O'Hara History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Irish surnames are linked to the long Gaelic heritage of the Island nation. The original Gaelic form of the name O'Hara is O hEaghra, connoting a descendant of Eaghra. O'Hara is a patronymic surname, which derived from the vernacular given name tradition.

Early Origins of the O'Hara family

The surname O'Hara was first found in County Sligo (Irish: Sligeach), in the province of Connacht in Northwestern Ireland, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Early History of the O'Hara family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Hara research. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Hara History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'Hara 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'Hara are preserved in the archival documents of the period. The various spellings of the name that were found include Hara, Harra, O'Hara and others.

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

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


United States O'Hara migration to the United States +

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'Hara:

O'Hara Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Charles O'Hara, who settled in Boston in 1716
  • Ann O'Hara, an English convict sent to Rappahannock, Virginia in 1740
  • David O'Hara, who was naturalized in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1783
O'Hara Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward O'Hara, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817
  • Charles, Daniel, Francis, James, John, Martin, Michael, Patrick, and Thomas O'Hara, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1810 and 1870

Australia O'Hara migration to Australia +

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

O'Hara Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Henry O'Hara, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Thirteen" in 1840 [1]
  • Mr. Charles O'Hara, English convict who was convicted in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Barossa" on 9th May 1844, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [2]
  • Joseph O'Hara, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Countess of Yarborough" in 1850 [3]
  • Mr. Bryan O'hara, (b. 1825), aged 23, English convict who was convicted in Skipton, Yorkshire, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Bangalore" on 1st January 1850, arriving in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia, listed as took ill on the journey [4]
  • Pat. O'Hara, aged 25, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Hydaspes" [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand O'Hara 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'Hara Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Bryan O'Hara, (b. 1806), aged 41, Irish settler arriving as Detachment of the Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling aboard the ship "Sir Robert Sale" from Gravesend via Cork arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 11th October 1847 [6]
  • Mrs. Catherine O'Hara, Irish settler travelling aboard the ship "Sir Robert Sale" from Gravesend via Cork arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 11th October 1847 [6]
  • Mr. Patrick O'Hara, (b. 1833), aged 14, Irish settler travelling aboard the ship "Sir Robert Sale" from Gravesend via Cork arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 11th October 1847 [6]
  • P. O'Hara, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Josephine Willis" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 5th February 1855 [7]
  • Mrs. Ann O'Hara, (b. 1812), aged 44, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Joseph Fletcher" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 24th October 1856 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

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

  • Michael Futch O'Hara (1932-2018), American gold medalist volleyball player at the 1964 Summer Olympics and silver medalist at the 1963 Pan American Games
  • Quinn O'Hara (1941-2017), born Alice Jones, Scottish-born American actress, known for her roles in A Swingin' Summer and The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini
  • Patricia Joanne "Jenny" O'Hara (b. 1942), American film, television and stage actress
  • Terrence O'Hara, American Hugo Award nominated film, television director and actor
  • Kelli O'Hara (b. 1976), American four-time Tony Award nominated stage actress, singer, and songwriter
  • Francis Russell "Frank" O'Hara (1926-1966), American writer, poet and art critic, member of the New York School of poetry, posthumous recipient of the 1972 National Book Award for Poetry
  • Jamie O'Hara (b. 1950), American country music singer
  • Paige O'Hara (b. 1956), born Donna Paige Helmintoller, an American actress, singer, and painter, known for her voice-over work on Beauty and the Beast (1991), Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997) and Enchanted (2007)
  • Kelley Maureen O'Hara (b. 1988), American Olympic soccer gold medalist at the 2012 Summer Olympics
  • John Henry O'Hara (1905-1970), American novelist and short story author
  • ... (Another 14 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Flight TWA 800
  • Mr. John Joseph O'Hara (1957-1996), from Irvington, New York, USA, American executive producer of ABC Sport flying aboard flight TWA 800 from J.F.K. Airport, New York to Leonardo da Vinci Airport, Rome when the plane crashed after takeoff ; he died in the crash [8]
  • Miss. Caitlin Marie O'Hara (1983-1996), from Irvington, New York, USA, American passenger flying aboard flight TWA 800 from J.F.K. Airport, New York to Leonardo da Vinci Airport, Rome when the plane crashed after takeoff ; she died in the crash [8]
  • Mrs. Janet Schmitz O'Hara (1957-1996), from Irvington, New York, USA, American passenger flying aboard flight TWA 800 from J.F.K. Airport, New York to Leonardo da Vinci Airport, Rome when the plane crashed after takeoff ; she died in the crash [8]


The O'Hara 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: Virtute et claritate
Motto Translation: By virtue and high repute.


  1. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) THIRTEEN 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840Thirteen.gif
  2. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barossa
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) COUNTESS OF YARBOROUGH 1850. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850CountessYarborough.htm
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/australasia
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HYDASPES 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Hydaspes.htm
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ The Washington Post Passenger List TWA Flight 800. (Retrieved 2018, February 15th). Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/twa800/list01.htm


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