Where did the Irish Shea family come from? What is the Irish coat of arms/family crest? When did the Shea family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the history of the family name?
The recording of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. Since the general population did not know how to read or write, they could only specify how their names should be recorded orally. Research into the name Shea revealed spelling variations, including O'Shea, O'Shee, McShea, McShee and others.
First found in county Kerry where they held a family seat from ancient times.
A great mass of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century, seeking relief from various forms of social, religious, and economic discrimination. This Irish exodus was primarily to North America. If the migrants survived the long ocean journey, many unfortunately would find more discrimination in the colonies of British North America and the fledgling United States of America. These newly arrived Irish were, however, wanted as a cheap source of labor for the many large agricultural and industrial projects that were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the western world. Early immigration and passenger lists indicate many people bearing the Shea name: 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.
Suggested Readings for the name Shea
* Shay Families with Roots in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania by Thomas P. Shay.
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