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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

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

While many Irish names are familiar, their past incarnations are often shrouded in mystery, reflecting the ancient Gaelic heritage of their bearers. The original Gaelic form of the name Maher is O Meachair, derived from the word "michair," which means "hospitable" or "kindly."


One explanation for the many variations is that scribes and church officials frequently spelled the name as it sounded: an imprecise method at best. Understandably then, various spellings of the surname Maher were found in the many archives researched. These included Maher, O'Meagher, Meagher, O'Maher, Mahir and others.

First found in County Tipperary (Irish: Thiobraid Árann), established in the 13th century in South-central Ireland, in the province of Munster, where they traditionally belong to the barony of Ikerrin. The family has retained this area as their homestead as over 50% of them come from here. [1]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Maher research. Another 239 words(17 lines of text) covering the year 1172 is included under the topic Early Maher History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 23 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Maher Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many Irish families boarded ships bound for North America in the middle of 19th century to escape the conditions of poverty and racial discrimination at that time. Although these immigrants often arrived in a destitute state, they went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. An inquiry into many immigration and passenger lists has revealed many early immigrants to North America bearing the Maher family name:

Maher Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Maher, who arrived in Maryland in 1678

Maher Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Roger Maher, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745

Maher Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Mich Maher, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • Elizabeth Maher, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817
  • John Maher, who arrived in Albany, NY in 1834
  • Phillip Maher, who arrived in New York in 1835
  • Patrick Maher, aged 28, arrived in Missouri in 1840

Maher Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Jane Maher, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1807
  • Martin Maher, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1812
  • James Maher, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1826
  • Catherine Maher, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1828
  • Andrew Maher, aged 22, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Sea Horse" in 1833

Maher Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Richard Maher, a carpenter, arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mary Maher, aged 30, a farm servant, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Epaminondas"
  • Bridget Maher, aged 22, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Emerald Isle"
  • Ally Maher, aged 26, a laundress, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Marion"

Maher Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Bartholomew Maher, aged 42, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inchinnan" in 1852
  • Mary Ann Maher, aged 1, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inchinnan" in 1852
  • Hugh Maher arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Portland" in 1864
  • Daniel Maher arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Portland" in 1864
  • Daniel Maher, aged 29, a dyer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873


  • George W. Maher (1864-1926), famous American architect, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (1916)
  • Patrick Maher (b. 1965), best-selling American writer
  • Sean Maher (b. 1975), American actor
  • William "Bill" Maher Jr. (b. 1956), American stand-up comedian, television host, political commentator, author, and actor
  • Kaitlyn Ashley Maher (b. 2004), American child singer and actress
  • William "Bill" Patrick Maher (b. 1946), American bronze medalist rower at the 1968 Summer Olympics
  • Brett Maher (b. 1989), American CFL football placekicker
  • John A. Maher (b. 1997), American politician, Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
  • Alice Maher (b. 1956), Irish painter and sculptor
  • Patrick Maher (b. 1989), Irish sportsperson (hurler)



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: In periculis audax
Motto Translation: Bold in danger



  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)

Other References

  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  4. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  5. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  6. 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).
  7. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  8. 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).
  9. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  10. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  11. ...

The Maher Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Maher 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 20 February 2015 at 16:55.

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