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

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

The Irish already had a system for creating hereditary surnames established when the followers of Strongbow settled in eastern Ireland. Although there was relatively little friction between the two systems because they operated according to very similar principles, the Strongbownians frequently used local surnames. In Ireland, local surnames were almost unheard of, but in England they were probably the most common form of hereditary surname. Local surnames, such as Plunket, were taken from the name of a place or a geographical feature where the person lived, held land, or was born. The surname Plunket is derived from living in the settlement of Plouquenet in Ille-et-Vilaine in France. The surname Plunket belongs to the large category of Anglo-Norman habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Some sources indicated that the surname Plunket is a corruption of the Old French word blanchet, which means white. The Gaelic form of the surname Plunket is Pluincéid.


It was found during an investigation of the origins of the name Plunket that church officials and medieval scribes often spelled the name as it sounded. This practice lead to a single person's being documented under many spelling variations. The name Plunket has existed in the various shapes: Plunkett, Plunket, Plunkitt, Plunkit, Plunked, Plunkedd, Plunkidd and many more.

First found in County Louth (Irish: Lú) the smallest county in Ireland, located on the East coast, in the Province of Leinster, where they were granted lands when they accompanied Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, in the invasion of Ireland.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Plunket research. Another 227 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1182, 1410, 1463, 1503, 1492, 1555, 1649, 1602, 1680, 1644, 1629, 1681 and 1920 are included under the topic Early Plunket History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 231 words(16 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Plunket Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Irish immigration to North American began in the late 18th century as many Irish families desired to own their own land. This pattern of immigration grew slowly yet steadily until the 1840s. At that time, a failed crop and a growing population in Ireland resulted in the Great Potato Famine. Poverty, disease, and starvation ravaged the land. To ease their pain and suffering the Irish often looked upon North America as a solution: hundreds of thousands undertook the voyage. Their arrival meant the growth of industry and commerce for British North America and the United States. For the individual Irishman, it meant survival and hope, and the opportunity for work, freedom, and ownership of land. The early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Plunket:

Plunket Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • James Plunket, who landed in Virginia in 1655

Plunket Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Ellinor Plunket, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746

Plunket Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Oliver Plunket, who landed in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1804
  • Oliver Plunket, who settled in Wilmington North Carolina in 1804
  • Margaret Plunket, aged 20, arrived in New York in 1854
  • James, Bernard, John, Patrick, Phillip, and Thomas Plunket, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860

Plunket Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Peter Plunket, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1831

Plunket Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Bridget Plunket, aged 32, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Florentia"
  • Bridget Plunket arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Florentia" in 1849


  • William Conyngham Plunket (1764-1854), 1st Baron Plunket, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Whig MP for Dublin University
  • Thomas Span Plunket (1792-1866), 2nd Baron Plunket, Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achon
  • Katherine Plunket (1820-1932), Irish aristocrat from County Louth, a prolific botanical artist
  • Alexander Plunket, appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland by King Henry VII of England in 1492
  • William Lee Plunket (1864-1920), 5th Baron Plunket, Governor of New Zealand
  • Thomas Plunket (d. 1851), Irish soldier in the British army
  • Sean Plunket, New Zealand broadcast journalist


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: Festina lente
Motto Translation: Be quick without impetuosity.


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  1. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  2. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  3. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  5. 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.
  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. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  8. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  11. ...

The Plunket Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Plunket 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 8 July 2013 at 12:33.

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