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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


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."

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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]

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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Meagher research. Another 239 words (17 lines of text) covering the year 1172 is included under the topic Early Meagher History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 23 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Meagher 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 Meagher or one of its variants:

Meagher Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Edmund Meagher, who arrived in America in 1807
  • Patrick Meagher, who arrived in Mississippi in 1857
  • Charles, Edward, James, John, Mathew, Patrick, Thomas, Timothy, and William Meagher, all 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 emigrated to the United States from Liverpool, in 1902
  • Dealia Meagher, aged 21, who emigrated 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


Meagher Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Eleanor Meagher, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1828
  • James Meagher, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843
  • John Meagher, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843
  • Thomas Meagher, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843
  • Catherine Meagher, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843


Meagher Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century


  • M. Meagher, aged 36, who emigrated to Ontario, Canada, in 1907
  • John Joseph Meagher, aged 42, who settled in Montreal, Canada, in 1921

Meagher Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Ann Meagher arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Trafalgar" in 1847
  • Francis Meagher arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Trafalgar" in 1847
  • Mary Meagher, aged 22, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Marshall Bennett,"
  • James Meagher, aged 28, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Dirigo"
  • Catherine Meagher, aged 20, a farm servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Coromandel"


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  • 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
  • Thomas C. Meagher, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1936
  • Stephen J. Meagher, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1924
  • Richard M. Meagher, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1972
  • Michael Meagher, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 12th District, 1867-69
  • 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
  • John F. Meagher, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives from Bay County, 1958
  • 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

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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

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  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)

Other References

  1. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  2. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  3. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  4. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  6. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  7. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  8. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  9. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  10. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  11. ...

The Meagher Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Meagher 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 16 March 2016 at 19:21.

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