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


Originally, McGirr was a nickname for a short person. The Gaelic form of the surname is Mac an gheairr, which means son of the short or low-sized man.

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The surname McGirr was first found in Kirkcudbrightshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Chille Chuithbheirt), part of the present day Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway, former county in Southwestern Scotland, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, and were believed to be descended from one of the many (350) chiefs who accompanied the banished King Colla da Crioch, who left Ireland for the Hebrides and south west Scotland in the year 327. This ancient Irish clann were originally from County Armagh in Ireland.

Spelling variations were extremely common in medieval names, since scribes from that era recorded names according to sound rather than a standard set of rules. McGirr has appeared in various documents spelled McGirr, McGeer, McGear, MacGirr, MacGeer, McGhirr and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGirr research. Another 247 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1684, 1658 and 1890 are included under the topic Early McGirr History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early McGirr Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the McGirr family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 123 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Descendents of Dalriadan-Scottish families still populate many communities across North America. They are particularly common in Canada, since many went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the American War of Independence. Much later, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the highland games and Clan societies that now dot North America sprang up, allowing many Scots to recover their lost national heritage. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name McGirr, or a variant listed above:

McGirr Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Felix McGirr who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1827
  • Patrick McGirr settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1830
  • Thomas McGirr, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1837
  • Patrick McGirr, who arrived in Maryland in 1840
  • Owen McGirr settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1849


McGirr Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Owen McGirr, aged 50, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
  • Patrick McGirr, aged 30, arrived in St. John aboard the ship "Protector" in 1834
  • Mary McGirr, aged 13, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast
  • John McGirr, aged 12, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast

McGirr Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Oliver McGirr, aged 20, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Standard"

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  • George F. McGirr, American Democrat politician, Member of New Hampshire State House of Representatives from Concord 1st Ward; Elected 1938
  • Eugene F. McGirr, American Republican politician, Candidate for New York State Senate 2nd District, 1926
  • Edward McCombie McGirr, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Glasgow
  • Ernest N McGirr (1887-1982), Canadian politician, who served in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
  • Herbert Mendelson McGirr (1891-1964), New Zealand cricketer


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  1. 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, 1968. Print.
  2. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  4. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  5. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  6. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  7. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  8. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  9. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  10. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  11. ...

The McGirr Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McGirr 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 14 January 2016 at 10:42.

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