O'connor History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name O'connor originally appeared in Gaelic as O Conchobhair, derived from the personal name Conchobhar.

Early Origins of the O'connor family

The surname O'connor was first found in Connacht. There were six different septs of this famous name scattered throughout Ireland, of which four continue to boast many members. However, the most important O'Connors were those of Connacht, divided into three main branches: O'Conor Don; O'Conor Roe; and O'Conor Sligo.

The Connacht O'Connors were direct descendants of Conchobhar, King of Connacht, who died in 971 AD. Furthermore, this family produced the last two High Kings of Ireland: Turlough O'Connor (1088-1156) and Roderick O'Connor (1116-1196). It was the invasion of Leinster by Roderick O'Conner on behalf of the Prince of West Brefney that caused the King of Leinster, Dermod MacMorough, to flee to England for aid. This resulted in the Strongbow Invasion of 1168, the beginning of English domination over Ireland.

Despite remaining stubbornly Catholic, the O'Connor family continued to maintain their elite position among the Irish nobility throughout the entire period of British dominance.

Early History of the O'connor family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'connor research. Another 182 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1002, 1641, 1652, 1666, 1698, 1666, 1710, 1791, 1838, 1906, 1763 and 1852 are included under the topic Early O'connor History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'connor Spelling Variations

Pronunciation, rather than spelling, guided scribes and church officials when recording names during the Middle Ages. This practice often resulted in one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname O'connor are preserved in these old documents. The various spellings of the name that were found include Connor, Conner, Conor, Connors, O'Connor, Connores, Conner, Connar, Connars, O'Connar, O'Conner, Connair, Connairs, Connaire, Connaires, Cawner, Cawners, Caunnor, Cauner, Cauners and many more.

Early Notables of the O'connor family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Cabrach O'Conor and Hugh O'Connor, son and grandson of O'Conor Don, took a prominent part in the 1641-1652 wars Bernard Connor or O'Connor (1666?-1698), Irish physician and historian, descended from an ancient Irish family...
Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'connor Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'connor World Ranking

In the United States, the name O'connor is the 530th most popular surname with an estimated 54,714 people with that name. [1] However, in Canada, the name O'connor is ranked the 506th most popular surname with an estimated 9,630 people with that name. [2] And in Australia, the name O'connor is the 118th popular surname with an estimated 22,688 people with that name. [3] New Zealand ranks O'connor as 116th with 3,810 people. [4] The United Kingdom ranks O'connor as 292nd with 20,852 people. [5]


United States O'connor migration to the United States +

The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute due to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United States and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the O'connor family relocated to North American shores quite early:

O'connor Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Arthur O'Connor who arrived in Philadelphia in 1804

Canada O'connor migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

O'connor Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Bridget O'Connor who was married in Nova Scotia in 1803
  • John O'Connor, aged 21, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Preston" from Sligo, Ireland
  • Jeremiah O'Connor, aged 25, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork, Ireland

Australia O'connor migration to Australia +

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

O'connor Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
  • Miss Elizabeth O'Connor, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Britannia III" on 18th July 1798, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
O'connor Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Michael O'Connor, Welsh convict who was convicted in Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, Wales for 14 years, transported aboard the "Caledonia" in 19th June 1822, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • Dennis O'Connor, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Buckinghamshire" in 1839 [8]
  • James O'Connor, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Baboo" in 1840 [9]
  • Benjamin O'Connor, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Morley" in 1840 [10]
  • Mary Teresa O'Connor, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Morley" in 1840 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand O'connor 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:

O'connor Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Michael O'Connor, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wyvern" in 1856
  • John O'Connor, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wyvern" in 1856
  • Mr. John O'Connor, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "John Scott" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 7th March 1858 [11]
  • Mr. Benjamin C. O'Connor, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mariner" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd June 1859 [11]
  • Mr. Thomas O'Connor, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mersey" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 11th June 1861 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies O'connor migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [12]
O'connor Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Charles O'Connor, who arrived in Dominica in 1774

Contemporary Notables of the name O'connor (post 1700) +

  • Sandra Day O'Connor (b. 1930), American lawyer, who became the first woman justice in the U.S. Supreme Court and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Michael J. O'Connor (1928-2018), American politician, Member of the South Dakota House of Representatives (1973-1977) and (1981-1982)
  • Timothy J. "Tim" O'Connor (1927-2018), American character actor from Chicago, Illinois, known for his work on The United States Steel Hour (1953), Peyton Place (1964) and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979)
  • Timothy J. O'Connor Jr. (1936-2018), American politician from Brattleboro, Vermont, Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives (1975-1981)
  • William Scott O'Connor (1883-1939), American Olympic sliver medalist for fencing at the 1904 games
  • Donald David Dixon Ronald O'Connor (1925-2003), American dancer, singer, and actor, best remembered for his co-starring role as Gene Kelly's friend in Singin' in the Rain (1952)
  • Colonel, USMC, RET. Bryan D. O'Connor (b. 1946), NASA Astronaut with over 386 hours in space
  • Edwin O'Connor (1918-1968), American radio personality, journalist, and novelist who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1962
  • Carroll O'Connor (1922-2001), American Emmy Award-winning television and stage actor
  • Patrick Edward O'Connor (1820-1871), American pioneer, Civil war soldier for the Confederate side
  • ... (Another 21 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Mr. Ian John O'Connor (1938-1979), New Zealander passenger, from Timaru, South Island, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; he died in the crash [13]
Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)
  • Daniel Emmett O'Connor (1957-1988), American U.S. Diplomatic Service from Dorchester, Massachusetts, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died [14]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. John O'Connor, American 3rd Class passenger from New York, New York, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [15]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Thomas Peter O'Connor (d. 1912), aged 39, English Bedroom Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [16]
  • Mr. John O'Connor, aged 25, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 3 [16]
  • Mr. Maurice O'Connor (d. 1912), aged 16, Irish Third Class passenger from Boherbue, Cork who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [16]
  • Mr. Patrick O'Connor (d. 1912), aged 23, Irish Third Class passenger from Kingwilliamstown, Cork who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [16]


The O'connor 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: O Dhia gach an cabhair
Motto Translation: From God Every Help


  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  5. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/Britannia
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/caledonia
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BUCKINGHAMSHIRE 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Buckinghamshire.htm
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BABOO 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840Baboo.htm
  10. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MORLEY 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840Morley.htm
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  13. ^ Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from http://www.erebus.co.nz/memorialandawards/rollofremembrance.aspx
  14. ^ Pan Am Flight 103's victims: A list of those killed 25 years ago | syracuse.com. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/12/pan_am_flight_103s_victims_a_list_of_those_killed_25_years_ago.html
  15. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  16. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


Houseofnames.com on Facebook
Shipping
Fastest Delivery Possible

Digital Products on Checkout, all other products filled in 1 business day

Money Back
Money Back Guarantee

Yes, all products 100% Guaranteed

Support
BBB A+ Rating

The Best Rating possible

Payment
Secure Online Payment

Entire site uses SSL / Secure Certificate