Show ContentsMcGarvey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name McGarvey originally appeared in Gaelic as O Gairbhin, derived from the word "garbh," which means "rough."

Early Origins of the McGarvey family

The surname McGarvey was first found in County Tyrone (Irish:Tír Eoghain), the ancient territory of the O'Neills, now in the Province of Ulster, central Northern Ireland, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

Early History of the McGarvey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGarvey research. Another 135 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1000, 1527, 1595, 1558 and 1560 are included under the topic Early McGarvey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McGarvey Spelling Variations

Before widespread literacy came to Ireland, a name was often recorded under several different variations during the life of its bearer. Accordingly, numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name McGarvey family name. Variations found include Garvin, Garvey, Garwin, Garvine, Garven, Garvan, Garvy, Garvie, Garwen and many more.

Early Notables of the McGarvey family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was John Garvey (1527-1595), an Irish Protestant bishop of Kilmore and Archbishop of Armagh. He was the eldest son of John O'Garvey of Morisk, co. Mayo and was born in the county of Kilkenny. "He was educated at Oxford, where he graduated in the reign of Edward VI; but through some negligence his name does not appear in the public...
Another 68 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McGarvey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McGarvey Ranking

In the United States, the name McGarvey is the 11,185th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]

United States McGarvey migration to the United States +

Thousands of Irish families left for North American shores in the 19th century. These people were searching for a life unencumbered with poverty, hunger, and racial discrimination. Many arrived to eventually find such conditions, but many others simply did not arrive: victims of the diseased, overcrowded ships in which they traveled to the New World. Those who lived to see North American shores were instrumental in the development of the growing nations of Canada and the United States. A thorough examination of passenger and immigration lists has disclosed evidence of many early immigrants of the name McGarvey:

McGarvey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William B McGarvey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [2]
  • Michael McGarvey, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1854 [2]
  • David McGarvey, who arrived in St Clair County, Illinois in 1857 [2]
  • Matthew McGarvey, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1860 [2]
  • Phillip McGarvey, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876 [2]
McGarvey Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Anne McGarvey, aged 26, who immigrated to the United States from Ireland, in 1902
  • Bridget McGarvey, aged 25, who landed in America from Donegal, in 1906
  • Annie McGarvey, aged 17, who settled in America from Donegal, Ireland, in 1907
  • Andrew McGarvey, aged 21, who landed in America from Donegal, Ireland, in 1907
  • Alexander McGarvey, aged 20, who immigrated to the United States from Moneymore, Ireland, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McGarvey migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McGarvey Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Susan McGarvey, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Eleanor" in 1834

Australia McGarvey migration to Australia +

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

McGarvey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Mcgarvey, Scottish convict from Aberdeen, who was transported aboard the "America" on April 4, 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia [3]

New Zealand McGarvey 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:

McGarvey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Eliza McGarvey, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Gainsborough" in 1878 [4]
  • Mr. John McGarvey, (b. 1852), aged 26, Irish farm labourer from Donegal departing on 10th August 1878 aboard the ship "Hydaspes" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 9th November 1878

Contemporary Notables of the name McGarvey (post 1700) +

  • William McGarvey (1861-1924), American priest in the Episcopal Church and rector of St. Elizabeth parish in Philadelphia
  • Morgan McGarvey (1979-1980), American politician, Democratic member of the Kentucky Senate (2013-)
  • Daniel Francis "Dan" McGarvey (1887-1947), American Major League Baseball left fielder who played in one game for the Detroit Tigers on May 18, 1912
  • John William "J. W." McGarvey (1829-1911), American minister, author, and religious educator in the American Restoration Movement
  • Robert Neill McGarvey (1888-1952), American politician, Member of the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania (1947-1949)
  • Stan McGarvey (b. 1949), American former football coach, NAIA Division II Coach of the Year (1980)
  • Robert Neill McGarvey (1888-1952), American Republican politician, U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 2nd District, 1947-49; Defeated, 1948 [5]
  • John N. McGarvey, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1936 [5]
  • David C. McGarvey, American politician, Candidate in primary for Circuit Judge in Michigan 4th Circuit, 1974 [5]
  • B. A. McGarvey, American politician, Dry Candidate for Delegate to Pennsylvania convention to ratify 21st amendment, 1933 [5]
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Edward Joseph McGarvey, aged 34, English Trimmer from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on collapsible B [6]

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. 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)
  3. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 26) America voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1829 with 176 passengers. Retrieved from
  4. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 3rd November 2011). Retrieved from
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 21) . Retrieved from
  6. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook