Show ContentsLafferty History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish surnames in use today are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name Lafferty originally appeared in Gaelic as "O Flaithbheartaigh," which means "bright ruler."

Early Origins of the Lafferty family

The surname Lafferty was first found in Connemara (Irish : Conamara), which derives from Conmhaicne Mara (meaning: descendants of Con Mhac, of the sea)), County Galway in Connacht where the name claims descent from Flaithbertaigh Ua Flaithbertaigh, King of Connacht, who died 1098. Flaithbertaigh was the first bearer of the surname O'Flaherty, and was Lord of Maigh Seola in what is now County Galway. [1]

"The O'Flahertys were originally located in the Barony of Clare, County Galway, but in the thirteenth century, having been expelled from this territory, they settled in the Barony of Moycullen, and were styled Lords of lar Conacht or West Connaught. A large number of the Flahertys are now to be found in the Baronies of Moycullen, Ross, and Ballinahinch, in County Galway." [2]

Another source gives this background about the family: "This family, whose tribe name was Muintir Murchadha, traced their descent from Flaibheartach, twenty-second in descent from Eochaidh Muighmeadhon, king of Ireland, who died in 366. They were at first settled in Magh Seola, to the east of Lough Corrib, but in the thirteenth century were driven from their original home by the O'Connors, and conquered a new territory in West Connaught from Lough Corrib to the sea. There were several septs of the clan." [3]

Early History of the Lafferty family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lafferty research. Another 135 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1377, 1407, 1593, 1589, 1629 and 1718 are included under the topic Early Lafferty History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lafferty Spelling Variations

Individual scribes in the Ireland during the Middle Ages would often record a person's name various ways. How the name was recorded depended on what that particular scribe believed the proper spelling for the name pronounced to him was. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origin of the Lafferty family name include Flaherty, O'Flaherty, Flaverty, Laverty, Faherty and many more.

Early Notables of the Lafferty family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Áedh Ó Flaithbheartaigh, (c. 1377?-1407), Taoiseach of Iar Connacht and Chief of the Name; Murrough na dTuadh Ó Flaithbheartaigh, (died 1593), Chief of Iar Connacht; Teige Ó Flaithbheartaigh (died 1589), an...
Another 40 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Lafferty Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lafferty Ranking

In the United States, the name Lafferty is the 4,392nd most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [4]

United States Lafferty migration to the United States +

In the late 18th century, Irish families began emigrating to North America in the search of a plot of land to call their own. This pattern of emigration grew steadily until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s cause thousands of Irish to flee the death and disease that accompanied the disaster. Those that made it alive to the shores of the United States and British North America (later to become Canada) were, however, instrumental in the development of those two powerful nations. Many of these Irish immigrants proudly bore the name of Lafferty:

Lafferty Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hugh Lafferty, who landed in America in 1795 [5]
  • John Lafferty, who landed in America in 1795 [5]
Lafferty Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Lafferty, who landed in New York in 1833 [5]
  • Patrick Lafferty, aged 23, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1834 [5]
  • James Lafferty, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840 [5]

Canada Lafferty migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Lafferty Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Daniel Lafferty, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Trial" in 1833
  • Mrs. Mary Lafferty, aged 40 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Herald" departing from the port of Dublin, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in July 1847 [6]

Australia Lafferty migration to Australia +

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

Lafferty Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Lafferty, aged 25, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "South Sea"

Contemporary Notables of the name Lafferty (post 1700) +

  • Mike Lafferty (1948-1972), American former alpine skier who competed in the 1972 Winter Olympics
  • Frank Bernard "Flip" Lafferty (1854-1910), American Major League Baseball player from Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • James Martin Lafferty (b. 1985), American actor, director and producer
  • R A Lafferty (1914-2002), American novelist
  • John Lafferty (1842-1903), American soldier and Medal of Honor recipient
  • Frank X. Lafferty, American politician, Supervisor of Ecorse Township, Michigan, 1930 [7]
  • Edward J. Lafferty, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Nebraska Railway Commission, 1948 [7]
  • E. J. Lafferty, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1916 [7]
  • Charles L. Lafferty, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Jersey, 1936 [7]
  • Charles I. Lafferty, American Democratic Party politician, Chair of Atlantic County Democratic Party, 1925-27; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Jersey, 1928, 1932 [7]
  • ... (Another 13 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. Matheson, Robert E., Special Report on Surnames in Ireland with Notes as to Numeric Strength, Derivation, Ethnology, and Distribution. Dublin: Alexander Thom & Co., 1894. Print
  3. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. 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)
  6. Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 38)
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 1) . Retrieved from on Facebook