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

Origins Available: English, Irish

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

This name was anglicized from Siadhail in Gaelic, meaning an 'ancestor of Siadhail' (the prefix O denotes 'grandfather of'). Siadhail has been translated to mean 'sloth' or 'sluggishness'. As this name is descriptive of its original bearer, it is considered to be a nickname. However, many Irish of this name originally came from England or Scotland where the name Shields is derived from an Old English word meaning 'shed' or 'hut' - a somewhat more flattering meaning.

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Shiel, Sheilles, Sheild, Sheill, Sheels, Sheils, Sheil, Shield, Shields, Shieles, Shiels, Shiells, Shielles, Shiell, Sheills, Sheilds and many more.

First found in the Ulster region counties of Donegal, Derry, Antrim and Down. This family are reputed to be descendents of the great King Niall of the Nine Hostages.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shields research. Another 233 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1545, 1548, 1800, and 1886 are included under the topic Early Shields History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 67 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Shields Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

  • Reverend Archibald Shields who led the first Virginian settlement also held estates in Jamaica

Shields Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Eliz Shields, who landed in Carolina in 1724

Shields Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Charles Shields, who landed in America in 1807
  • Alexander Shields, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Peter Shields, who arrived in America in 1808
  • George Shields, who arrived in America in 1811
  • Frindley Shields, who landed in New York, NY in 1815


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  • Francis Alexander Shields (1941-2003), American Republican, executive at Revlon, best known as the father of the actress Brooke Shields
  • Christa Brooke Camille Shields (b. 1965), American actress and former fashion model better known as Brooke Shields
  • James Shields (1810-1879), American politician and U.S. Army officer
  • Francis Xavier "Frank" Shields (1909-1975), famous amateur American tennis player
  • Teri Shields (b. 1933), American actress, film producer, socialite and mother of actress Brooke Shields
  • Brooke Christa Shields (b. 1965), American actress, author and model
  • William Joseph Shields (1888-1961), birth name of Barry Fitzgerald, the Irish stage, film and television actor
  • Carol Ann Shields CC, OM, FRSC (1935-2003), Canadian author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the Governor General's Award in Canada for her 1993 novel The Stone Diaries
  • Brigadier Peter Ross Shields, Canadian Commanding Officer Increment Headquarters I Canadian Corps, England
  • Dame Margaret Kerslake Shields DNZM, QSO, JP (1941-2013), New Zealand politician of the Labour Party


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  • Brooke's Book: Ancestry of Brooke Shields by Daniel MacGregor.
  • Shields Family.
  • Irish Origins of the Shields Family by John Edgar Shields.
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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: Omne solum forti patria
Motto Translation: Every land is a native country to a brave man

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  1. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. 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. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  7. 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.
  8. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  9. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  10. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  11. ...

The Shields Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Shields 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 2 December 2013 at 00:45.

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