Meagher History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

While many Irish names are familiar, their past incarnations are often shrouded in mystery, reflecting the ancient Gaelic heritage of their bearers. The original Gaelic form of the name Meagher is O Meachair, derived from the word "michair," which means "hospitable" or "kindly."

Early Origins of the Meagher family

The surname Meagher was first found in County Tipperary (Irish: Thiobraid Árann), established in the 13th century in South-central Ireland, in the province of Munster, where they traditionally belong to the barony of Ikerrin. The family has retained this area as their homestead as over 50% of them come from here. [1]

"The O'Meaghers were formerly powerful Chiefs possessing the Barony of Ikerrin, in County Tipperary, of which O'Meagher was Lord. The Meaghers or Mahers are principally found in County Tipperary at present." [2]

Early History of the Meagher family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Meagher research. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1551, 1635 and 1705 are included under the topic Early Meagher History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Meagher Spelling Variations

Many variations of the name Meagher 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 Meagher found include Maher, O'Meagher, Meagher, O'Maher, Mahir and others.

Early Notables of the Meagher family (pre 1700)

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


United States Meagher migration to the United States +

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 Meagher or one of its variants:

Meagher Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edmund Meagher, who arrived in America in 1807 [3]
  • Patrick Meagher, who arrived in Mississippi in 1857 [3]
  • Charles, Edward, James, John, Mathew, Patrick, Thomas, Timothy, and William Meagher, all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
  • Ed. Meagher, aged 24, who landed in America, in 1893
  • Cecil John Meagher, aged 2, who settled in America, in 1896
Meagher Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • George Meagher, aged 37, who immigrated to the United States from Liverpool, in 1902
  • Dealia Meagher, aged 21, who immigrated to the United States from Tuam, in 1903
  • Catherine Meagher, aged 56, who landed in America from London, in 1904
  • Fred Meagher, aged 47, who landed in America, in 1905
  • Edward Meagher, aged 22, who landed in America from Liverpool, in 1906
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Meagher migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Meagher Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Eleanor Meagher, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1828
  • Patrick Meagher, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1834
  • Thomas Meagher, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843
  • James Meagher, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843
  • John Meagher, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Meagher Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • M. Meagher, aged 36, who immigrated to Ontario, Canada, in 1907
  • John Joseph Meagher, aged 42, who settled in Montreal, Canada, in 1921

Australia Meagher migration to Australia +

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

Meagher Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Ann Meagher, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Trafalgar" in 1847 [4]
  • Francis Meagher, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Trafalgar" in 1847 [4]
  • Mary Meagher, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Marshall Bennett" [5]
  • James Meagher, aged 28, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Dirigo" [6]
  • Catherine Meagher, aged 20, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Coromandel" [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Meagher (post 1700) +

  • Mary Terstegge "Mary T." Meagher Plant (b. 1964), American three-time Olympic gold medalist champion and former World Record holding swimmer
  • John Francis "Jack" Meagher (1896-1968), American football player and coach
  • William T. Meagher, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Paspébiac, 1884 [8]
  • Thomas C. Meagher, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1936 [8]
  • Stephen J. Meagher, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1924 [8]
  • Richard M. Meagher, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1972 [8]
  • Michael Meagher, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 12th District, 1867-69 [8]
  • Leo P. Meagher, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Michigan State Senate 12th District, 1958; Candidate in primary for U.S. Representative from Michigan 18th District, 1960 [8]
  • John F. Meagher, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives from Bay County, 1958 [8]
  • John F. Meagher, American politician, Member of Minnesota State House of Representatives 17th District, 1864, 1870-71; Member of Minnesota State Senate 14th District, 1872-73 [8]
  • ... (Another 14 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Lena  Meagher, Canadian resident from Protestant Orphanage, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [9]
  • Master Edward  Meagher (1915-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [9]
  • Miss Marion  Meagher (1916-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [9]


The Meagher 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: In periculis audax
Motto Translation: Bold in danger


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. ^ Matheson, Robert E., Special Report on Surnames in Ireland with Notes as to Numeric Strength, Derivation, Ethnology, and Distribution. Dublin: Alexander Thom & Co., 1894. Print
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) TRAFALGAR 1847. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1847Trafalgar.htm
  5. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MARSHALL BENNETT 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/marshallbennett1852.shtml
  6. ^ South Australian Register Thursday 23rd November 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Dirigo 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/dirigo1854.shtml.
  7. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 9th January 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Coromandel 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/coromandel1855.shtml
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  9. ^ 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


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