O'Ryan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name O'Ryan originally appeared in Gaelic as O Maoilriain.
Early Origins of the O'Ryan family
The surname O'Ryan was first found in County Tipperary (Irish: Thiobraid Árann), established in the 13th century in South-central Ireland, in the province of Munster.
According to O'Hart, the family claim descent from the Heremon Kings of Ireland through the MacMorough pedigree, specifically Cormac, brother of Eoghan who was ancestor of O'Righin; anglicized Mulrain, O'Ryan, Ryan and Ryne. 
However, MacLysaght claims the family claim descent from O Maoilriain located in Owney, formerly called Owney O'Mulryan which forms two modern baronies on the borders of Limerick and Tipperary.  As both authorities were Chief Heralds of Ireland in their own time, we must leave the reader to ponder which of the two is more likely.
Early History of the O'Ryan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Ryan research. Another 131 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1694, 1760, 1709, 1694 and 1732 are included under the topic Early O'Ryan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Ryan Spelling Variations
The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name O'Ryan were encountered in the archives: O'Ryan, Ryan, Mulrian, Mulryan, O'Mulrian and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Ryan family (pre 1700)
Notable among the family name at this time was Father Abraham Ryan, Poet; and Lacy Ryan (c. 1694-1760), English actor who appeared at the Haymarket Theatre about 1709. He was the son of a tailor, of descent presumedly Irish, was born in the...
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Ryan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Ryan migration to the United States +
In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the O'Ryan family came to North America quite early:
O'Ryan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Hamlet O'Ryan, aged 21, who immigrated to America, in 1892
- Kate O'Ryan, aged 20, who settled in America from Derry, in 1893
- James O'Ryan, aged 70, who landed in America from Halifax, in 1894
O'Ryan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
- Timothy O'Ryan, aged 78, who immigrated to America from Cork, in 1901
- Mrs. P. O'Ryan, aged 60, who immigrated to the United States, in 1903
- P. O'Ryan, aged 70, who immigrated to the United States, in 1903
- Nura A. O'Ryan, aged 65, who settled in America, in 1909
- Martin O'Ryan, aged 29, who landed in America from Lexford, Ireland, in 1912
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
O'Ryan migration to Canada +
Some of the first settlers of this family name were:
O'Ryan Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
- John O'Ryan, aged 40, who settled in Holyrood, Newfoundland, in 1909
O'Ryan migration to Australia +
Emigration to Australia
followed the First Fleets
of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:
O'Ryan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- James Oryan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Flora" in 1851 
O'Ryan 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'Ryan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- William O'Ryan, aged 23, a farm labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Salisbury" in 1876
Contemporary Notables of the name O'Ryan (post 1700) +
- John Francis O'Ryan (1874-1961), American Commanding General of the 27th Division during World War I
- Sandra O'Ryan (b. 1961), Chilean television, theatre and film actress
Related Stories +
The O'Ryan 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: Malo mori quam fodari
Motto Translation: I would rather die than be disgraced.
- ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
- ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
- ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LADY FLORA 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851LadyFlora.htm