Origin of the Name Shea
family history was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives.
Over the centuries Surnames developed a wide number of variants. Different spellings of the same name can be traced back to an original root. Additionally when a bearer of a name emigrated it was not uncommon that their original name would be incorrectly transcribed in the record books at their new location. Surnames were also often altered over the years based on how they sounded phonetically and depending on the prevailing political conditions it may have been advantageous to change a name from one language to another.
Variants of the name Shea
include O'Se, Shee and Shay. These names are derived form the Gaelic O'Seaghdha sept name which translates as 'hawk-like'. The O'Sheas were a Kerry sept and were Lords of Inveragh. Their power declined after the twelfth century. Some of the sept migrated to County Tipperary and later to the adjoining County of Kilkenny. A renowned bearer of the name was Robert Shee who was sovereign of the city of Kilkenny in 1499. The well known family, now represented by the Poer O'Shees of Gardenmorris and Sheestown, County Kilkenny, came into prominence there about that time. It is in County Kerry that the great majority of O'Sheas are to be found in modern times. Sir William Shee, 1804-1868, was M.P. for Kilkenny and was also the first Catholic Judge in Ireland since the revolution of 1690.
The Shea coat of arms came into existence centuries ago. The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this. The new art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own coat of arms, including all Shea descendants.