Plunkett History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Plunkett family

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.

"A nephew of Lord Plugenet [in England] founded the family still existing in Ireland, though their pedigree declares that they are of Danish origin, and were seated at Bewley (Beaulieu) in co. Louth as early as the eleventh century. " [1]

"The younger branch was the more distinguished of the two. 'These 'Plunkets in Ireland,' says Camden, ' have been very eminent ever since Christopher Plunket (a person of great valour and wisdom who was deputy to Richard Duke of York, Viceroy in Henry VI. time) was raised to the dignity of Baron of Killin, which came to him by his wife, as heir to the family of the Cusacks.' Sir Christopher was Sheriff of Meath prior to 1442, and had married the only child of Sir Lucas de Cusack, Lord of Killeen, Dunsany, and Gerardstown in that county. All his three sons founded families. The eldest was the ancestor of the Earls of Fingall ; the second, Sir Christopher, was the first Lord Dunsany ; and the third, Sir Thomas, had to wife the heiress of Rathmore, which remained the home of his descendants. His son Sir Alexander 'a person of great account,' was appointed Chancellor of Ireland in 1492." [1]

Early History of the Plunkett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Plunkett research. Another 114 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1182, 1410, 1463, 1503, 1492, 1555, 1649, 1668, 1445, 1461, 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.

Plunkett Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Plunkett family (pre 1700)

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; and Christopher Plunkett, 2nd Earl of Fingall (died 1649). Patrick Plunket (died 1668), was 9th Baron of Dunsany, co. Meath. An ancestor, Sir Christopher Plunket (d. 1445), was active in the Irish wars during the early part of the fifteenth century, and is said to have been deputy to...
Another 92 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Plunkett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Plunkett migration to the United States +

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 America. 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, who landed in Barbados in 1635 [2]
  • Rowland Plunkett, aged 18, who arrived in Barbados in 1635 [2]
  • James Plunkett, who settled in Virginia in 1655
Plunkett Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Plunkett, who landed in New York in 1834 [2]
  • Edward, George, Mathew, Patrick, and Thomas Plunkett, who all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
  • Robert Plunkett, who landed in California in 1875 [2]

Canada Plunkett migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

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, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Trafalgar" from Galway, Ireland
  • Mr. Andrew Plunkett who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Naparina" departing 17th June 1847 from Dublin, Ireland; the ship arrived on 23rd August 1847 but he died on board [3]
  • Mr. Patrick Plunkett, aged 30 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Emigrant" departing 11th August 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 3rd October 1847 but he died on board [3]

Australia Plunkett migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Plunkett Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Denis Plunkett, (b. 1774), aged 27, Irish convict who was convicted in Kilkenny, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 29th November 1801, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • Mr. Patrick Plunkett, British convict who was convicted in Devon, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Mr. Thomas Plunkett who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 4th August 1836, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Charles Plunkett, English convict from Staffordshire, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [7]
  • William Plunkett, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Aboukir" in 1847 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Plunkett migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Plunkett Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Robert Plunkett, (b. 1844), aged 35, British Settler travelling aboard the ship " Auckland" en route to Invercargill, New Zealand on 25th December 1879 [9]
  • Mrs. Ellen Plunkett, (b. 1842), aged 37, British Settler travelling aboard the ship " Auckland" en route to Invercargill, New Zealand on 25th December 1879 [9]
  • Mr. Isaac Plunkett, (b. 1866), aged 13, British Settler travelling aboard the ship " Auckland" en route to Invercargill, New Zealand on 25th December 1879 [9]
  • Miss Eliza Plunkett, (b. 1867), aged 12, British Settler travelling aboard the ship " Auckland" en route to Invercargill, New Zealand on 25th December 1879 [9]
  • Mr. John Plunkett, (b. 1868), aged 11, British Settler travelling aboard the ship " Auckland" en route to Invercargill, New Zealand on 25th December 1879 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Plunkett (post 1700) +

  • Paul Edward Plunkett (1935-2018), American jurist, Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (1998-2018)
  • 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 [10]
  • ... (Another 26 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Plunkett Motto +

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.


Suggested Readings for the name Plunkett +

  • 3012 Ten Thousand Plunks; A Partially Documented Record of the Families of Charles Plunkett of Newborn County, South Carolina by Emma Plunkett.

  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  2. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 92)
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/calcutta
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Anson voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1843 with 499 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/anson/1843
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ABOUKIR 1847. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1847Aboukir.htm
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 29) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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