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

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

Irish surnames are linked to the long Gaelic heritage of the Island nation. The original Gaelic form of the name O'Hara is O hEaghra, connoting a descendant of Eaghra. O'Hara is a patronymic surname, which derived from the vernacular given name tradition.

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Lacking standardized spellings, scribes and church officials recorded people's name according to how they sounded. This practice often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname O'Hara are preserved in the archival documents of the period. The various spellings of the name that were found include Hara, Harra, O'Hara and others.

First found in County Sligo (Irish: Sligeach), in the province of Connacht in Northwestern Ireland, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Hara research. Another 245 words(18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Hara History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Suffering from poverty and racial discrimination, thousands of Irish families left the island in the 19th century for North America aboard cramped passenger ships. The early migrants became settlers of small tracts of land, and those that came later were often employed in the new cities or transitional work camps. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Although the immigrants from this period were often maligned when they arrived in the United States, they provided the cheap labor that was necessary for the development of that country as an industrial power. Early immigration and passenger lists have revealed many immigrants bearing the name O'Hara:

O'Hara Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Charles O'Hara, who came to Boston in 1716
  • Ann O'Hara, an English convict sent to Rappahannock, Virginia in 1740
  • David O'Hara, who was naturalized in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1783

O'Hara Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Edward O'Hara, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817
  • Charles, Daniel, Francis, James, John, Martin, Michael, Patrick, and Thomas O'Hara arrived in Philadelphia between 1810 and 1870

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  • Francis Russell "Frank" O'Hara (1926-1966), American art critic, dramatist, and poet
  • John Francis O'Hara (1888-1960), American Catholic clergyman and educator, who president of University of Notre Dame from 1934-1939 and made a Cardinal in 1958
  • John Henry O'Hara (1905-1970), American novelist and short story author
  • Kelley Maureen O'Hara (b. 1988), American Olympic soccer gold medalist at the 2012 Summer Olympics
  • Paige O'Hara (b. 1956), born Donna Paige Helmintoller, an American actress, singer, and painter, known for her voice-over work on Beauty and the Beast (1991), Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997) and Enchanted (2007)
  • Jamie O'Hara (b. 1950), American country music singer
  • Francis Russell "Frank" O'Hara (1926-1966), American writer, poet and art critic, member of the New York School of poetry, posthumous recipient of the 1972 National Book Award for Poetry
  • Kelli O'Hara (b. 1976), American four-time Tony Award nominated stage actress, singer, and songwriter
  • Terrence O'Hara, American Hugo Award nominated film, television director and actor
  • Patricia Joanne "Jenny" O'Hara (b. 1942), American film, television and stage actress

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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: Virtute et claritate
Motto Translation: By virtue and high repute.

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  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. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  5. 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.
  6. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  7. 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).
  8. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  9. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  10. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  11. ...

The O'Hara Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The O'Hara 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 22 January 2014 at 18:33.

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