Show ContentsFerrell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Ferrell surname comes from the Irish Gaelic name O Fearghail, which means "a valiant warrior." [1]

Early Origins of the Ferrell family

The surname Ferrell was first found in Leinster, where they were found mainly in County Longford.

Feargal, Prince of Annaly appears number 105 on the "Line of Ir" descendants. Ir was the fifth son of Milesius of Spain. This Feargal was slain fighting on the aide of Brian Boru at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. However, some writers doubt this claim.

From this progenitor, rose O'Farrell Ban, O'Farrell of Rathline, O'Farrell, the Chiefs of Clanhugh, O'Farrell of Mugh Treagha, O'Farrell of Kenagh and O'Farrell, Chiefs of Clanawley. [1]

Early History of the Ferrell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ferrell research. Another 185 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1235, 1248 and 1659 are included under the topic Early Ferrell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ferrell Spelling Variations

In the Middle Ages many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research on the Ferrell family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including Ferrell, Farrell, O'Ferrall, O'Farrell, Farrelly, Fraleigh, Frawley, Frahill and many more.

Early Notables of the Ferrell family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Jean François Ferrel, a musician in Paris about the middle of the 17th century, wrote a small pamphlet 'A savoir que les maistres de dance, qui sont de vrays maistres larrons à...
Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ferrell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ferrell Ranking

In the United States, the name Ferrell is the 859th most popular surname with an estimated 34,818 people with that name. [2]

United States Ferrell migration to the United States +

The 18th century saw the slow yet steady emigration of Irish families to British North America and the United States. Those early Irish settlers that left their homeland were typically moderately well off: they were enticed by the promise of a sizable plot of land. However, by the 1840s, this pattern of immigration was gone: immigrants to North America were seeking refuge from the starvation and disease that the Great Potato Famine of that decade brought. The great numbers of Irish that arrived to the United States and the soon to be Canada were instrumental in their quick development as powerful industrial nations. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists uncovered many early immigrants bearing the name Ferrell:

Ferrell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Katherine Ferrell, who landed in Virginia in 1649 [3]
  • Hannah Ferrell, who landed in Maryland in 1678 [3]
Ferrell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Robert Ferrell, who arrived in New England in 1720 [3]
  • Homier Ferrell, who arrived in Virginia in 1749 [3]
Ferrell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Peter Ferrell, who arrived in Mississippi in 1840 [3]
  • John I Ferrell, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1847 [3]
  • William Ferrell, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1851 [3]
  • John Ferrell, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]
  • James Ferrell, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1851 [3]
Ferrell Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. George Ferrell, (b. 1882), aged 21, Cornish blacksmith travelling aboard the ship "St Paul" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 16th May 1903 en route to Hancock, Michigan, USA [4]

Australia Ferrell migration to Australia +

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

Ferrell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

New Zealand Ferrell 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:

Ferrell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Ferrell, (b. 1866), aged 16, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Timaru" arriving in Invercargill, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 4th July 1882 [6]

West Indies Ferrell migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [7]
Ferrell Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Bridget Ferrell, who settled in Barbados in 1680

Contemporary Notables of the name Ferrell (post 1700) +

  • John William "Will" Ferrell (b. 1967), American Emmy Award and two-time Golden Globe nominated actor, comedian, producer, and writer, cast member on the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live from Irvine, California, known for his numerous comedy films
  • Conchata Galen Ferrell (1943-2020), American Emmy Award nominated actress, best known for playing Berta the housekeeper for all 12 seasons of the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men
  • John H. Ferrell (1829-1900), American civilian employee of the Union Navy during the American Civil War, recipient of the Medal of Honor, one of civilians to have received the medal
  • Wesley Cheek "Wes" Ferrell (1908-1976), American Major League Baseball player who played from 1927 to 1976
  • Richard Benjamin "Rick" Ferrell (1905-1995), American Major League Baseball catcher who played from 1929 to 1947 and later a scout and general manager with the Detroit Tigers, inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Rachelle Ferrell (b. 1961), American singer and musician
  • Mary Elizabeth McHughes Ferrell (1922-2004), American historian
  • George Ferrell (b. 1881), American politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Berkeley County, 1881; Died in office 1881
  • Frank Ferrell, American politician, Mayor of Sikeston, Missouri, 1973
  • F. Douglas Ferrell, American Democratic Party politician, Member of California State Assembly, 1963-66; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1964
  • ... (Another 22 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Mrs. Jean Ferrell (d. 1979), American passenger, from USA aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; she died in the crash [8]

The Ferrell 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: Cu reabtha
Motto Translation: The rampaging dog.

  1. O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. 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)
  4. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
  5. Convict Records of Australia. Retreived 18th January 2021 from
  6. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  8. Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from on Facebook