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

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

All Irish surnames have underlying meanings that can be traced back to their fullest points when the names first appeared in a Gaelic form. The name McDonagh originally appeared in Gaelic as Mac Donnchadha, which means son of Donnchadh or son of Donagh.

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Within archives, many different spelling variations exist for the surname McDonagh. Ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in the name of the single person being recorded under several different spellings. Different spellings that were found include Donaghey, McDonogh, McDonnogh, McDonagh and many more.

First found in County Cork (Irish: Corcaigh) the ancient Kingdom of Deis Muin (Desmond), located on the southwest coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McDonagh research. Another 222 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1779, 1850, and 1878 are included under the topic Early McDonagh History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 26 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McDonagh Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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North America accepted thousands of Irish immigrants during the 19th century as their homeland suffered under foreign imperialistic rule. Although settlers from the early portion of the century came to North America by choice in search of land, by far the largest influx of Irish immigrants came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Many of these Irish families left the country destitute and in some cases suffering from disease. However, those who survived the long ocean voyage were especially vital to the development of industry in the United States and what would become known as Canada. Research of immigration and passenger lists has shown many early immigrants bearing the name McDonagh:

McDonagh Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Michael McDonagh, aged 23, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Pat McDonagh, aged 21, arrived in New York in 1812
  • James McDonagh, who landed in New York, NY in 1816
  • Henry, Hugh, James, Mary, Patrick, Paul, Richard, and Thomas McDonagh all arrived in Philadelphia between 1810 and 1840

McDonagh Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Annie McDonagh, aged 27, who landed in America, in 1901
  • Anne McDonagh, aged 20, who settled in America from Derrycastle, in 1904
  • Abby McDonagh, aged 70, who emigrated to the United States from Garteen Co. Sligo, in 1905
  • Agnes McDonagh, aged 21, who landed in America from Carraroe, Ireland, in 1907
  • Andrew McDonagh, aged 25, who landed in America from Galoway, Ireland, in 1907


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  • Ryan McDonagh (b. 1989), American professional NHL ice hockey defenceman with the New York Rangers
  • Maitland McDonagh, contemporary American film critic from Manhattan
  • Martin McDonagh (b. 1970), contemporary Irish playwright and film director
  • Peter McDonagh (b. 1977), Irish professional boxer
  • Joe McDonagh (b. 1953), retired Irish sportsman
  • Stephen McDonagh (b. 1970), retired Irish sportsperson
  • Jacko McDonagh (b. 1962), Irish professional footballer
  • Margaret Josephine McDonagh, Baroness McDonagh, British Labour Party politician, General Secretary of the Labour Party (1998 to 2001)
  • Charlotte McDonagh (b. 1984), British actress, best known for her role as Lisa West in Grange Hill
  • Siobhain McDonagh (b. 1960), British Labour Member of Parliament for the Mitcham and Morden constituency

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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: Virtutis gloria merces
Motto Translation: Glory is the reward of valour.

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  1. 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.
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  5. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  6. 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).
  7. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  8. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  11. ...

The McDonagh Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McDonagh 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 10:05.

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