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Surnames of Irish origin have experienced many changes in their spellings and forms. Before being translated into English, McNemar appeared as Mac Conmara, which means "hound of the sea" or "warrior of the sea."

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The surname McNemar was first found in County Clare (Irish: An Clįr) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where MacConmara or MacNamara was chief of the territory of Clan Caisin, now the barony of Tullagh. The family was also sometimes styled chiefs of Clan Cuilean; derived from Cuilean, one of their chiefs in the eighth century. This ancient family have traditionally held the high office of hereditary marshals of Thomond.

Many variations of the name McNemar were found in archives from the Middle Ages. These variations can be somewhat explained by the challenge of translation of Gaelic names into English. Hence, the spelling and language in which the people's names were recorded was often up to the individual scribe. Variations of the name McNemar found include McNamara, McNamar, McNamarra, McNamard, Sheedy and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McNemar research. Another 271 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1402, 1426, 1402, 1797, 1768 and 1826 are included under the topic Early McNemar History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McNemar Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Irish families began leaving their homeland for North America in the late 18th century. These families were usually modestly well off, but they were looking forward to owning and working on a sizable tract of land of their own. This pattern of emigration continued until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine sparked a major exodus of destitute and desperate Irish people. These people were not leaving for a grant of land in North America because by this time the East Coast had reached its saturation point and free land was scarce. They were merely looking to escape the disease, starvation, and hopelessness that Ireland had fallen into. Although these unfortunate immigrants did not receive a warm welcome by the established populations in the United States and what would become Canada, they were absolutely critical to the rapid development that these two nations enjoyed. They would help populate the western lands and provide the cheap labor required for a rapid industrialization. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many early bearers of the name McNemar or one of its variants:

McNemar Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Eliza McNemar, aged 52, who settled in Dekalb, Illinois, in 1911

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  • Quinn Michael McNemar (1901-1986), American psychologist and statistician, creator of McNemar's test


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  1. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  2. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. 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).
  7. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  8. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  9. 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).
  10. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  11. ...

The McNemar Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McNemar 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 3 April 2014 at 10:55.

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