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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Hundreds of years ago, the Gaelic name used by the Sharkey family in Ireland was O Searcaigh, which is derived from the word "searcach," which means "loving."


The surname Sharkey was first found in Tyrone (Irish:Tír Eoghain), the ancient territory of the O'Neills, now in the Province of Ulster, central Northern Ireland, where they were established in ancient times.

A name was often recorded during the Middle Ages under several different spelling variations during the life of its bearer because literacy was rare there was no real push to clearly define any of the languages found in the British Isles at that time. Variations found of the name Sharkey include Sharkey, O'Sharkey, Sharket, O'Serky, O'Sherkott, Sherkott, O'Sergoid and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sharkey research. Another 231 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 157 and 1578 are included under the topic Early Sharkey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


More information is included under the topic Early Sharkey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North Ameri ca. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Sharkey:

Sharkey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Peter Sharkey, who sailed to Virginia in 1649
  • Peter Sharkey, who landed in Virginia in 1649

Sharkey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • George Sharkey was living in Maryland at the end of the 18th century
  • Hugh Sharkey, who arrived in America in 1795

Sharkey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Barnard Sharkey sailed to Philadelphia in 1811
  • John Sharkey, who arrived in America in 1848
  • John O Sharkey, who landed in Texas in 1850-1906
  • Patrick Sharkey, who arrived in America in 1852
  • Joseph Sharkey, who landed in America in 1854
  • ...

Sharkey Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Catherine Sharkey moved to North Dakota in 1910

Sharkey Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Margaret Sharkey sailed to Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833
  • Margaret Sharkey, aged 21, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Condor" in 1838
  • John Sharkey was living in Dundas County, Ontario as of 1871

Sharkey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • P Sharkey landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1841
  • Andrew Sharkey, aged 26, a blacksmith, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wild Duck" in 1873

  • Jerry Sharkey (1943-2014), American Wright brothers historian, conceived idea for Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park
  • Edward Joseph Sharkey (b. 1927), former American NFL football linebacker
  • William J. Sharkey (1885-1918), American officer in the United States Navy during World War I, eponym of the USS Sharkey (DD-281)
  • Tom "Sailor Tom" Sharkey (1873-1953), American boxer who fought from 1893 to 1904, named to the Ring Magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time
  • Raymond "Ray" Sharkey (1952-1993), American actor, best known for his role as Sonny Steelgrave in the television series Wiseguy
  • Jack Sharkey (1902-1994), born Joseph Paul Zukauskas, American heavyweight boxing champion
  • Frederick P. Sharkey, American Democrat politician, Candidate for New Jersey State House of Assembly 39th District, 1975
  • Frank P. Sharkey, American Democrat politician, Postmaster at Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, 1894-95; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1896, 1916 (alternate)
  • Catherine T. Sharkey, American Democrat politician, Member of New York Democratic State Committee, 1936
  • Helen A. Sharkey, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for New York, 1956
  • ...

Sharkey Historic Events

Empress of Ireland

  • Mr. Martin Sharkey, British Cook from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking on May 29th 1914

RMS Lusitania

  • Mr. John     Sharkey, English Electric Attendant from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking

  • Louth to Louisiana: The Story of the Sharkey Family and their Kindred by Nicholas Russell Murray.
  • The Sharkey Family by Margaret Sharkey Welch.

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: Redit expectata diu
Motto Translation: The expected returns for a long time


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    Other References

    1. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
    2. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
    3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    4. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
    5. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
    6. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
    7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    8. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
    9. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    10. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
    11. ...

    The Sharkey Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Sharkey 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 25 May 2016 at 12:44.

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