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Origins Available: English, Irish


Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Shea is O Seaghdha, which is modified to O Se. The surname is derived from the word seaghdha which means hawk like but has a secondary meaning of stately.

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The surname Shea was first found in County Kerry (Irish:Ciarraí) part of the former County Desmond (14th-17th centuries), located in Southwestern Ireland, in Munster province, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

A name was often recorded during the Middle Ages under several different spelling variations during the life of its bearer because literacy was rare there was no real push to clearly define any of the languages found in the British Isles at that time. Variations found of the name Shea include O'Shea, O'Shee, McShea, McShee and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shea research. Another 232 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1172 and 1500 are included under the topic Early Shea History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Shea Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North Ameri ca. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Shea:

Shea Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Jone Shea, who landed in Maryland in 1678
  • Nicholas Shea, who landed in Maryland in 1678

Shea Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Edward Shea, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Luke Shea, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1720
  • Timothy Shea, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766
  • James Shea, who landed in America in 1794

Shea Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Philip Shea, who landed in America in 1801
  • Peter Shea, who arrived in America in 1803
  • Mary Shea, who landed in Massachusetts in 1813
  • Michael Shea, who arrived in New York, NY in 1838
  • Jeremiah Shea, who landed in Tippecanoe County, Ind in 1842
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Shea Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Mike Shea, who landed in Arkansas in 1902
  • Will Shea, who landed in Arkansas in 1906

Shea Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Patrick Shea, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1778
  • Mr. William Elihu Shea U.E. who settled in Carleton [Saint John City], New Brunswick c. 1784 [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X

Shea Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Richard Shea, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1803
  • Jane Shea, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1808
  • Mary Shea, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1821
  • Robert Shea, aged 36, arrived in Canada in 1823
  • Simon Shea, aged 2, landed in Canada in 1823
  • ...

Shea Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Mary Shea, aged 30, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Elgin"
  • Luke Shea, aged 31, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Cheapside"
  • Luke Shea arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Cheapside" in 1849
  • Mary Shea, aged 30, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Elgin" in 1849
  • Catherine Shea arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Inconstant" in 1849
  • ...

Shea Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • E Shea landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1843
  • Michael Shea, aged 26, a ploughman, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874
  • Michael Shea, aged 24, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Salisbury" in 1874
  • Ellen Shea, aged 24, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Salisbury" in 1874
  • Daniel Shea, aged 3, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Salisbury" in 1874
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  • John Joseph Shea Jr. (1924-2015), American medical doctor, professor and surgeon
  • Major-General George David Shea (1894-1971), American Commanding General 10th Mountain Division (1951-1953)
  • John F. Shea Jr. (1928-2013), American businessman, jurist, and politician, Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives (1961-1962)
  • Michael Shea (1943-2014), American fantasy, horror and science fiction writer
  • Mike Shea (1867-1927), American Major League pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds in the late 19th century
  • Michael Shea (1952-1968), American child actor, best known for his role as Huckleberry Finn in 1968
  • John Gilmary Shea (1824-1892), American writer, editor, and historian
  • Jack Shea (b. 1928), American film and television director, president of the Directors Guild of America from 1997 to 2002
  • Amos Shea (1910-2002), American double-gold medalist in speed skating at the 1932 Winter Olympics
  • George Beverly "Bev" Shea (1909-2013), Canadian-born, American Grammy Award-winning gospel singer and hymn composer
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Shea Historic Events



Halifax Explosion

  • Master Maurice Shea Jr. (1908-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Miss Mary Catherine  Shea (1912-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Miss Ernestine  Shea (1912-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mrs. Rita  Shea, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mrs. Barbara  Shea, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
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RMS Titanic

  • Mr. John Shea (d. 1912), aged 39, English Saloon Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett
  • Mr. Thomas Shea, aged 32, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking
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  • Shay Families with Roots in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania by Thomas P. Shay.
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Citations



  1. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X

Other References

  1. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  2. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  3. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  4. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  5. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  6. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  7. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  8. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  9. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  10. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  11. ...

The Shea Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Shea 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 13 June 2016 at 11:31.

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