McDermott History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name McDermott comes from the Irish Gaelic Mac Diarmada, which means "son of Diarmuid," or, son of Dermot and belongs to the venerable Irish tradition of patronymic naming. However another source claims the name came from the Irish diarmaid, which meant "the god of arms." [1]

Early Origins of the McDermott family

The surname McDermott was first found in County Roscommon (Irish: Ros Comáin) located in central Ireland in the province of Connacht, where the family is believed to have been descended from the Heremon dynasty of Irish Kings and were known as the Princes of Moylurg, or the Kings of Connacht, known as the Clann Mulroona. Specifically they were descended from Teige, a King of Connacht and his son, Murtogh, Prince of Moylurg. Their ancient territories were in the counties of Roscommon and Galway. They were divided into three septs. One of the septs embraced English rule early and relatively painlessly, the other two suffered at the hands of Strongbow's invasion in the 12th century. Of the other two septs, the more prominent is based in Coolavin, in Sligo. This sept was originally found at Moylurg and controlled a large part of Roscommon.

"The MacDermotts were ancient Princes of Moylurg, having their territories in the Barony of Boyle, County Koscommon, and parts of the Parishes of Islandeady, Turlough and Breaffy, in Counties Sligo and Mayo. Their chief fortress "was on an island in Lough Key, near Boyle," and they were hereditary Marshals of Connaught. At the present time Connaught is the province in which the MacDermotts are principally found, and half of the persons of the name in that province belong to County Roscommon. " [2]

The head of this branch was one of the few leaders who is still credited as an authentic chieftain by the Genealogical Office of Ireland, conferring the rightful title The MacDermot. Moreover, the chief is also unofficially styled Prince of Coolavin. The third sept held a family seat at Kilronan in the north of Roscommon, and was referred to as MacDermot Roe, from the word ruadh, which means "red."

Early History of the McDermott family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McDermott research. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1251, 1320, 1641, 1592, 1717, 1707 and 1717 are included under the topic Early McDermott History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McDermott Spelling Variations

The recording of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. Since the general population did not know how to read or write, they could only specify how their names should be recorded orally. Research into the name McDermott revealed spelling variations, including Dermott, Dermot, Dermitt, Dermit, McDermott, Dermutt, Dermut, MacDermott, McDermot, MacDermot, MacDermitt, McDermitt, MacDermit and many more.

Early Notables of the McDermott family (pre 1700)

Another 36 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McDermott Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McDermott migration to the United States +

In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the McDermott family came to North America quite early:

McDermott Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Angus McDermott, who landed in Maryland in 1716 [3]
  • Cornelius McDermott, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [3]
McDermott Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Hen McDermott, who landed in America in 1806 [3]
  • Henry McDermott, aged 23, who arrived in New York in 1812 [3]
  • Thomas McDermott, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1816 [3]
  • Edward McDermott, aged 17, who arrived in America in 1822 [3]
  • Roddy McDermott, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1823 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McDermott migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McDermott Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Andw McDermott, who arrived in Canada in 1812
  • Patrick McDermott, aged 23, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • Margaret McDermott, aged 21, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • Charles McDermott, aged 24, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • James McDermott, aged 24, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia McDermott migration to Australia +

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

McDermott Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Michael Mcdermott, (b. 1785), aged 24, Irish labourer who was convicted in Sligo, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Boyd" on 10th March 1809, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • Mr. Thomas McDermott, British Convict who was convicted in Lancaster, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 5th November 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land)1836 [5]
  • Mr. Michael McDermott, English convict who was convicted in Liverpool, Lancashire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Barossa" on 27th August 1841, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Mr. Daniel Mcdermott, (b. 1820), aged 24, Irish labourer who was convicted in Fermanagh, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Cadet" on 9th April 1844, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • Joseph McDermott, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Salacia" in 1850 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand McDermott 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:

McDermott Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Deborah McDermott, aged 20, a milliner, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Aurora" in 1840
  • Martin P McDERMOTT, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1841
  • Mr. John Mcdermott, British settler as part of the 8th Detachment of the Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Oriental Queen" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 18th September 1849 [9]
  • Mrs. Mary Mcdermott, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Oriental Queen" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 18th September 1849 [9]
  • Mrs. Susan Mcdermott, (b. 1807), aged 49, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Joseph Fletcher" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 24th October 1856 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McDermott (post 1700) +

  • Alice McDermott (b. 1953), American professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University
  • Donald "Don" Joseph McDermott (1929-2020), American silver medalist speed skater at the 1952 Winter Olympics
  • James Adelbert "Jim" McDermott (b. 1936), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Washington (1989-)
  • Gerald McDermott (1941-2012), American Caldecott Medal-winning filmmaker, creator of children's picture books
  • Drew McDermott (b. 1949), American Professor of Computer Science at Yale University, a specialist in the area of artificial intelligence
  • Charles Joseph "Charlie" McDermott (b. 1990), American Young Artist Award nominated television and film actor
  • William R. McDermott, American businessman, a co-CEO of SAP AG
  • Donald "Don" Joseph McDermott (b. 1929), American Olympic speed skater
  • Brigadier General Robert F. McDermott (1920-2006), first permanent Dean of the Faculty at the United States Air Force Academy
  • Eugene McDermott (1899-1973), American geophysicist and co-founder of first of Geophysical Service and later of Texas Instruments [11]
  • ... (Another 18 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Bernard Mcdermott, British Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [12]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Thomas Mcdermott, English Fireman from Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [13]
  • Dr. James Farrell Mcdermott, Irish Surgeon from Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking and was recovered [13]
  • Mr. Eugene Mcdermott, English Trimmer (promoted to Fireman) from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [13]
  • Mr. Andrew Mcdermott, English 3rd Class passenger residing in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [14]
RMS Titanic
  • Miss Bridget Delia McDermott, aged 31, Irish Third Class passenger from Lahardane, Mayo who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived in the sinking in life boat 13 [15]


The McDermott 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: Honor probataque virtus
Motto Translation: Honour and approved valour.


  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  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. ^ 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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 27th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/Boyd
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1835
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barossa
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/cadet/
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SALACIA 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850Salacia.gif
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ Eugene McDermott. (Retrieved 2011, February 2) Eugene McDermott. Retrieved from http://www.kevinmcdermott.net/
  12. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  13. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  14. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  15. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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