Show ContentsBulger History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bulger has changed considerably in the time that has passed since its genesis. It originally appeared in Gaelic as Ó Bolguidir, which likely meant yellow belly (from bolg odhar). 1

Early Origins of the Bulger family

The surname Bulger 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. 2

Early History of the Bulger family

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

Bulger Spelling Variations

Because early scribes and church officials often spelled names as they sounded, a person could have many various spellings of his name.Many different spelling variations of the surname Bulger were found in the archives researched. These included Bollger, Bulger, Boulger, O'Bolger, O'Bulger, Bolger, Bolgire, Bulgire, O'Bulgire, O'Bolgire and many more.

Early Notables of the Bulger family

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

Bulger Ranking

In the United States, the name Bulger is the 9,594th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 3

United States Bulger migration to the United States +

In the 18th and 19th centuries, thousands of Irish families fled an Ireland that was forcibly held through by England through its imperialistic policies. A large portion of these families crossed the Atlantic to the shores of North America. The fate of these families depended on when they immigrated and the political allegiances they showed after they arrived. Settlers that arrived before the American War of Independence may have moved north to Canada at the war's conclusion as United Empire Loyalists. Such Loyalists were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Those that fought for the revolution occasionally gained the land that the fleeing Loyalist vacated. After this period, free land and an agrarian lifestyle were not so easy to come by in the East. So when seemingly innumerable Irish immigrants arrived during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s, free land for all was out of the question. These settlers were instead put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Whenever they came, Irish settlers made an inestimable contribution to the building of the New World. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name Bulger or a variant listed above, including:

Bulger Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mary Bulger who settled in New England in 1752
  • John Bulger, who settled in New England in 1758
  • Mary Bulger, who landed in America in 1760-1763 4
Bulger Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Nelly Bulger, aged 23, who landed in Maine in 1812 4
  • James Bulger, who settled in Barnstable in 1822
  • Patrick Bulger, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1825 4
  • Edward Bulger, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1854 4
  • George Bulger, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1855 4
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Bulger migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bulger Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Phillip Bulger, who settled in St. John's, Newfoundlandas a laborer in 1775 5
Bulger Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mary Bulger alias Condon was married in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1803 5
  • Richard Bulger, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1817
  • Benjamin Bulger was a planter of Twillingate, Newfoundland in 1822
  • Anastasia Bulger, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1827
  • Edward Bulger, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1830
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Bulger migration to Australia +

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

Bulger Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Patrick Bulger, (b. 1816), aged 27, Irish shoe maker who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years for desertion from the army, transported aboard the "Constant" on 9th May 1843, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) 6
  • John Bulger, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Wanderer" 7
  • John Bulger, aged 22, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Wanderer" in 1851 7

Contemporary Notables of the name Bulger (post 1700) +

  • James Joseph "Whitey" Bulger Jr. (1929-2018), American former organized crime boss of the Winter Hill Gang in Boston, Massachusetts, one of the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives; he was captured in 2011
  • William Michael "Billy" Bulger (b. 1934), retired American Democratic politician, lawyer, and educator, President of the University of Massachusetts (1996-2003), President of the Massachusetts Senate (1978-1996), younger brother of James "Whitey" Bulger, their father was from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland
  • Peggy Bulger (b. 1950), American folklorist and Director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress
  • Marc Bulger (b. 1977), American football player, voted MVP of the 2004 Pro Bowl
  • William Michael Bulger (b. 1934), American politician, President of the Massachusetts State Senate and president of the University of Massachusetts
  • Lawrence "Larry" Quinlivan Bulger (1870-1928), nicknamed "Fat Cupid", an Irish rugby union player, athlete and doctor, brother of Daniel and Michael Bulger
  • Michael Joseph Bulger (1867-1938), Irish rugby player, athlete and medical doctor, brother of Daniel and Lawrence Bulger
  • Daniel Delany Bulger (1865-1930), Irish athlete winner of 25 Gold Medals at Irish athletic championships, brother of Michael and Lawrence Bulger
  • Anthony Bulger, British Circuit Judge

The Bulger 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. MacLysaght, Edward, The Surnames of Ireland. Ireland: Irish Academic Press, sixth edition, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2366-3)
  2. MacLysaght, Edward, More Irish Families. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0)
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. 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)
  5. Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th March 2021). Retrieved from
  7. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) WANDERER 1851. Retrieved on Facebook