Dwyer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Hundreds of years ago, the Gaelic name used by the Dwyer family in Ireland was O Duibhir and Mac Duibhir. These are both derived from the words dubh, which means black, and odhar or uidhir, which means uncolored. Another source has a slightly different explanation: "Descendant of the dark, tawny man; grandson of Dubhodhar (black Odhar)." [1] And yet another notes: "Said to be the Gaelic do-ire, a woody uncultivated place." [2]

Early Origins of the Dwyer family

The surname Dwyer was first found in County Tipperary where they were the traditional Lords of Kilnamanagh. They claim descent from Cairbre Cluitheachar, the youngest son of Cucorb, King of Leinster through the O'Connors (Faley.) [3] Although the O'Dwyers originally held a family seat in the barony of Kilnamanagh, they later branched to Clonyhorpa and Drumdromy in the same county. The eponymous ancestor of the O'Dwyers was Duibhir (sometimes spelled Duibhidir and Dubhiir), [3] the 11th century chief of the sept.

Early History of the Dwyer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dwyer research. Another 171 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1473, 1798, 1916, 1842 and 1917 are included under the topic Early Dwyer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dwyer Spelling Variations

Those scribes in Ireland during the Middle Ages recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in this era many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research on the Dwyer family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including Dwyer, O'Dwyer, Dwire, Dwier, Dyer and others.

Early Notables of the Dwyer family (pre 1700)

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

Dwyer World Ranking

In the United States, the name Dwyer is the 1,368th most popular surname with an estimated 22,383 people with that name. [4] However, in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Dwyer is ranked the 112nd most popular surname with an estimated 309 people with that name. [5] And in Australia, the name Dwyer is the 211st popular surname with an estimated 15,693 people with that name. [6] New Zealand ranks Dwyer as 860th with 853 people. [7]


United States Dwyer migration to the United States +

During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the Dwyer family in North America:

Dwyer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Cate Dwyer, who landed in Maryland in 1678 [8]
Dwyer Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Daniell Dwyer, who landed in Virginia in 1702 [8]
  • John Dwyer, who settled in Virginia in 1736
Dwyer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Andrew Dwyer, aged 32, who arrived in Louisiana in 1812 [8]
  • William Dwyer, aged 21, who arrived in New York in 1812 [8]
  • Jeremiah Dwyer, aged 27, who arrived in New York in 1815 [8]
  • Joseph Dwyer, aged 25, who arrived in America in 1822 [8]
  • Timothy Dwyer, aged 30, who landed in Missouri in 1842 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Dwyer migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Dwyer Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
Dwyer Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Judith Dwyer, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1832
  • Margaret Dwyer, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1832
  • John Dwyer, aged 45, a carpenter, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Ann & Mary" from Cork, Ireland
  • Mary Dwyer, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1834
  • Mary Tracy Dwyer, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1835
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Dwyer migration to Australia +

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

Dwyer Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Dwyer, (b. 1776), aged 26, Irish quarryman who was convicted in Limerick, Ireland for lif for being an Irish rebel , transported aboard the "Atlas" on 30th May 1802, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1844 [10]
  • Mr. John Dwyer, (b. 1758), aged 44, Irish convict who was convicted in Tipperary, Ireland for lif, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 30th May 1802, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • James Dwyer, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mr. Hugh Dwyer, (b. 1799), aged 21, Irish servant who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years for felony, transported aboard the "Dorothy" on 5th May 1820, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [12]
  • Mr. Michael Dwyer, (b. 1799), aged 21, Irish labourer who was convicted in Cork, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Dorothy" on 5th May 1820, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Dwyer 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:

Dwyer Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Cornelius Dwyer, aged 45, a farmer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • Mary Dwyer, aged 34, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • Margaret Dwyer, aged 17, a dairywoman, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • John Dwyer, aged 14, a ploughboy, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • William Dwyer, aged 14, a farmer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Dwyer (post 1700) +

  • Jim Dwyer (1957-2020), American two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, 1992 for Spot News Reporting, and 1995 for Commentary
  • Doriot Anthony Dwyer (b. 1922), American flutist, one of the first women to be awarded principal chair for a major U.S. orchestra
  • William Vincent Dwyer (1883-1946), American early Prohibition gangster and bootlegger in New York during the 1920s
  • Bernard James Dwyer (1921-1998), United States Representative from New Jersey
  • Florence Price Dwyer (1902-1976), American politician who was second female elected to House from New Jersey
  • Michael Dwyer (1771-1826), Irish insurgent, born in co. Wicklow in 1771, he took part in the insurrectionary movement of 1798 [13]
  • Finbarr Dwyer (1946-2014), traditional Irish accordion player from the famed Dwyer musical family
  • Sir Joseph Anthony Dwyer FREng FICE DL (1939-2021), British civil engineer and businessman, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Wimpey, cCairman of the British part of TransManche Link, which built the Channel Tunnel
  • Jamie Dwyer (b. 1979), OAM, Australian field hockey player. He represented Australia at the 2004 Summer Olympics winning a gold medal, the 2008 Summer Olympics and 2012 Summer Olympics where Australia won a bronze medal. He has also represented Australia at the 2006 Commonwealth Games winning a gold medal, the 2010 Commonwealth Games winning a gold medal. Won silver medals at the 2002 Men's Hockey World Cup and the 2006 Men's Hockey World Cup. He won a gold medal at the 2010 Men's Hockey World Cup
  • Hilary Dwyer (1945-2020), also known as Hilary Heath, an English actress, businessperson, and film producer
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Flight TWA 800
  • Miss. Larkyn Lynn Dwyer (1984-1996), aged 12, from New River, Arizona, USA, American passenger flying aboard flight TWA 800 from J.F.K. Airport, New York to Leonardo da Vinci Airport, Rome when the plane crashed after takeoff ; she died in the crash [14]
Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. Vincent James  Dwyer (1896-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [15]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Peter Christopher Dwyer, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [16]
RMS Lusitania


The Dwyer 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: Vertus sola nobilitas
Motto Translation: Virtue alone enobles


Suggested Readings for the name Dwyer +

  • The O'Dwyers of Kilnamanagh by Sir Michael O'Dwyer.

  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  7. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  11. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Almorah voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1817 with 180 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/almorah/1817
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dorothy
  13. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020
  14. ^ The Washington Post Passenger List TWA Flight 800. (Retrieved 2018, February 15th). Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/twa800/list01.htm
  15. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  16. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  17. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 10) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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