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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

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.


The surname Plunket was 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.

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.


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 and printed products wherever possible.


Notable amongst the family up to this time was Sir Christopher Plunkett, 1st Baron of Dunsany (1410-1463); Alexander Plunket (died 1503), appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland by King Henry VII of England in 1492; Oliver Plunkett, 1st Baron Louth (d. c. 1555), an Irish peer; Christopher Plunkett, 2nd Earl of Fingall...

Another 74 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Plunket Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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

  • Thomas J. Plunket, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1948; Chair of Ulster County Democratic Party, 1955
  • Alexander Plunket, appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland by King Henry VII of England in 1492
  • Katherine Plunket (1820-1932), Irish aristocrat from County Louth, a prolific botanical artist
  • Thomas Span Plunket (1792-1866), 2nd Baron Plunket, Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achon
  • William Conyngham Plunket (1764-1854), 1st Baron Plunket, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Whig MP for Dublin University
  • Sean Plunket, New Zealand broadcast journalist
  • Thomas Plunket (d. 1851), Irish soldier in the British army
  • William Lee Plunket (1864-1920), 5th Baron Plunket, Governor of New Zealand

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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    Other References

    1. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
    2. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
    3. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
    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. 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.
    6. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
    7. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    8. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
    9. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
    10. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
    11. ...

    The Plunket Family Crest was acquired from the 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 29 October 2015 at 09:53.

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