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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Irish

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.


The surname Pendergast was 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, Lord of Prendergast was a great friend and neighbor of Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke. He accompanied Strongbow in the Anglo\ Norman invasion of Ireland in 1172. He was summoned back to England by Henry II., in 1175 to escort the rebellious Robert, Earl of Essex, captive into Normandy in 1177. Upon his return to England he once again returned to Ireland and was rewarded with lands in Ireland in Waterford and south Mayo. [1]

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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pendergast research. Another 347 words (25 lines of text) covering the years 1641, 1660, 1689, 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 "Tom" 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
  • Victoria "Tori" Pendergast (b. 1991), Australian F58 athletics shotput competitor and LW12.1 classified para-alpine skier at the 2014 Winter Paralympics
  • Leeanna Pendergast (b. 1962), Canadian politician, member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 2007 to 2011
  • Mrs. Mary Ann  Pendergast (1837-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • 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. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  4. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  9. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  10. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. 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 21 January 2016 at 16:27.

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