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

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

Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name Tierney originally appeared in Gaelic as O Tighearnaigh, which is derived from "tighearna," which means "lord."

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Irish names were rarely spelled consistently in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations of the name Tierney dating from that time include Tierney, O'Tierney, Tyernie, Tiernay, O'Tierny and others.

First found in County Mayo (Irish: Maigh Eo) located on the West coast of the Republic of Ireland in the province of Connacht, where their chiefs were the Lords of Carra. Over time, the name became scattered through Ireland, but pockets of the name can still be found in most counties of Mayo and Connacht.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tierney research. Another 394 words(28 lines of text) covering the year 1172 is included under the topic Early Tierney History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the Tierney family in North America:

Tierney Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Mathew Tierney, who arrived in Mississippi in 1798

Tierney Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Michael Tierney, who landed in America in 1811
  • Joseph Tierney, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816
  • Francis Tierney, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816
  • Hugh Tierney, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816
  • Andrew Tierney, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1818


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  • Gene Tierney (1920-1991), American Academy Award-nominated stage and film actress
  • Harry Tierney (1890-1965), American composer of musical theatre
  • Lawrence Tierney (1919-2002), American actor, best known for his screen portrayals as mobsters
  • Maura Tierney (b. 1965), American actress, best known for her role as Abby Lockhart on the television medical drama ER
  • Chris Tierney (b. 1986), American soccer player
  • Brian P. Tierney (b. 1957), American a former advertising and public relations executive and publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Gary Tierney (b. 1986), Scottish professional footballer
  • George Tierney (1761-1830), English Whig politician
  • Malcolm Tierney (1938-2014), British actor, known for his roles in Braveheart (1995), The Saint (1997) and Lovejoy (1986)
  • Marc Tierney (b. 1985), English professional footballer

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  • Genealogical Charts of Descendants of John Tierney and of the Related Families by Raymond Moran Teirney.
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  1. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  2. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  5. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  6. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  7. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  8. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. ...

The Tierney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Tierney 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 21 February 2014 at 13:07.

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