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

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

Originally, McGirr was a nickname for a short person. The Gaelic form of the surname is Mac an gheairr, which means son of the short or low-sized man.

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Spelling variations were extremely common in medieval names, since scribes from that era recorded names according to sound rather than a standard set of rules. McGirr has appeared in various documents spelled McGirr, McGeer, McGear, MacGirr, MacGeer, McGhirr and many more.

First found in Kirkcudbrightshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Chille Chuithbheirt), part of the present day Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway, former county in Southwestern Scotland, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, and were believed to be descended from one of the many (350) chiefs who accompanied the banished King Colla da Crioch, who left Ireland for the Hebrides and south west Scotland in the year 327. This ancient Irish clann were originally from County Armagh in Ireland.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGirr research. Another 247 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1684, 1658 and 1890 are included under the topic Early McGirr History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the McGirr family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 123 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Descendents of Dalriadan-Scottish families still populate many communities across North America. They are particularly common in Canada, since many went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the American War of Independence. Much later, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the highland games and Clan societies that now dot North America sprang up, allowing many Scots to recover their lost national heritage. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name McGirr, or a variant listed above:

McGirr Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Felix McGirr who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1827
  • Patrick McGirr settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1830
  • Thomas McGirr, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1837
  • Patrick McGirr, who arrived in Maryland in 1840
  • Owen McGirr settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1849


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  • Herbert Mendelson McGirr (1891-1964), New Zealand cricketer
  • Ernest N McGirr (1887-1982), Canadian politician, who served in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
  • Edward McCombie McGirr, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Glasgow


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  1. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  2. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  3. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  4. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  6. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  7. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  9. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  10. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The McGirr Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McGirr 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 29 September 2012 at 14:47.

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