young nations of the United States and Canada. Early immigration and passenger lists have recorded many early immigrants bearing the name of McCarthy:

McCarthy Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • William McCarthy, who landed in New England in 1729
  • Alexander McCarthy, recorded in the New York Colonial Muster Rolls in 1760

McCarthy Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Florence McCarthy, who arrived in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1808
  • Dennis McCarthy, who landed in New York in 1834
  • Justin McCarthy, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1839
  • Jeremiah McCarthy, who landed in Mississippi in 1840
  • Robert N Emmett McCarthy, aged 35, landed in Missouri in 1845


McCarthy Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Delia Mary McCarthy, who landed in Alabama in 1924

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  • Charles McCarthy (1873-1921), American political scientist and author
  • Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957), American politician, US senator from Wisconsin, known for his rabid anti-communist views
  • Mary Therese McCarthy (1912-1989), American novelist
  • Joseph Vincent "Marse Joe" McCarthy (1887-1978), American Major League, baseball manager
  • Cormac McCarthy (b. 1933), American winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2007 for The Road
  • John McCarthy (1927-2011), award-winning American computer scientist and cognitive scientist
  • Justin J. McCarthy (1900-1959), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Kevin McCarthy (1914-2010), American Academy Award nominated, Golden Globe winning stage, film, and television actor
  • Mary Eunice McCarthy, American screenwriter
  • Melissa Ann McCarthy (b. 1970), American Academy Award and BAFTA nominated film and television actress, comedian, writer and producer

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  • The Lindner & McCarthy Families of Hoboken, Newark, and Elizabethport, New Jersey by Florence Lindner McCarthy.
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  1. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  2. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  3. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  4. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  5. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  6. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  7. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  8. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  9. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  10. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  11. ...

The McCarthy Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McCarthy 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 9 September 2014 at 11:27.

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