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

Where did the Irish O'Shields family come from? What is the Irish O'Shields family crest and coat of arms? When did the O'Shields family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the O'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 O'Shields research. Another 233 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1545, 1548, 1800, and 1886 are included under the topic Early O'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 O'Shields Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: Reverend Archibald Shields, who led the first Virginian settlement and also held estates in Jamaica; Thomas Shield, who settled in Virginia in 1638; Walter Shield, who settled there in 1650.

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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. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  2. 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).
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  5. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  8. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  9. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  10. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
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The O'Shields Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The O'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 4 June 2013 at 16:41.

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