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

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

Hundreds of years ago, the Gaelic name used by the Shirk family in Ireland was O Searcaigh, which is derived from the word "searcach," which means "loving."


The recording of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. Since the general population did not know how to read or write, they could only specify how their names should be recorded orally. Research into the name Shirk revealed spelling variations, including Sharkey, O'Sharkey, Sharket, O'Serky, O'Sherkott, Sherkott, O'Sergoid and many more.

First found in Tyrone (Irish:Tír Eoghain), the ancient territory of the O'Neills, now in the Province of Ulster, central Northern Ireland, where they were established in ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shirk research. Another 231 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 157 and 1578 are included under the topic Early Shirk History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


A great mass of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century, seeking relief from various forms of social, religious, and economic discrimination. This Irish exodus was primarily to North America. If the migrants survived the long ocean journey, many unfortunately would find more discrimination in the colonies of British North America and the fledgling United States of America. These newly arrived Irish were, however, wanted as a cheap source of labor for the many large agricultural and industrial projects that were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the western world. Early immigration and passenger lists indicate many people bearing the Shirk name:

Shirk Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • J. Shirk, aged 39, who settled in America, in 1892
  • S. M. Shirk, who landed in America, in 1892
  • C. H. Shirk, aged 40, who emigrated to the United States, in 1895
  • E. W. Shirk, aged 38, who settled in America from Liverpool, in 1897
  • Mrs. E. W. Shirk, aged 36, who landed in America from Liverpool, in 1897

Shirk Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Elbert-Wright Shirk, who landed in America, in 1904
  • William Wright Shirk, who settled in America, in 1905
  • David F. Shirk, aged 47, who landed in America, in 1906
  • Nannie R. Shirk, aged 60, who emigrated to America, in 1906
  • Miss Georgina H Shirk, aged 40, who emigrated to the United States, in 1906

Shirk Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Vera D. Shirk, aged 20, who emigrated to Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, in 1913
  • Ethel Shirk, aged 26, who emigrated to Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, in 1914


  • Susan L. Shirk, American expert on Chinese politics, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
  • Amos Urban Shirk (1890-1956), American businessman and author
  • Bill Shirk (b. 1945), American escape artist, radio personality, broadcast entrepreneur
  • Gary Lee Shirk (b. 1950), former professional American NFL football tight end for the New York Giants
  • Henry Shirk (1913-1977), American lawyer, historian, and Mayor of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • James W. Shirk (1832-1873), United States Navy officer during the American Civil War, eponym of the USS Shirk (DD-318)
  • John Francis Shirk (1917-1993), American NFL football end/defensive end for the Chicago Cardinals
  • Kenneth Ivan "Ken" Shirk, American ultramarathon runner
  • Matthew Aaron Shirk (b. 1973), American lawyer currently serving as Public Defender for Florida's Fourth Judicial Circuit


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: Redit expectata diu
Motto Translation: The expected returns for a long time



  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  2. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  3. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  4. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  7. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  8. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  10. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Shirk Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Shirk 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 September 2012 at 09:15.

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