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

Origins Available: German, Irish


There are multitude of rich histories underlying the many Irish surnames in use today. The name Mulkey originally appeared in Gaelic as O Maolchathaigh, which means "a descendant of a devotee of St. Cathach." The surname is not, as is often believed, derived from "cathach," meaning "warlike."

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Pronunciation, rather than spelling, was what guided scribes and church officials in recording names, a practice that often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname Mulkey are preserved in documents that were examined for evidence of the family's history. The various spellings of Mulkey included Mulcahey, O'Mulcahey, Mulcahy, O'Mulcahy, Mulcahee, Mulkey, McMulkey and many more.

First found in County Tipperary (Irish: Thiobraid Árann), established in the 13th century in South-central Ireland, in the province of Munster. [1] They claim descendancy from the Moores, hence the same shield. "John, a younger brother or Roger Caoch who is No. 114 on the 'Moore' pedigree, was the ancestor of Mulcahy." The author continues with a footnote, "From a similarity in the pronunciation of the names, some were of opinion the Maolcaich, who is mentioned in the Stowe Missal, might have been the ancestor of the family. " [2] From these early beginnings, two additional branches were established in Ardpaddeen and in Kilkenny. Of this latter branch, "the ancient fort or rath in the parish of Castleconor, County Sligo known as Rath Maoilcatha, has suggested the idea that this family may have derived their name from the Maolcatha after whom the rath is called; and therefore that they are descended from the royal stock from which branched the O'Connors, Kings of Connaught." [2]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mulkey research. Another 203 words (14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Mulkey History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Often leaving from racial discrimination and colonial oppression, thousands of families left Ireland in the 19th century for North America aboard passenger ships. Many early immigrants found a plot of land to call their own, something unimaginable for most Irish families. Those that arrived later were often accommodated as laborers since there was a large demand for cheap labor. This was the fate for many of the families that arrived in North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Whether they became agrarian settlers or industrial workers, the Irish that came to North America were invaluable for rapid development of the infant nations of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name Mulkey or a variant listed above:

Mulkey Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Mrs. M. Mulkey, aged 34, who settled in America from Tulla, in 1901
  • Frederick W. Mulkey, aged 31, who landed in America, in 1905
  • Margaret Mulkey, aged 39, who landed in America from Ennis, Ireland, in 1907
  • John L. Mulkey, aged 32, who emigrated to the United States, in 1912
  • Edward Mulkey, aged 53, who emigrated to America, in 1919


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  • William O. Mulkey (1871-1943), United States Representative from Alabama
  • Frederick W. Mulkey (1874-1924), United States Senator from Oregon
  • William Oscar Mulkey (1871-1943), American Democrat politician, Member of Alabama State House of Representatives, 1911; U.S. Representative from Alabama 3rd District, 1914-15
  • P. F. Mulkey, American politician, Village President of Western Springs, Illinois, 1935
  • John H. Mulkey, American politician, Justice of Illinois State Supreme Court, 1879-88
  • Frederick William Mulkey (1874-1924), American Republican politician, U.S. Senator from Oregon, 1907, 1918


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  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)

Other References

  1. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  2. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  3. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  4. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  5. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  6. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  7. 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).
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. 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. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  11. ...

The Mulkey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Mulkey 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 31 March 2016 at 13:46.

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