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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the Irish Pendergast family come from? What is the Irish Pendergast family crest and coat of arms? When did the Pendergast family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Pendergast family history?

The Pendergast surname belongs to the large category of Anglo-Norman habitation names, which are thought to have originally derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads in Normandy. In Ireland, the name was turned into a Gaelic form as de Priondragás; however, the name has also been replaced with MacSherone.


Medieval scribes and church officials spelled the names as they sounded, so a name was often spelled many different ways during the lifetime of a single person. The investigation of the origin of the name Pendergast revealed many spelling variations including Prendergast, Prendegast, Pendergast, Pendegast, Prendregast, Pendergrass, Pendergrist, Pender and many more.

First found in Pembrokeshire (Welsh: Sir Benfro), a county in south-west Wales, anciently part of the Welsh kingdom of Deheubarth, where they held a family seat from early times and were Lords of the manor of Prendergast and estates in that shire. Maurice was a great friend and neighbor of Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke. He accompanied Strongbow in the Anglo\ Norman invasion of Ireland in 1172, and was rewarded with lands in Ireland in Waterford and south Mayo.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pendergast research. Another 181 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1725, 1660, 1709, 1703 and 1710 are included under the topic Early Pendergast History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pendergast Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Ireland experienced a dramatic decrease in its population during the 19th century. This was in a great measure, a response to England's imperialistic policies. Hunger and disease took the lives of many Irish people and many more chose to leave their homeland to escape the horrific conditions. North America with its promise of work, freedom, and land was an extremely popular destination for Irish families. For those families that survived the journey, all three of these things were often attained through much hard work and perseverance. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name Pendergast:

Pendergast Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Phillipp Pendergast, who landed in Virginia in 1643
  • Robert Pendergast, who arrived in Maryland in 1678

Pendergast Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Pendergast, who landed in America in 1810
  • Charles M Pendergast, aged 42, arrived in Harford County, Maryland in 1835
  • Edward Pendergast, who landed in Mobile County, Ala in 1840
  • James Pendergast, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876
  • William Pendergast, who arrived in Arkansas in 1885

Pendergast Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Michael Pendergast, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1819
  • Patrick Pendergast, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843


  • Thomas Joseph Pendergast (1873-1945), American who controlled Kansas City and Jackson County, Missouri as a political boss
  • David Michael Pendergast (b. 1934), American archaeologist
  • James Francis Pendergast (1856-1911), Democratic politician who was to be the first Big City Boss of Kansas City, Missouri
  • Clancy Pendergast (b. 1967), American former defensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs
  • Mrs. Mary Ann  Pendergast (1837-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Leeanna Pendergast, Canadian politician
  • Christopher-Paul Peter Pendergast (b. 1986), Scottish born Gaelic Footballer


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: Vincit veritas
Motto Translation: Truth conquers.


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  1. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  2. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  3. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  4. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  5. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  6. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  7. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  11. ...

The Pendergast Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Pendergast Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 3 September 2015 at 13:53.

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