MacGrath History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

All Irish surnames have underlying meanings that can be traced back to their fullest points when the names first appeared in a Gaelic form. The name MacGrath originally appeared in Gaelic as Mac Graith or Mag Raith; these are both derived from the personal name Craith.

Early Origins of the MacGrath family

The surname MacGrath was first found in County Clare (Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Important Dates for the MacGrath family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacGrath research. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1600, 1650, 1523 and 1622 are included under the topic Early MacGrath History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacGrath Spelling Variations

During the Middle Ages, surnames were spelt by scribes solely based on how it sounded, one's name could have been recorded many different ways during the life of its bearer. Numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name MacGrath family name. Variations found include MacGrath, MacGraw, MacGrauth, Magrath, Magraw and many more.

Early Notables of the MacGrath family (pre 1700)

Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacGrath Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacGrath migration to the United States

Under the rule of England, land ownership in Ireland changed dramatically, and many native Irish families found themselves renting out land to farm from absentee owners. This was one of the prime reasons that immigration to North America began in the late 18th century: Irish farmers dreamed of owning their own parcel of land to work for themselves. At this point, the immigrants were at least of modest means for the passage across the Atlantic was often quite dear. In the 1840s the Great Potato Famine created an exodus of people of quite different means. These people were most often destitute: they either sold anything they had to gain a passage or they were sponsored by philanthropic societies. Many of these immigrants were sick from disease and starvation: as a result many did not survive the long transatlantic journey. Although those settlers that did survive were often despised and discriminated against by people already established in these nations, they were critical to rapid development of the powerful industrial nations of the United States and the country that would later become known as Canada. An examination of immigration and passenger lists shows many persons bearing the name of MacGrath or one of its variants:

MacGrath Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Marg MacGrath, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811 [1]
  • Patrick MacGrath, who arrived in New London, Connecticut in 1811 [1]
  • Thomas MacGrath, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811 [1]
  • William MacGrath, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [1]
  • James MacGrath, who landed in New York, NY in 1815 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

MacGrath 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:

MacGrath Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James MacGrath a butcher, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir George Grey" in 1864

Contemporary Notables of the name MacGrath (post 1700)

  • Harold MacGrath (1871-1932), American novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter, known for his novel The Puppet Crown (1901) which later became a film (1915)
  • Ryan MacGrath, Canadian singer-songwriter from Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Leueen MacGrath (1914-1992), British actress and playwright
  • Raymond MacGrath, Australian Architect
  • Sir Charles MacGrath, Australian Company Director

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Citations

  1. ^ 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)
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