Bolger History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bolger has changed considerably in the time that has passed since its genesis. It originally appeared in Gaelic as O Bolguidir, which likely meant yellow belly (from bolg odhar).

Early Origins of the Bolger family

The surname Bolger was first found in Wexford (Irish: Loch Garman), founded by Vikings as Waesfjord, and located in Southeastern Ireland, in the province of Leinster, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, and, even today, the name is only very rarely found outside the province of Leinster in Ireland.

Early History of the Bolger family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bolger research. Another 181 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1570, 1608, 1672, and 1679 are included under the topic Early Bolger History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bolger Spelling Variations

Names during the Middle Ages were often recorded under several different spelling variations during the life of their bearers. Literacy was rare at that time and so how a person's name was recorded was decided by the individual scribe. Variations of the name Bolger include Bollger, Bulger, Boulger, O'Bolger, O'Bulger, Bolger, Bolgire, Bulgire, O'Bulgire, O'Bolgire and many more.

Early Notables of the Bolger family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Bolger Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bolger Ranking

In the United States, the name Bolger is the 13,579th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]

United States Bolger migration to the United States +

Many destitute Irish families in the 18th and 19th centuries decided to leave their homeland, which had in many ways been scarred by English colonial rule. One of the most frequent destinations for these families was North America where it was possible for an Irish family to own their own parcel of land. Many of the early settlers did find land awaiting them in British North America, or even later in America, but for the majority of immigrants that arrived as a result of the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s the ownership of land was often a long way off. These Irish people were initially put to work on such industrial projects as the building of bridges, canals, and railroads, or they worked at manufacturing positions within factories. Whenever they arrived, the Irish made enormous contributions to the infant nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the earliest immigrants to bearer the name of Bolger were found through extensive research of immigration and passenger lists:

Bolger Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Bolger who settled in Boston Massachusetts with his wife Cathy in 1804
  • Philip Bolger, who arrived in Mississippi in 1816 [2]
  • Thomas Bolger, his wife and five children who sailed on the "Ann Kenny" from County Waterford, Ireland and arrived in New York State, January 17th 1851
  • Edward, James, Patrick, and Stephen Bolger all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1855 and 1865
  • Anastasia Bolger, aged 16, who settled in America from Rathdowney, in 1899
Bolger Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Annie Bolger, aged 27, who immigrated to America from Ireland, in 1902
  • Annie L. Bolger, aged 28, who immigrated to the United States from Rathanagar, Co. Wexford, in 1902
  • Aidan Bolger, aged 20, who landed in America from Ermiscorthy, Ireland, in 1907
  • Annie Bolger, aged 23, who landed in America from Graigue, Ireland, in 1908
  • Bride Bolger, aged 23, who landed in America from Dublin, Ireland, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Bolger migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bolger Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Bride Bolger, aged 27, who settled in Torbay, Newfoundland, in 1920

Australia Bolger migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Bolger Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Bolger, (b. 1822), aged 18, Irish brick layer who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "British Sovereign" on 16th December 1840, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [3]
  • Ann Bolger, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Navarino" in 1848 [4]
  • Johanna Bolger, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Lismoyne"
  • Patrick Bolger, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Agincourt"

New Zealand Bolger migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Bolger Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Anne Bolger, aged 21, a housemaid, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "City of Auckland" in 1872

Contemporary Notables of the name Bolger (post 1700) +

  • James Cyril Bolger (1932-2020), American Major League Baseball outfielder who appeared in 312 games from 1950 to 1959
  • William F. Bolger (1923-1989), 65th Postmaster General of the United States from 1978 to 1985
  • Ray Bolger (1904-1987), American entertainer known for his portrayal of the Scarecrow and Kansas farmworker Hunk in the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz
  • John Michael Bolger (b. 1957), American actor
  • John Bolger (b. 1954), American actor
  • Sarah Bolger (b. 1991), Irish actress
  • Jim Bolger (b. 1941), Irish racehorse trainer
  • Emma Bolger (b. 1996), Irish child actress
  • Dermot Bolger (b. 1959), Irish novelist, playwright and poet
  • Mrs. Michelle Ann Bolger C.B.E., née McLoughlin, British Chief Nursing Officer for Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to Paediatric Nursing and to Patient Safety by Her Majesty The Queen [5]
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Bolger Motto +

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: Deus nobis Haec Otio Fecit
Motto Translation: God made ??us this leisure

  1. ^
  2. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th October 2020). Retrieved from
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) NAVARINO 1848. Retrieved from
  5. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, on Facebook