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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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

Gaelic is at the heart of all the Irish surnames that can be found throughout the world today. The original Gaelic form of the name Dorsey is "O'Dorchaidhe," from the word "dorcha," which means "dark." Alternatively, some branches of the family may be descended from Norman stock; the name is also derived from "Arcy," the name of a place in La Manche, Normandy. In this case, the surname would refer to "one from Arcy."


The recording of names in Ireland in the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. The many regional dialects and the predominate illiteracy would have made common surnames appear unrelated to the scribes of the period. Research into the name Dorsey revealed spelling variations, including Dorcey, Dorcy, Dorsey, Darcey, D'Arcy, O'Dorcey, MacDarcy, Darsy and many more.

First found in Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) part of the province of Connacht, located on the west coast of the Island, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dorsey research. Another 675 words (48 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1334, 1384, 1725, 1779, 1598, 1668, 1598 and 1668 are included under the topic Early Dorsey History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 91 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dorsey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish migrating out of their homeland in a great measure due to the oppressive imperial policies of the English government and landowners. Many of these Irish families sailed to North America aboard overcrowded passenger ships. By far, the largest influx of Irish immigrants to North America occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These particular immigrants were instrumental in creation of the United States and Canada as major industrial nations because the many essential elements such as the roadways, canals, bridges, and railways required an enormous quantity of cheap labor, which these poor immigrants provided. Later generations of Irish in these countries also went on to make valuable contributions in such fields as the arts, commerce, politics, and education. Extensive research into immigration and passenger lists has revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Dorsey:

Dorsey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Edward Dorsey, who came to Virginia in 1646
  • James Dorsey, who landed in Maryland in 1668

Dorsey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Patrick Dorsey, aged 30, arrived in Maine in 1812
  • Mrs. Dorsey, who landed in New York, NY in 1812
  • Peter Dorsey, who landed in Maryland in 1813
  • Hugh Dorsey, aged 18, arrived in New York in 1849
  • Caleb Dorsey, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850

Dorsey Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • C F Dorsey, who landed in Victoria, British Columbia in 1862


  • Sarah Anne Ellis Dorsey (1829-1879), born Sarah Anne Ellis, an American novelist and historian, known for her biography of Henry Watkins Allen, Governor of Louisiana
  • Glenn Jamon Dorsey (b. 1985), American NFL football defensive end for the Kansas City Chiefs
  • Kenneth Simon "Ken" Dorsey (b. 1981), American former NFL football quarterback and current NFL quarterback coach, a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist
  • Thomas Andrew Dorsey (1899-1993), African-American musician, known as "the father of black gospel music"
  • Jack Dorsey (b. 1976), American web developer and businessman, known as the creator of Twitter and as the founder and CEO of Square
  • Gail Ann Dorsey (b. 1962), American session musician who has long worked with David Bowie
  • Richard Elmer "Joey" Dorsey (1983-1983), American professional basketball player
  • Irving Lee Dorsey (1924-1986), African American pop/R&B singer during the 1960s
  • Tim Dorsey (b. 1961), American crime novelist
  • Decatur Dorsey (1836-1891), Union Army soldier in the American Civil War, recipient of the Medal of Honor, for his actions at the Battle of the Crater



  • Grandparents Are Great by Lois Colette Dorsey Bennington.

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: Un dieu, un roi
Motto Translation: One God, one king.


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  1. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  2. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  5. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  6. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  7. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  9. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  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).
  11. ...

The Dorsey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dorsey 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 January 2016 at 15:57.

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