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Uniacke History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

When the Stongbow settlers arrived in Ireland, they quickly learned that the Irish had a pre-established system of hereditary surnames. The name Uniacke is an occupational surname, which was primarily from the Anglo-Norman culture. There were a few Irish occupational names, however, previous to the arrival of the Strongbownians, so this Anglo-Norman tradition was not too incongruous within the island. Occupational surnames were derived from a word describing the actual job done by the initial name bearer. The Strongbownians frequently prefixed these names with the French word le, meaning the, but this custom quickly died out in Ireland. The surname Uniacke came from a common occupational name for a valued military officer. The surname Uniacke is derived from the expression Unicus Est. According to tradition, during the bitter 13th century feuds between the two powerful Anglo-Norman families of the Fitzgeralds and the Butlers, a Commander who sought help to secure a position pointed to a particularly valued captain and said Unicus Est, which means Hei is the only one to undertake this service. The name Garde was also used as a synonym.

Early Origins of the Uniacke family

The surname Uniacke was first found in County Cork (Irish: Corcaigh) the ancient Kingdom of Deis Muin (Desmond), located on the southwest coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from ancient times, soon after the Anglo Norman Conquest of Ireland by Strongbow in 1172 A.D. That this family name were Norman mercenaries seems reasonably clear. In the bitter 13th century feuds between the Fitzgeralds and the Butlers it is said that a commander, seeking help to secure a position, pointed to one of the captains and said, 'Unicus Est', meaning 'He is the only one to undertake this service'. Hence this expression not only became the family motto but it also became the basis and origin of the family name itself, Uniacke. Later some used Gard as a synonym.

Early History of the Uniacke family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Uniacke research.
Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 197 and 1976 are included under the topic Early Uniacke History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Uniacke Spelling Variations

During the lifetime of an individual person, his name was often spelt by church officials and medieval scribes the way it sounded. An examination of the many different origins of each name has revealed many spelling variations for the name: Uniacke, Uniake, Uniack, Uniak, Garde, Gard and others.

Early Notables of the Uniacke family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Uniacke family to the New World and Oceana

Irish immigration to North American began in the late 18th century as many Irish families desired to own their own land. This pattern of immigration grew slowly yet steadily until the 1840s. At that time, a failed crop and a growing population in Ireland resulted in the Great Potato Famine. Poverty, disease, and starvation ravaged the land. To ease their pain and suffering the Irish often looked upon North America as a solution: hundreds of thousands undertook the voyage. Their arrival meant the growth of industry and commerce for British North America and the United States. For the individual Irishman, it meant survival and hope, and the opportunity for work, freedom, and ownership of land. The early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Uniacke:

Uniacke Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Edward Uniacke, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1852

Contemporary Notables of the name Uniacke (post 1700)

  • Thomas Uniacke, American Lawyer
  • James Boyle Uniacke, British, led the first responsible government in Canada or any colony of the British Empire. He was the first Premier of Nova Scotia from 1848 to 1854 serving concurrently as the colony's Attorney-General

Uniacke Family Crest Products

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