Show ContentsO'Meagher History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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 O'Meagher is O Meachair, derived from the word "michair," which means "hospitable" or "kindly."

Early Origins of the O'Meagher family

The surname O'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]

"The O'Meaghers were formerly powerful Chiefs possessing the Barony of Ikerrin, in County Tipperary, of which O'Meagher was Lord. The Meaghers or Mahers are principally found in County Tipperary at present." [2]

Early History of the O'Meagher family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Meagher research. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1551, 1635 and 1705 are included under the topic Early O'Meagher History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'Meagher Spelling Variations

One explanation for the many variations is that scribes and church officials frequently spelled the name as it sounded: an imprecise method at best. Understandably then, various spellings of the surname O'Meagher were found in the many archives researched. These included Maher, O'Meagher, Meagher, O'Maher, Mahir and others.

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

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


United States O'Meagher 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'Meagher:

O'Meagher Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Omeagher, who arrived in New York in 1789 [3]

New Zealand O'Meagher 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'Meagher Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss O'Meagher, Australian settler travelling from Sydney aboard the ship "Easby" arriving in Port Chalmers, Otago, New Zealand on 18th September 1874 [4]


The O'Meagher 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: In periculis audax
Motto Translation: Bold in danger


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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