O'Carroll History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name O'Carroll has undergone many variations in the time that has passed since its genesis. In Gaelic it appeared as Cearbhaill, which is derived from the name of Cearbhal, the Lord of Ely who helped King Brian Boru lead the Irish to victory over the Danes at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. Donnchad Ua Cerbaill or Donnchadh Ó Cearbhaill was King of Airgíalla, fl. c. 1130-1168. Maol Ruanaidh Cam Ó Cearbhaill, sometimes Anglicized as Cam O'Kayrwill (died 10 June 1329) was a notable Irish harpist and player of the tiompan who was murdered with many others at the Braganstown Massacre.
Early Origins of the O'Carroll family
The surname O'Carroll was first found in counties Tipperary, Offaly, Monaghan and Louth. Through their connection with Cearbal, they descend from King Oilioll Olum.
There were six distinct O'Carroll septs prior to the Anglo-Norman Conquest. While four disintegrated before the end of the 13th century, the two most important septs continued. These were O'Carroll of Ely O'Carroll, from the counties of Tipperary and Offaly, and O'Carroll of Oriel, from the counties of Monagan and Louth.
While the Oriel O'Carrolls disappeared as an official sept resulting from the Anglo-Norman Conquest, the members of that sept were not scattered, but remained mainly within their ancient territories. However, the O'Carrolls of Ely O'Carroll managed to maintain their independence and heritage until the end of the 16th century, and continued to play an important role in Irish history.
They formerly held large territories in the county of Tipperary, but were confined to the area around Birr in the county of Offaly by the rise of the powerful Norman Butlers.
Early History of the O'Carroll family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Carroll research. Another 200 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1014, 1172, 1451, 1600, 1916, 1625, 1711, 1661, 1720, 1735, 1815, 1737, 1832, 1789, 1792, 1602 and 1673 are included under the topic Early O'Carroll History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Carroll Spelling Variations
Lacking standardized spellings, scribes and church officials recorded people's name according to how they sounded. This practice often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname O'Carroll are preserved in the archival documents of the period. The various spellings of the name that were found include O'Carroll, Carroll, Carrel, Carrell, Carrill, Carrol, Carroll, Caryll, Garvil, Garvill and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Carroll family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family name at this time was John Caryll (1625-1711), 1st Baron Caryll of Durford who came of an ancient Roman Catholic family, which had been settled, from the close of the sixteenth century, at West Harting in Sussex. 
Charles Carroll (1661-1720), often called Charles Carroll the Settler, to differentiate him from his son and grandson, was a wealthy lawyer...
Migration of the O'Carroll family
Suffering from poverty and racial discrimination, thousands of Irish families left the island in the 19th century for North America aboard cramped passenger ships. The early migrants became settlers of small tracts of land, and those that came later were often employed in the new cities or transitional work camps. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Although the immigrants from this period were often maligned when they arrived in the United States, they provided the cheap labor that was necessary for the development of that country as an industrial power. Early immigration and passenger lists have revealed many immigrants bearing the name O'Carroll: John Carroll who settled in Nova Scotia in 1776; Mary Carroll (6 months old) who arrived in Quebec in 1849; Thomas Carroll and his family who arrived in Quebec in 1849.
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 Fide et in Bello Fortis
Motto Translation: Strong in both faith and war.