McShea History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name McShea is O Seaghdha, which is modified to O Se. The surname is derived from the word seaghdha which means hawk like but has a secondary meaning of stately.
Early Origins of the McShea family
The surname McShea was first found in County Kerry (Irish:Ciarraí) part of the former County Desmond (14th-17th centuries), located in Southwestern Ireland, in Munster province, where they held a family seat from ancient times.
The O'Shee variant claims Kilkenny as their ancestral home. At one time they were one of the most important of the ruling families of Kilkenny. Robert O'Shee was sovereign of the area in 1493. This family alternated using the "O'" prefix as not, as later his son Richard Shee, the Sovereign of Kilkenny (1545-1546) and (1553-1554) was Member of Parliament for Kilkenny in 1559.
Early History of the McShea family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McShea research. Another 98 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1172 and 1500 are included under the topic Early McShea History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McShea 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 McShea family name. Variations found include O'Shea, O'Shee, McShea, McShee and others.
Early Notables of the McShea family (pre 1700)
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McShea Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McShea migration to the United States +
To escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, thousands of Irish left their homeland in the 19th century. These migrants typically settled in communities throughout the East Coast of North America, but also joined the wagon trains moving out to the Midwest. Ironically, when the American War of Independence began, many Irish settlers took the side of England, and at the war's conclusion moved north to Canada. These United Empire Loyalists, were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Other Irish immigrants settled in Newfoundland, the Ottawa Valley, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, however, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America and Australia. Many of those numbers, however, did not live through the long sea passage. These Irish settlers to North America were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Irish settlers made an inestimable contribution to the building of the New World. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name McShea or a variant listed above, including:
McShea Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Daniel, James, John, Patrick, and Thomas McShea all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
Contemporary Notables of the name McShea (post 1700) +
- T. Malcolm McShea, American politician, Mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, 1948 
- John McShea Jr., American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Schenectady County, 1863 
- Robert J McShea, Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, at Boston University
- Joseph Mark McShea, first bishop of the Diocese of Allentown
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