McSorley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

On the Scottish west coast, the McSorley family was born among the ancient Dalriadan clans. Their name comes from the personal name Somhairle, also known as Somerled. The Gaelic form of the name, Mac Somhairle, translates as son of Somhairle or son of Somerled.

Early Origins of the McSorley family

The surname McSorley was first found in Argyllshire (Gaelic erra Ghaidheal), the region of western Scotland corresponding roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Dál Riata, in the Strathclyde region of Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the McSorley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McSorley research. Another 110 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McSorley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McSorley Spelling Variations

In various documents McSorley has been spelled Since medieval scribes still spelled according to sound, records from that era contain an enormous number of spelling variations. MacSorley, MacSorely, MacSourly, MacCoullie, MacSorrill, MacSorrell, MacSurley and many more.

Early Notables of the McSorley family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early McSorley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the McSorley family to Ireland

Some of the McSorley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McSorley migration to the United States +

Significant portions of the populations of both the United States and Canada are still made up of the ancestors of Dalriadan families. Some of those in Canada originally settled the United States, but went north as United Empire Loyalists in the American War of Independence. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the ancestors of many Scots on both sides of the border begin to recover their collective national heritage through Clan societies and highland games. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

McSorley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John McSorley, who landed in America in 1811 [1]
  • James McSorley, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1817 [1]
  • T McSorley, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [1]
  • Ann McSorley, aged 11, who landed in New York in 1854 [1]
  • Sarah McSorley, aged 9, who arrived in New York in 1854 [1]

Canada McSorley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

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

New Zealand McSorley 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:

McSorley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Lousia McSorley, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Leichardt" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 7th August 1865 [2]
  • Miss Annie J. McSorley, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Leichardt" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 7th August 1865 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name McSorley (post 1700) +

  • Cisco A. McSorley (b. 1950), American politician, Democratic member of the New Mexico Senate (1997-)
  • John Bernard "Trick" McSorley (1852-1936), American Major League Baseball player who played from 1875 to 1886
  • Richard T. McSorley, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Pennsylvania State Senate 1st District, 1912 [3]
  • Mary McSorley, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1984 [3]
  • Jeffrey McSorley Jr., American politician, Candidate for Mayor of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, 2012 [3]
  • Camille McSorley, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1920, 1924 [3]
  • A. I. McSorley, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1904 [3]
  • Martin James "Marty" McSorley (b. 1963), Canadian former professional NHL hockey player and actor
  • Gerard McSorley (b. 1950), Irish character actor, known for his work in Braveheart (1995), Robin Hood (2010) and Veronica Guerin (2003)
  • Thomas Holland "Tom" McSorley, Canadian film critic, Executive Director of the Canadian Film Institute
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The McSorley Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Per mare per terras
Motto Translation: By sea and by land.


  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. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 14) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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