McGrath History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

All Irish surnames have underlying meanings that can be traced back to their fullest points when the names first appeared in a Gaelic form. The name McGrath originally appeared in Gaelic as Mac Graith or Mag Raith; these are both derived from the personal name Craith.

Early Origins of the McGrath family

The surname McGrath was first found in County Clare (Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Early History of the McGrath family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGrath research. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1600, 1650, 1523 and 1622 are included under the topic Early McGrath History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McGrath Spelling Variations

Lacking standardized spellings, scribes and church officials recorded people's name according to how they sounded. This practice often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname McGrath are preserved in the archival documents of the period. The various spellings of the name that were found include MacGrath, MacGraw, MacGrauth, Magrath, Magraw and many more.

Early Notables of the McGrath family (pre 1700)

Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McGrath Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McGrath migration to the United States +

Suffering from poverty and racial discrimination, thousands of Irish families left the island in the 19th century for North America aboard cramped passenger ships. The early migrants became settlers of small tracts of land, and those that came later were often employed in the new cities or transitional work camps. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Although the immigrants from this period were often maligned when they arrived in the United States, they provided the cheap labor that was necessary for the development of that country as an industrial power. Early immigration and passenger lists have revealed many immigrants bearing the name McGrath:

McGrath Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Phillip McGrath settled at Trinity in 1757
  • William McGrath, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1763 [1]
  • John McGrath was a cooper in Torbay in 1782
  • Thomas McGrath, who arrived in America in 1798 [1]
  • John McGrath, who landed in America in 1799 [1]
McGrath Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward McGrath, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1802 [1]
  • Richard McGrath, who landed in America in 1806 [1]
  • Patrick McGrath, who arrived in America in 1811 [1]
  • James McGrath, who arrived in America in 1811 [1]
  • Bernard McGrath, aged 25, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1812 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McGrath migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McGrath Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • James McGrath, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Thomas McGrath who settled in Salmon Cove, Newfoundland in 1752 [2]
  • James McGrath was a fisherman out of St. John's, Newfoundland in 1764 [2]
  • Mr. Owen McGrath U.E. who settled in Fredericksburgh [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1784 [3]
  • Jeremy McGrath, who settled in Placentia, Newfoundland in 1794 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
McGrath Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Michael McGrath from Limerick settled in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1816 [2]
  • Anne Hardin McGrath, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1830
  • William McGrath, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1834
  • Anne McGrath, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Breeze" from Dublin, Ireland
  • Henry McGrath, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Cupid" in 1834
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia McGrath migration to Australia +

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

McGrath Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas McGrath, British Convict who was convicted in Chatham, England for life, transported aboard the "Asia" on 5th November 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land)1836 [4]
  • Ann McGrath, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Calphurnia" in 1849 [5]
  • Bridget McGrath, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Inconstant" in 1849 [6]
  • Margaret McGrath, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Inconstant" in 1849 [6]
  • Thomas McGrath, aged 16, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Lysander" [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand McGrath 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:

McGrath Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Mcgrath, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Queen of the Deep" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 14th June 1854 [8]
  • Miss Mary McGrath, Irish settler from Affane travelling from Leith aboard the ship 'Melbourne' arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 18th March 1861 [9]
  • Mr. Edward Mcgrath, (b. 1861), aged 10 months, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 26th December 1862 [9]
  • Mr. Charles Mcgrath, (b. 1838), aged 24, British farm labourer travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 26th December 1862 [9]
  • Miss Margaret Mcgrath, (b. 1841), aged 21, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 26th December 1862 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McGrath (post 1700) +

  • Matt McGrath (1875-1941), American winner of a gold and two sliver Olympic medals for hammer throw at 1908, 1912, and 1924 games
  • Douglas Geoffrey McGrath (b. 1958), American Academy Award, BAFTA and two-time Writers Guild of America Award nominated screenwriter
  • Robert Emmet "Bob" McGrath (b. 1932), American singer and actor, best known for his role as Bob Johnson on Sesame Street
  • Patrick Joseph McGrath (b. 1945), American clergyman, Bishop of San José in California (1999)
  • Frank McGrath (1903-1967), American television actor
  • Campbell McGrath (b. 1962), American poet
  • John McGrath (1935-2002), American vocalist and guitarist
  • Charles E. McGrath, American Republican politician, Mayor of New Castle, Pennsylvania, 1935-37 [10]
  • Arthur F. McGrath, American politician, Member of New Jersey State House of Assembly from Hudson County, 1913 [10]
  • Annie S. McGrath, American Democrat politician, Member of New York Democratic State Committee, 1942 [10]
  • ... (Another 83 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. John McGrath, British Assistant Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [11]
  • Captain Matthew McGrath (1879-1914), Canadian Second Class Passenger from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [11]
Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. Michael Stephen  McGrath, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [12]
  • Mrs. Mary  McGrath (1890-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [12]
  • Master Clifford  McGrath (1915-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [12]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Herbert H Mcgrath, British Able Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [13]
  • Mr. Charles Gilbert Mcgrath, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [13]


Suggested Readings for the name McGrath +

  • 869 Genealogy of the Nicholsan Sisters and Related Families: Clennan, Cushing, Keegan, McCormally, McGrath, Ryan, Langley by Eileen E. Langley.

  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  3. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1835
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The CALPHURNIA 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Calpurnia.htm
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The INCONSTANT the Voyage - 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Inconstant.htm
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LYSANDER 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850Lysander.htm
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  11. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  12. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  13. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html


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