Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name MacShee is O Seaghdha, which is modified to O Se. The surname is derived from the word seaghdha which means hawk like but has a secondary meaning of stately.
Early Origins of the MacShee family
The surname MacShee was first found in County Kerry
(Irish:Ciarraí) part of the former County Desmond
(14th-17th centuries), located in Southwestern Ireland
, in Munster
province, where they held a family seat
from ancient times.
The O'Shee variant claims Kilkenny as their ancestral home. At one time they were one of the most important of the ruling families of Kilkenny. Robert O'Shee was sovereign of the area in 1493. This family alternated using the "O'" prefix as not, as later his son Richard Shee, the Sovereign of Kilkenny (1545-1546) and (1553-1554) was Member of Parliament for Kilkenny in 1559.
Early History of the MacShee family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacShee research.Another 232 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1172 and 1500 are included under the topic Early MacShee History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacShee Spelling Variations
People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations
of the surname MacShee that are preserved in archival documents are O'Shea, O'Shee, McShea, McShee and others.
Early Notables of the MacShee family (pre 1700)
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacShee Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacShee family to the New World and Oceana
became inhospitable for many native Irish families
in the 19th centuries. Poverty, lack of opportunities, high rents, and discrimination forced thousands to leave the island for North America. The largest exodus of Irish settlers occurred with the Great Potato Famine
of the late 1840s. For these immigrants the journey to British North America and the United States was long and dangerous and many did not live to see the shores of those new lands. Those who did make it were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world. These Irish immigrants were not only important for peopling the new settlements and cities, they also provided the manpower needed for the many industrial and agricultural projects so essential to these growing nations. Immigration and passenger lists have documented the arrival of various people bearing the name MacShee to North America: Daniel, James, John, Patrick, Thomas McShea all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860; Bartholomew, David, Edward, Lawrence, James, John, Michael, Timothy O'Shea all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860..