Powers History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Powers came from a nickname for a poor man or a pauper. This name implies a voluntary vow of poverty rather than involuntary destitution. The surname Powers is derived from the Old French word "povre," which comes from the Latin word "pauper," which means "poor." The Gaelic form of the surname is "de Paor," although the proper prefix would be "le."

Early Origins of the Powers family

The surname Powers was first found in Devon, where they were descended from Rivalon, Lord of Poncar, in Brittany. Bartholomew Poher was granted lands in Devon and was Lord of Blackborough and was father of Robert Poher (sometimes called Sir Roger or Robert le Poer) who accompanied Strongbow in the Irish invasion in 1172. They were granted the county of Waterford by Strongbow and became active in the Government of Waterford and the whole of Ireland. [1]

The original settler Robert was killed in 1188 but his many sons and grandchildren established a name which would eventually become as Irish as the native Irish. Another source provides more details: "The immediate descendant of Norman Le Poer, or Power, was Sir Roger Le Poer, Knt., who accompanied Strongbow to Ireland, and obtained for his services three considerable territorial grants. He was ancestor of the Lords de la Poer, now represented by the Marquess of Waterford, and the many eminent families of Power in the South of Ireland, the Powers of Clashmore, Faithlegg, Kilfane, Belleville, etc." [2]

"The name of Poer or Power is widely spread in Ireland. The Poers of Belleville Park, near Cappoquin ; the Powers of Affane and Mount Rivers, in the same vicinity ; the Powers of Gurteen, midway between Clonmel and Carrick, are the chief representatives of this honourable name in the county of Water­ford. Several branches remained seated in England. " [3]

Early History of the Powers family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Powers research. Another 66 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1630, 1690, 1666, 1649, 1654 and 1660 are included under the topic Early Powers History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Powers Spelling Variations

Church officials and medieval scribes spelled names as they sounded; therefore, single person, could have his name spelt many different ways during their lifetime. While investigating the origins of the name Powers, many spelling variations were encountered, including: Power, Powers, le Poer and others.

Early Notables of the Powers family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family up to this time was Richard Power (1630-1690), 1st Earl of Tyrone was the eldest son of John, Lord de la Power of Curraghmore, co. Waterford who died in 1666. "The lords justices and council directed that no one should molest the Curraghmore family, and when Cromwell came to Ireland he issued an order on 20 Sept. 1649 setting forth that Lord Power and his family were 'taken into his special protection.' None of the Powers were excepted from pardon in the Cromwellian Act of Settlement, but...
Another 90 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Powers Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Powers Ranking

In the United States, the name Powers is the 314th most popular surname with an estimated 87,045 people with that name. [4]

United States Powers 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 Powers:

Powers Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Elizabeth Powers, who arrived in Maryland in 1678 [5]
Powers Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • George Powers, who landed in New York in 1769-1770 [5]
Powers Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Powers, aged 30, who arrived in New York in 1812 [5]
  • Edmond Powers, aged 24, who arrived in Missouri in 1844 [5]
  • Ann Powers, who landed in New York, NY in 1847 [5]
  • Charles, David, Edward, James, John, Martin, Michael, Patrick, and Thomas Powers, who all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
  • Edward Powers, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1878 [5]

Canada Powers migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Powers Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Henry Powers U.E. who settled in Shefford Township, Eastern Townships [La Haute-Yamaska Regional County Municipality], Quebec c. 1784 an associate of Captain John Savage [6]
  • Mr. Richard Powers U.E. who settled in Shefford Township, Eastern Townships [La Haute-Yamaska Regional County Municipality], Quebec c. 1784 an associate of Captain John Savage [6]

Australia Powers migration to Australia +

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

Powers Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Powers, English convict from Worcester, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • John Powers, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "America" on April 4, 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Ann Powers, English convict from Northampton, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on December 14, 1835, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [9]
  • Eliza Powers, aged 18, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Europa" [10]
  • Ellen Powers, aged 20, a cook, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Oriental,"

New Zealand Powers 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:

Powers Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Powers, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wyvern" in 1856

Contemporary Notables of the name Powers (post 1700) +

  • Johnny Powers (1938-2023), born John Leon Joseph Mooney, an American guitar player, singer, writer and producer specializing in rockabilly, best known for his 1957 recording of "Long Blond Hair"
  • Warren Anthony Powers (1941-2021), American football player and head coach at Washington State University in 1977, and the University of Missouri from 1978 through 1984
  • William Charles Powers Jr. (1946-2019), American attorney, academic, and university administrator, 28th President of the University of Texas at Austin (2006-2015)
  • Georgia Montgomery Davis Powers (1923-2016), American politician, first female and African-American member of the Kentucky State Senate (1968-1989)
  • Major-General Edward Michael Powers (1892-1977), American Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Material, Headquarters US Air Force (1947-1949) [11]
  • Patrick "Pat" Robert Powers (b. 1958), American two-time gold medalist volleyball player
  • Jeff Powers (1980-2008), American silver medalist water polo player at the 2008 Summer Olympics
  • Timothy Thomas "Tim" Powers (b. 1952), American science fiction and fantasy author
  • Tom Powers (1890-1955), American stage and film actor
  • Chester "Chet" William Powers Jr. (1937-1994), American singer-songwriter
  • ... (Another 146 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 24) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1828 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1828
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 26) America voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1829 with 176 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/america/1829
  9. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1835 with 132 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1835
  10. ^ South Australian Register Monday 14th May 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Europa 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/europa1855.shtml
  11. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) Edward Powers. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Powers/Edward_Michael/USA.html

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