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

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

Hundreds of years ago, the Gaelic name used by the Sharkey family in Ireland was O Searcaigh, which is derived from the word "searcach," which means "loving."

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A name was often recorded during the Middle Ages under several different spelling variations during the life of its bearer because literacy was rare there was no real push to clearly define any of the languages found in the British Isles at that time. Variations found of the name Sharkey include Sharkey, O'Sharkey, Sharket, O'Serky, O'Sherkott, Sherkott, O'Sergoid and many more.

First found in Tyrone (Irish:Tír Eoghain), the ancient territory of the O'Neills, now in the Province of Ulster, central Northern Ireland, where they were established in ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sharkey research. Another 231 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 157 and 1578 are included under the topic Early Sharkey History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North America. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Sharkey:

Sharkey Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Peter Sharkey, who sailed to Virginia in 1649
  • Peter Sharkey, who landed in Virginia in 1649

Sharkey Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • George Sharkey was living in Maryland at the end of the 18th century
  • Hugh Sharkey, who arrived in America in 1795

Sharkey Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Barnard Sharkey sailed to Philadelphia in 1811
  • John Sharkey, who arrived in America in 1848
  • Jno O Sharkey, who landed in Texas in 1850-1906
  • Patrick Sharkey, who arrived in America in 1852
  • Joseph Sharkey, who landed in America in 1854


Sharkey Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Catherine Sharkey moved to North Dakota in 1910

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  • Thomas C Sharkey, American physician who served with the USAF
  • Joseph Edward Sharkey, American journalist
  • Jack Sharkey (1902-1994), born Joseph Paul Zukauskas, American heavyweight boxing champion
  • Raymond "Ray" Sharkey (1952-1993), American actor, best known for his role as Sonny Steelgrave in the television series Wiseguy
  • Tom "Sailor Tom" Sharkey (1873-1953), American boxer who fought from 1893 to 1904, named to the Ring Magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time
  • William J. Sharkey (1885-1918), American officer in the United States Navy during World War I, eponym of the USS Sharkey (DD-281)
  • Edward Joseph Sharkey (b. 1927), former American NFL football linebacker
  • Jerry Sharkey (1943-2014), American Wright brothers historian, conceived idea for Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park
  • Feargal Sharkey (b. 1958), Northern Irish singer, lead singer of the pop punk band The Undertones
  • Kevin Sharkey (b. 1962), Irish artist and designer

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  • Louth to Louisiana: The Story of the Sharkey Family and their Kindred by Nicholas Russell Murray.
  • The Sharkey Family by Margaret Sharkey Welch.
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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: Redit expectata diu
Motto Translation: The expected returns for a long time

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  1. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  4. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  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. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  9. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  10. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  11. ...

The Sharkey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sharkey 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 7 October 2014 at 14:41.

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