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Shai History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms



Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Shai is O Seaghdha, which is modified to O Se. The surname is derived from the word seaghdha which means hawk like but has a secondary meaning of stately.


Early Origins of the Shai family


The surname Shai was first found in County Kerry (Irish:Ciarraí) part of the former County Desmond (14th-17th centuries), located in Southwestern Ireland, in Munster province, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

The O'Shee variant claims Kilkenny as their ancestral home. At one time they were one of the most important of the ruling families of Kilkenny. Robert O'Shee was sovereign of the area in 1493. This family alternated using the "O'" prefix as not, as later his son Richard Shee, the Sovereign of Kilkenny (1545-1546) and (1553-1554) was Member of Parliament for Kilkenny in 1559.


Early History of the Shai family


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shai research.
Another 98 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1172 and 1500 are included under the topic Early Shai History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Shai Spelling Variations


The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name Shai were encountered in the archives: O'Shea, O'Shee, McShea, McShee and others.

Early Notables of the Shai family (pre 1700)


Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Shai Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Shai family to the New World and Oceana


In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the Shai family came to North America quite early: Daniel, James, John, Patrick, Thomas McShea all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860; Bartholomew, David, Edward, Lawrence, James, John, Michael, Timothy O'Shea all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860..

Contemporary Notables of the name Shai (post 1700)


  • Shai Gavi, Physician known for his collaboration on "Adverse Events Due to Discontinuations in Drug Use and Dose Changes in Patients Transferred Between Acute and Long-term Care Facilities"

Shai Family Crest Products



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