O'Shea History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name O'Shea is O Seaghdha, which is modified to O Se. The surname is derived from the word seaghdha which means hawk like but has a secondary meaning of stately.

Early Origins of the O'Shea family

The surname O'Shea was first found in County Kerry (Irish:Ciarraí) part of the former County Desmond (14th-17th centuries), located in Southwestern Ireland, in Munster province, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

The O'Shee variant claims Kilkenny as their ancestral home. At one time they were one of the most important of the ruling families of Kilkenny. Robert O'Shee was sovereign of the area in 1493. This family alternated using the "O'" prefix as not, as later his son Richard Shee, the Sovereign of Kilkenny (1545-1546) and (1553-1554) was Member of Parliament for Kilkenny in 1559.

Early History of the O'Shea family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Shea research. Another 98 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1172 and 1500 are included under the topic Early O'Shea History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'Shea Spelling Variations

Within the archives researched, many different spelling variations of the surname O'Shea were found. These included One reason for the many variations is that scribes and church officials often spelled an individual's name as it sounded. This imprecise method often led to many versions. O'Shea, O'Shee, McShea, McShee and others.

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

Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Shea Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States O'Shea migration to the United States +

A massive amount of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century for North America and Australia in hopes of finding more opportunities and an escape from discrimination and oppression. A great portion of these migrants arrived on the eastern shores of the North American continent. Although they were generally poor and destitute, and, therefore, again discriminated against, these Irish people were heartily welcomed for the hard labor involved in the construction of railroads, canals, roadways, and buildings. Many others were put to work in the newly established factories or agricultural projects that were so essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the world. The Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s initiated the largest wave of Iris immigration. Early North American immigration and passenger lists have revealed a number of people bearing the name O'Shea or a variant listed above:

O'Shea Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Bartholomew, David, Edward, Lawrence, James, John, Michael, Timothy O'Shea all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860

Australia O'Shea migration to Australia +

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

O'Shea Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Henry O'Shea, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Somersetshire" in 1839 [1]
  • Charlotte O'Shea, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Somersetshire" in 1839 [1]
  • Annal O'Shea, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Somersetshire" in 1839 [1]
  • James O'Shea, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Somersetshire" in 1839 [1]
  • Bridget O'Shea, aged 21, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Nashwauk" [2]

New Zealand O'Shea 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'Shea Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James O'Shea, aged 40, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Eveline" in 1865
  • Mr. James O'Shea, South African settler travelling from Cape Town aboard the ship "Eveline" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 22nd January 1865 [3]
  • Denis O'Shea, aged 26, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874
  • Ellen O'Shea, aged 20, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874
  • Bridget O'Shea, aged 27, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

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

  • Corporal Thomas E. O'Shea (1895-1918), United States Army soldier posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor during World War I
  • Patrick Michael O'Shea (b. 1967), American composer, conductor and university music educator
  • George J. O'Shea, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1944, 1948, 1952; Candidate for U.S. Representative from Massachusetts 6th District, 1962 [4]
  • F. M. O'Shea, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Mississippi, 1948 [4]
  • Evelyn O'Shea, American Democrat politician, Member of Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee, 1940 [4]
  • E. K. O'Shea, American politician, Mayor of Mercedes, Texas, 1955 [4]
  • E. J. O'Shea, American Democrat politician, Chair of Phelps County Democratic Party, 1940 [4]
  • Clara L. O'Shea, American Democrat politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Beacon Falls; Elected 1946, 1948; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Connecticut, 1948, 1952 (alternate) [4]
  • Charles J. O'Shea, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly 19th District, 1987-97 [4]
  • Bernard G. O'Shea, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Vermont at-large, 1964, 1970 [4]
  • ... (Another 26 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Patrick F O'Shea (b. 1922), British Leading Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [5]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Michael O'Shea (1920-1939), Irish Canteen Assistant with the N.A.A.F.I aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [6]


  1. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SOMERSETSHIRE 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Somersetshire.htm
  2. ^ South Australian Register Monday 14th May 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Nashwauk 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/europa1855.shtml
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 10) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  5. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  6. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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