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

Origins Available: English, Irish


The surname Power came from a nickname for a poor man or a pauper. This name implies a voluntary vow of poverty rather than involuntary destitution. The surname Power is derived from the Old French word "povre," which comes from the Latin word "pauper," which means "poor." The Gaelic form of the surname is "de Paor," although the proper prefix would be "le."

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The surname Power was first found in Devon, where they were descended from Rivalon, Lord of Poncar, in Brittany. Bartholomew Poher was granted lands in Devon and was Lord of Blackborough and was father of Robert Poher (sometimes called Sir Roger or Robert le Poer) who accompanied Strongbow in the Irish invasion in 1172. They were granted the county of Waterford by Strongbow and became active in the Government of Waterford and the whole of Ireland. [1] The original settler Robert was killed in 1188 but his many sons and grandchildren established a name which would eventually become as Irish as the native Irish. Another source provides more details: "The immediate descendant of Norman Le Poer, or Power, was Sir Roger Le Poer, Knt., who accompanied Strongbow to Ireland, and obtained for his services three considerable territorial grants. He was ancestor of the Lords de la Poer, now represented by the Marquess of Waterford, and the many eminent families of Power in the South of Ireland, the Powers of Clashmore, Faithlegg, Kilfane, Belleville, etc." [2]

Medieval scribes and church officials spelt names simply the way they sounded, which explains the various name spelling variations of the name Power that were encountered when researching that surname. The many spelling variations included: Power, Powers, le Poer and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Power research. Another 131 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1172 and 1188 are included under the topic Early Power History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Irish immigration to North American began in the late 18th century as many Irish families desired to own their own land. This pattern of immigration grew slowly yet steadily until the 1840s. At that time, a failed crop and a growing population in Ireland resulted in the Great Potato Famine. Poverty, disease, and starvation ravaged the land. To ease their pain and suffering the Irish often looked upon North America as a solution: hundreds of thousands undertook the voyage. Their arrival meant the growth of industry and commerce for British North America and the United States. For the individual Irishman, it meant survival and hope, and the opportunity for work, freedom, and ownership of land. The early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Power:

Power Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Inocent Power, who arrived in Virginia in 1622
  • John Power, who landed in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1643
  • John and Joan Power, who settled in Jamaica in 1654
  • Morris Power, who arrived in America in 1654-1679
  • Edmond Power, who landed in Virginia in 1664


Power Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Anthony Power, who arrived in Virginia in 1713
  • Clement Power, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746
  • Richard Power, a fisherman of Trinity in 1759
  • Latrie Power, aged 43, landed in Louisiana in 1797

Power Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Francis Power, who arrived in America in 1807
  • James Power, who landed in America in 1812
  • Lawrence Power, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817
  • Manuel Power, who landed in Puerto Rico in 1823
  • Michael Power, aged 21, landed in Missouri in 1840


Power Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Andrew Power, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750

Power Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • George Power, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1803
  • Eleanor Power, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1819
  • Bridget Power, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1822
  • Joanna Power, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1824
  • Judith Power, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1831


Power Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Margaret Power arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Britannia" in 1846
  • Patrick Power arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Britannia" in 1846
  • Margaret Power a domestic servant, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Britannia" in 1846
  • Mary Power a domestic servant, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Britannia" in 1846
  • Robert Power arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Childe Harold" in 1849


Power Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Richard Power, aged 36, a mason, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1842
  • Eleanor Power, aged 35, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1842
  • Eleanor Power, aged 11, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1842
  • Mary Power, aged 8, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1842
  • Edward Power arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859


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  • General Thomas Sarsfield Power (1905-1970), American Commander in Chief Strategic Air Command (1957-1964)
  • Samantha Power (b. 1970), American journalist, writer, academic, and government official awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction
  • First Lieutenant John Vincent Power (1918-1944), American soldier, awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944
  • Ted Power (b. 1955), American Major League Baseball player
  • Tyrone Edmund Power Jr. (1914-1958), American film and stage actor
  • Sir James Power, High Sheriff of Dublin, founder of John's Lane Distillery in 1791, whose Powers Gold Label Irish whiskey is still brewed today
  • Harold Littledale Power (1833-1901), Irish actor, wine merchant, mine agent & engineer
  • Mr. Daniel Power, English Fireman from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Mr. William  Power (1869-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Duffy Power (1941-2014), English blues and rock and roll singer, who achieved some success in the 1960s and continued to perform and record intermittently later

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  • A Genealogical Record of the Power(s) Families by Franklin E. Powers.
  • Descendants of Alexander Power of Laurens County, South Carolina by Lucien L. McNees.
  • Parke-Reitz and Erwin-Powers Families of Kansas by Elva Griffith Reitz.
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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. 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.
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  4. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  6. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  7. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  8. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. 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. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  11. ...

The Power Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Power 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 11 March 2016 at 12:15.

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