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

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

All Irish surnames have underlying meanings that can be traced back to their fullest points when the names first appeared in a Gaelic form. The name McGrath originally appeared in Gaelic as Mac Graith or Mag Raith; these are both derived from the personal name Craith.

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Lacking standardized spellings, scribes and church officials recorded people's name according to how they sounded. This practice often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname McGrath are preserved in the archival documents of the period. The various spellings of the name that were found include MacGrath, MacGraw, MacGrauth, Magrath, Magraw and many more.

First found in County Clare (Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGrath research. Another 173 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1600, and 1650 are included under the topic Early McGrath History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Suffering from poverty and racial discrimination, thousands of Irish families left the island in the 19th century for North America aboard cramped passenger ships. The early migrants became settlers of small tracts of land, and those that came later were often employed in the new cities or transitional work camps. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Although the immigrants from this period were often maligned when they arrived in the United States, they provided the cheap labor that was necessary for the development of that country as an industrial power. Early immigration and passenger lists have revealed many immigrants bearing the name McGrath:

McGrath Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Phillip McGrath settled at Trinity in 1757
  • William McGrath, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1763
  • John McGrath was a cooper in Torbay in 1782
  • Thomas McGrath, who arrived in America in 1798
  • John McGrath, who landed in America in 1799

McGrath Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Edward McGrath, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1802
  • Richard McGrath, who landed in America in 1806
  • Patrick McGrath, who arrived in America in 1811
  • James McGrath, who arrived in America in 1811
  • Bernard McGrath, aged 25, arrived in Massachusetts in 1812


McGrath Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Thomas McGrath who settled in Salmon Cove, Newfoundland in 1752
  • James McGrath was a fisherman out of St. John's in 1764
  • Jeremy McGrath settled in Placentia, Newfoundland in 1794
  • Roger McGrath in Battle Harbour, Newfoundland in 1795

McGrath Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Michael McGrath from Limerick settled in St. John's in 1816
  • Anne Hardin McGrath, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1830
  • Ellen McGrath, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1834
  • Anne McGrath, aged 20, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Breeze" from Dublin
  • Henry McGrath, aged 22, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Cupid" in 1834


McGrath Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Ann McGrath arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Calphurnia" in 1849
  • Bridget McGrath arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Inconstant" in 1849
  • Margaret McGrath arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Inconstant" in 1849
  • Thomas McGrath, aged 16, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Lysander"
  • James McGrath, aged 18, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Lysander"


McGrath Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Martin McGrath, aged 34, a shoemaker, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864
  • Catherine McGrath, aged 27, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864
  • Mary McGrath, aged 1, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864
  • Peter McGrath, aged 33, a shoemaker, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jessie Osborne" in 1867
  • Mary McGrath, aged 27, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jessie Osborne" in 1867


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  • Matt McGrath (1875-1941), American winner of a gold and two sliver Olympic medals for hammer throw at 1908, 1912, and 1924 games
  • Douglas Geoffrey McGrath (b. 1958), American Academy Award, BAFTA and two-time Writers Guild of America Award nominated screenwriter
  • Robert Emmet "Bob" McGrath (b. 1932), American singer and actor, best known for his role as Bob Johnson on Sesame Street
  • Patrick Joseph McGrath (b. 1945), American clergyman, Bishop of San José in California (1999)
  • Frank McGrath (1903-1967), American television actor
  • Campbell McGrath (b. 1962), American poet
  • John McGrath (1935-2002), American vocalist and guitarist
  • Mr. Charles Gilbert Mcgrath (d. 1941), British Marine, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died during the sinking
  • Mr. Herbert H Mcgrath, British Able Seaman, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mrs. Mary  McGrath (1890-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917

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  • Genealogy of the Nicholsan Sisters and Related Families: Clennan, Cushing, Keegan, McCormally, McGrath, Ryan, Langley by Eileen E. Langley.
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  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  3. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  4. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  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. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  7. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  8. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  9. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  10. 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).
  11. ...

The McGrath Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McGrath 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 24 August 2015 at 08:33.

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