O'Mara History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name O'Mara has undergone many variations in the time that has passed since its genesis. In Gaelic it appeared as O Meadhra, which is derived from the word meadhar, which means merry.

Early Origins of the O'Mara family

The surname O'Mara 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 held a family seat from ancient times.

"The O'Mearas had an extensive territory in the Barony of Upper Ormond, County Tipperary, in which O'Meara was a Chief.The name of their principal residence, Tuam-ui-Meara, is still retained in the town of Toomyvara. The Mearas or O'Mearas are still numerous in that locality." [1]

Early History of the O'Mara family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Mara research. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1619, 1614, 1681 and 1818 are included under the topic Early O'Mara History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'Mara Spelling Variations

During the Middle Ages, attempting to record a Gaelic name in English was a daunting task. Most names were spelt by scribes solely based on how it sounded, one's name could have been recorded many different ways during the life of its bearer. Numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name O'Mara family name.Variations found include Meara, O'Mara, Mar, O'Meara and others.

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

Prominent amongst the family at this time was Dermod O'Meara, an Irish physician and poet, author of the first medical work printed in Dublin in 1619; Edmund...
Another 26 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Mara Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States O'Mara migration to the United States +

Irish immigrants began to leave the English-controlled Ireland in sizable numbers during the late 18th century. Many of these Irish immigrated to British North America or the United States in the hopes of gaining their own tract of farmland. This pattern of migration grew steadily until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine caused a great exodus of immigrants to North America. These immigrants differed from their predecessors in that they were desperately fleeing the disease and starvation that plagued their homeland, and many were entirely destitute when they arrived in North America. Although these penniless immigrants were not warmly welcomed when they arrived, they were critical to the rapid development of the United States and what would become known as Canada. Many went to populate the western frontiers and others provided the cheap labor the new manufacturing sector and the building of bridges, roads, railways, and canals required. A thorough examination of immigration and passenger lists has revealed some of the earliest people to arrive in North America with name O'Mara or one of its variants:

O'Mara Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Daniel, James, Michael, Patrick, and William O'Mara, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
  • Fras. O'Mara, aged 17, who immigrated to the United States from Leitrim, Ireland, in 1893
O'Mara Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • John O'Mara, aged 68, who settled in America from England, in 1902
  • Elizabeth Jane O'Mara, aged 46, who settled in America from London, England, in 1909
  • Ellen O'Mara, aged 64, who landed in America from Limerick, Ireland, in 1909
  • John O'Mara, aged 39, who landed in America from Bruff, Ireland, in 1911
  • Jane O'Mara, aged 20, who immigrated to the United States from SixMile Bridge, Ireland, in 1912
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada O'Mara migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

O'Mara Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Ellen O'Mara, aged 50, who settled in Palmerston, Ontario, Canada, in 1907
  • Bridget O'Mara, aged 31, who immigrated to St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1912
  • Adelaide O'Mara, aged 35, who settled in Toronto, Canada, in 1920
  • A. Maureen O'Mara, aged 9, who immigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1922

New Zealand O'Mara 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'Mara Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Maria O'Mara, (b. 1838), aged 25, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship "David G. Fleming" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 9th December 1863 [2]
  • Miss Mary O'Mara, (b. 1842), aged 25, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 3rd January 1868 [2]
  • Miss Sarah O'Mara, (b. 1846), aged 21, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 3rd January 1868 [2]
  • Miss Anastasia O'Mara, (b. 1850), aged 17, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 3rd January 1868 [2]
  • Mary O'Mara, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1874
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

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

  • Thomas J. O'Mara, American Democrat politician, Candidate for New Hampshire State House of Representatives from Laconia 4th Ward, 1938 [3]
  • Thomas F. O'Mara, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State House of Representatives from Wayne County 1st District, 1930 [3]
  • P. J. O'Mara, American politician, Mayor of Gillette, Wyoming, 1899-1901 [3]
  • John B. O'Mara, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Missouri, 1888 [3]
  • Eugene J. O'Mara, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New Jersey 10th District, 1928 [3]
  • Edward J. O'Mara (b. 1897), American Democrat politician, Member of New Jersey State Senate from Hudson County, 1941-53; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Jersey, 1944, 1948 [3]
  • Daniel J. O'Mara (b. 1893), American Republican politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Monroe County 1st District, 1932-34; Justice of New York Supreme Court 7th District, 1958 [3]
  • Shane Francis Seamus O'Mara (b. 1982), American rower
  • Michael "Mike" O'Mara (b. 1985), American musician, original guitarist and backup vocalist of the American indie rock band Sleepaway
  • Oliver Edward O'Mara (1891-1989), American Major League Baseball shortstop
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The O'Mara 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: Opima spolia
Motto Translation: The spoils of honour.


  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 27) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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