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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 Plunkett, were taken from the name of a place or a geographical feature where the person lived, held land, or was born. The surname Plunkett is derived from living in the settlement of Plouquenet in Ille-et-Vilaine in France. The surname Plunkett 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 Plunkett is a corruption of the Old French word blanchet, which means white. The Gaelic form of the surname Plunkett is Pluincéid.


The surname Plunkett 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.

During an investigation of the origin of each name, it was found that church officials and medieval scribes spelled many surnames as they sounded. Therefore, during the lifetime of a single person, a name could be spelt numerous ways. Some of the spelling variations for the name Plunkett include Plunkett, Plunket, Plunkitt, Plunkit, Plunked, Plunkedd, Plunkidd and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Plunkett 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 Plunkett 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 Plunkett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


A great number of Irish families left their homeland in the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century, migrating to such far away lands as Australia and North Ameri ca. The early settlers left after much planning and deliberation. They were generally well off but they desired a tract of land that they could farm solely for themselves. The great mass of immigrants to arrive on North American shores in the 1840s differed greatly from their predecessors because many of them were utterly destitute, selling all they had to gain a passage on a ship or having their way paid by a philanthropic society. These Irish people were trying to escape the aftermath of the Great Potato Famine: poverty, starvation, disease, and, for many, ultimately death. Those that arrived on North American shores were not warmly welcomed by the established population, but they were vital to the rapid development of the industry, agriculture, and infrastructure of the infant nations of the United States and what would become Canada. Early passenger and immigration lists reveal many Irish settlers bearing the name Plunkett:

Plunkett Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Edward Plunkett, aged 20, landed in Barbados in 1635
  • Rowland Plunkett, aged 18, arrived in Barbados in 1635
  • James Plunkett, who came to Virginia in 1655

Plunkett Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Plunkett, who landed in New York in 1834
  • Edward, George, Mathew, Patrick, and Thomas Plunkett, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
  • Robert Plunkett, who landed in California in 1875

Plunkett Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • John Plunkett, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749

Plunkett Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • James Plunkett, aged 24, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Trafalgar" from Galway, Ireland

Plunkett Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Charles Plunkett, English convict from Staffordshire, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • William Plunkett arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Aboukir" in 1847
  • John Plunkett arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Aboukir" in 1847
  • Isaac Plunkett, aged 29, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Velocity"
  • Catherine Plunkett, aged 18, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Aliquis"

  • William Caudwell Plunkett (1799-1884), American politician, 20th Lieutenant Governor for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1854 to 1855
  • Maryann Plunkett (b. 1953), American Tony Award winning actress for her performance as "Sally Smith" in Me and My Girl
  • Roy J. Plunkett (1910-1994), American chemist who discovered polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) in 1938, inducted to the Plastics Hall of Fame in 1973
  • Walter Plunkett (1902-1982), American Academy Award winning Hollywood costume designer, known for his work on the films Gone with the Wind and Singin' in the Rain
  • Rev. Robert Plunkett (d. 1815), American academic, 1st President of Georgetown University (1791-1793)
  • Rear Admiral Charles Peshall Plunkett (1864-1931), American officer of the United States Navy, eponym of the Gleaves-class destroyer USS Plunkett (DD-431)
  • James William "Jim" Plunkett (b. 1947), former American NFL football quarterback for Stanford University, where he won the Heisman Trophy
  • Gregory M. Plunkett (b. 1965), American botanist
  • Connie Plunkett, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Georgia, 1972
  • Cheryl Plunkett, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 2012
  • ...

  • Ten Thousand Plunks; A Partially Documented Record of the Families of Charles Plunkett of Newborn County, South Carolina by Emma Plunkett.

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. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
    2. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
    3. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    4. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
    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. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
    7. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
    8. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
    9. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
    10. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
    11. ...

    The Plunkett Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Plunkett 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 9 July 2016 at 09:41.

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