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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Where did the Irish McCarthy family come from? What is the Irish McCarthy family crest and coat of arms? When did the McCarthy family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McCarthy family history?

The many Irish surnames in use today have long rich histories behind them. The name McCarthy originally appeared in Gaelic as Mac Carthaigh, which is derived from the word "carthach," which means "loving."


The spelling of one's surname was not as important as it is today. Names were recorded as they sounded and in many cases, one's surname changed with each listing. As a result, surnames often had many spelling variations. For McCarthy some of these variations included: MacCarthy, MacCarty, MacArty, MacArthy and others.

First found in County Kerry and much of County Cork, in the area formerly known as Desmond. One of the oldest and most important of all Irish families, the MacCarthy family claim descent from Oilioll Olum, the 3rd century King of Munster who gave the region of Desmond to his son Eoghan after his death. Eoghan's descendants were known as the Eoghanacht, and the surname MacCarthy is derived from Carthach, an 11th century lord of this group who was killed when the Lonegans set his house on fire. They were settled at Carrignavar where they were the Lords of Eoghannacht and Diarmod MacCarty Mor swore fealty to King Henry II thereby retaining his estates in Cork. Innumerable members of the family have been important in Irish history, especially those with the forenames Fineen, Florence or Justin, beginning with the Fineen MacCarthy who vanquished the Geraldines in 1261. Several branches of the powerful MacCarthy sept existed, including MacCarthy Reagh, who held a family seat at Carbery in West Cork, and the Muskerry MacCarthys, who were based in the barony of Muskerry in that county. MacCarthy Mor of County Kerry, long thought to be extinct, has only recently been proven to still exist.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McCarthy research. Another 253 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1446, 1646, 1640, 1628, 1594, 1665, 1694, 1668, 1734, 1698, 1769, 1733 and 1734 are included under the topic Early McCarthy History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 271 words (19 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McCarthy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Irish families fled the English-colonized Ireland in record numbers during the 19th century for North America. Many of those destitute families died from disease during, and even shortly after, the long journey. Although those that immigrated before the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s often were granted a tract of land, those that arrived later were generally accommodated in urban centers or in work camps. Those in the urban centers would labor in the manufacturing sector, whereas those in work camps would to build critical infrastructures such as bridges, canals, roads, and railways. Regardless of when these Irish immigrants came to North America, they were critical for the rapid development of the young nations of the United States and Canada. Early immigration and passenger lists have recorded many early immigrants bearing the name of McCarthy:

McCarthy Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • William McCarthy, who landed in New England in 1729
  • Alexander McCarthy, recorded in the New York Colonial Muster Rolls in 1760

McCarthy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Florence McCarthy, who arrived in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1808
  • Dennis McCarthy, who landed in New York in 1834
  • Justin McCarthy, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1839
  • Jeremiah McCarthy, who landed in Mississippi in 1840
  • Robert N Emmett McCarthy, aged 35, landed in Missouri in 1845

McCarthy Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Delia Mary McCarthy, who landed in Alabama in 1924

McCarthy Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Redmond McCarthy, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1816
  • Catherine McCarthy, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1821
  • Catherine McCarthy, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1821
  • John McCarthy, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1823
  • Jeremiah McCarthy, and his family, who came to Renfrew, Ontario, Canada in 1825

McCarthy Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Dennis McCarthy, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Michael McCarthy, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • Lawrence Cormac McCarthy arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Lilford" in 1839
  • Ann Francis McCarthy arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Lilford" in 1839
  • Mary Ann McCarthy arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Lilford" in 1839

McCarthy Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Julia McCarthy landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • John McCarthy landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Joseph Michael McCarthy, aged 27, a shoemaker, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • Mary Ann McCarthy, aged 22, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • Margaret McCarthy arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Telegraph" in 1863


  • John Philip McCarthy AO (1942-1981), American-born, former Australian diplomat, Ambassador to Vietnam (1981-1983), Ambassador to Mexico (1985-1987), Ambassador to Thailand (1992-1994), Ambassador to the United States (1995-1997)
  • Daniel Emmet McCarthy (1957-1988), American Banker from Brooklyn, New York, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died
  • Mr. Timothy J. McCarthy (d. 1912), aged 54, American First Class passenger from Dorchester, Massachusetts who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett
  • Thomas Francis Michael "Tommy" McCarthy (1863-1922), American Major League Baseball player, inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946
  • Thomas R. McCarthy (b. 1934), American Thoroughbred racehorse owner & trainer
  • Melissa Ann McCarthy (b. 1970), American Academy Award and BAFTA nominated film and television actress, comedian, writer and producer
  • Mary Eunice McCarthy, American screenwriter
  • Kevin McCarthy (1914-2010), American Academy Award nominated, Golden Globe winning stage, film, and television actor
  • Justin J. McCarthy (1900-1959), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church
  • John McCarthy (1927-2011), award-winning American computer scientist and cognitive scientist



  • The Lindner & McCarthy Families of Hoboken, Newark, and Elizabethport, New Jersey by Florence Lindner McCarthy.

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  1. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  2. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  3. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  4. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  8. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  9. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  10. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  11. ...

The McCarthy Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McCarthy Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 28 December 2015 at 11:03.

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