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

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

Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name McDermott comes from the Irish Gaelic Mac Diarmada, which means "son of Diarmuid," or, son of Dermot and belongs to the venerable Irish tradition of patronymic naming. However another source claims the name came from the Irish diarmaid, which meant "the god of arms." [1]

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The recording of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. Since the general population did not know how to read or write, they could only specify how their names should be recorded orally. Research into the name McDermott revealed spelling variations, including Dermott, Dermot, Dermitt, Dermit, McDermott, Dermutt, Dermut, MacDermott, McDermot, MacDermot, MacDermitt, McDermitt, MacDermit and many more.

First found in County Roscommon (Irish: Ros Comáin) located in central Ireland in the province of Connacht, where the family is believed to have been descended from the Heremon dynasty of Irish Kings and were known as the Princes of Moylurg, or the Kings of Connacht, known as the Clann Mulroona. Specifically they were descended from Teige, a King of Connacht and his son, Murtogh, Prince of Moylurg. Their ancient territories were in the counties of Roscommon and Galway. They were divided into three septs. One of the septs embraced English rule early and relatively painlessly, the other two suffered at the hands of Strongbow's invasion in the 12th century. Of the other two septs, the more prominent is based in Coolavin, in Sligo. This sept was originally found at Moylurg and controlled a large part of Roscommon. The head of this branch was one of the few leaders who is still credited as an authentic chieftain by the Genealogical Office of Ireland, conferring the rightful title The MacDermot. Moreover, the chief is also unofficially styled Prince of Coolavin. The third sept held a family seat at Kilronan in the north of Roscommon, and was referred to as MacDermot Roe, from the word ruadh, which means "red."


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McDermott research. Another 237 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1251, 1320, 1641, 1592, 1717, 1707 and 1717 are included under the topic Early McDermott History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 55 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McDermott Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the McDermott family came to North America quite early:

McDermott Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Angus McDermott, who landed in Maryland in 1716
  • Cornelius McDermott, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746

McDermott Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Hen McDermott, who landed in America in 1806
  • Henry McDermott, aged 23, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Thomas McDermott, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1816
  • Edwd McDermott, aged 17, arrived in America in 1822
  • Roddy McDermott, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1823


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  • Mark Anthony "Dylan" McDermott (b. 1962), American Golden Globe and Emmy nominated actor from Waterbury, Connecticut
  • John J. McDermott Jr. (1891-1971), the first U.S. born golfer to win the U.S. Open
  • Maurice Joseph "Mickey" McDermott Jr. (1929-2003), American Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher
  • Marcus McDermott (1881-1929), Australian-born American Broadway and American film actor
  • Eugene McDermott (1899-1973), American geophysicist and co-founder of first of Geophysical Service and later of Texas Instruments
  • Brigadier General Robert F. McDermott (1920-2006), first permanent Dean of the Faculty at the United States Air Force Academy
  • Donald "Don" Joseph McDermott (b. 1929), American Olympic speed skater
  • William R. McDermott, American businessman, a co-CEO of SAP AG
  • Charles Joseph "Charlie" McDermott (b. 1990), American Young Artist Award nominated television and film actor
  • Drew McDermott (b. 1949), American Professor of Computer Science at Yale University, a specialist in the area of artificial intelligence

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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: Honor probataque virtus
Motto Translation: Honour and approved valour.

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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. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  2. 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).
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  5. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  6. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  7. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  9. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  10. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  11. ...

The McDermott Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McDermott 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 30 July 2014 at 18:39.

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