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Family spelling variants includes Wards, Warde

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WARD Family History

Mac an Bháird- anglicised Ward, earlier MacAward, MacWard, meaning 'son of the bard'.

This surname was found all over Ireland from early times, but mostly associated with counties Donegal and Galway. During later times the name was often found in Dublin.

The most well known sept were perhaps the Wards of Co Donegal, who were bards to the O Donnells. The second sept of the name were of Uí Mhaine, a tribal grouping extending across the modern counties of Galway, Mayo and Roscommon; these were bards to the O Kellys and their territory was around Ballinasloe in Co Galway. Finally, there was a sept in Orghialla or Oriel, which consisted of counties Armagh and Monaghan, extending into parts of Down, Louth and Fermanagh.

Caution with Co Down Wards is required, because the well known family there is of English origin, and is headed by Viscount Bangor. As MacLysaght has noted in his 'Irish Families' series (1982, 1985), 'the arms often ascribed to Irish Wards belong to the Bangors, and do not appertain to the Gaelic Wards'. The same faux pas concerning arms occurs also with Lynch, Kenny, Carey, and no doubt several others, where the anglicised forms of these Irish names is identical to names of Anglo-Norman or later landowning settlers from Britain.

The English surname comes from the Old English word for a guard- 'weard' (pron 'waard').

In Sir William Petty's 'Census' of Ireland in 1659 (incomplete), the Irish name Ward appears as a 'Principal Irish Name' in the following counties:

Co Donegal
There is a BallyMcAward townland in Tirhugh Barony, but no Wards listed in that barony. There are 11 families (all figures are for families) of McAward in Boylagh & Banagh Barony; 6 of McAward in Kilmacrenan Barony.

The returns for Cos Galway and Mayo are missing.

Co Roscommon
Ballintobber Barony, 7 of McWard; Boyle Barony, 6 McWard; Athlone Barony, 10 McWard; Athlone Borough, 4 Ward.

Co Armagh
Barony of Ardmagh, 4 McWard.

Co Monaghan
15 McAward.

Co Down
Lecale Barony (East Down) Bernard & Nicholas Ward Esqrs (esquires) are listed as 'tituladoes' or landowners of Castleward. This would appear to be the English family (v. supra).

By the time of Griffith's 'Primary Valuation' (1847-64) most Ward households are found in counties Donegal (309), Galway (252), Monaghan (188), Down (125) and Mayo (95). The total Ward households are 2222, the next highest variants are Warde at 37 and McWard at 25.

Matheson's 'Special Report on Surnames in Ireland' (1909), listing birth distribution in 1890, shows most Wards in counties Donegal, Dublin and Galway.

Two famous Wards:

Peter Joseph Ward (1891-1970) A Co Donegal Ward. He was a Sinn Féin deputy in Dáil Éireann in the revolutionary period of 1919 -1924. He was pro-Treaty during the Irish Civil War, and joined the pro-Treaty party of Cumann na nGaedheal in 1923, when he was re-elected TD.

William Thomas Ward (1808-1878) American Brigadier General in the Union Army in the American Civil War. Ward led the XX Corps in the Atlanta Campaign, and was commended for conspicuous service at the battle of Peachtree Creek. He also led the brigade in Sherman's 'March to the Sea'.

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Susan Hill

Looking for family of Richard Ward and his wife Mary Carraher or Camaher not quite sure of the spelling they had a son Francis Ward baptized 10-10-1850 in Ardee parish Peter Shield was the priest and sponsored by James Riley and Mary Donnelly. Richard Ward is my ggg grandfather and I am at a stopping point can’t find any info on either of there parents etc,any info would be great.

Chloe Bridget

Is anyone else here a Galway and Midlands Ward? I'm trying to research our history with the wee folk and can't find much except from my grandaddy.

ray ward

I'm looking for my families Irish Roots, I'm Raymond Ward born in Blackpool, England, My Father was Thomas Bryan Ward born in Manchester, My Grandfather was William Henry Ward ex Manchester, he had 2 Brothers, Tom and Jim and a sister Cissie. There roots were in Ireland but I can't find any information as my granddad was a bit of a rebel and outcast !!

richard ward

joseph ward born 1805 i am looking fo his married certifiate. he marrid around 1835 1840 .


my husband is a Anthony Ward from blackburn lancs he needs to find a brother are sister that was gaven away in 1975


Ward was my Married name. I am looking for my Surname Calligan.

Judy Sutherland

Hi, I am researching the Ward family from Loughborough area, Leicestershire, and would love to hear from anyone who has local knowledge, specifically. Some names in the tree I know are correct are Thomas Ward (1813- 1875) and his son, Thomas Biddles Ward (1838 - 1931) who emigrated to NZ. Judy (19-06-2020)


Is anyone able to share some information about the Wards from Stranorlar, County Donegal?

Donagh Ward

Con Ward lived in Stranorlar in the 1960S His wife taugt me in infants class in the catholic primary school in Stranorlar.One of the girls was roisin and another girl was Annne,Bernard was one of the boys,he might have worked with the National Cash Register Company when living here in Ireland. To the best of my knowledge both he and his brother either went to the States or to Britain.My name is Donagh Ward originally from Ballybofey county Donegal. Living here in dublin since 1966.I often go back to donegal on holiday.I do hope I have helped with your query.


Ward in Galway I am looking for my family on my fathers side, Galway area. Anyone related to a Martin Gerrard Ward? He has a big family and is son of Anne & John Ward. Please get in touch if a match. Thanks.


I would like to connect with members of the Ward diaspora, in particular, descendants of Samuel Joseph Ward and Norma Brownlee Ward.

Anthony Barrett

(Part 1 of 3) The Ward name can be found in the British Isles, but its origin according to DNA is from the north-west coast of the Emerald Island. The Ward story [dominated by DNA tribal marker R1b-L513, Subgroup A1] can trace their origins to the Finn Valley in Donegal, Ireland from 50 BCE. Perhaps the journey begins with the Clanna Dedad; Deda, son of Sen or Deda Mac Sin. The Ward surname origin is from a Northern Ui Neill [R1b-L513] tribe. The Cenél Eoghan and the tribes of Donegal conquered much of Ulster (Derry and Tyrone).

Anthony Barrett

(Part 2 of 3) Cenél Eoghan will expand across northern Ireland with their cousins Cenél Conaill and the Northern Ui Neill between 500-800 BCE. The clans of Finn Valley have the same DNA as people from Gwynedd in Brittany. But how could this be? Recent discoveries from DNA testing are unlocking the migration patterns of Celtic tribes as late as 800 CE to 1200 CE. The Ward story begins in pre-history Ireland then moves to Scotland as they form part of the Dalriada. Descendants of their tribe will then travel to Brittany, France during the Dark Ages.

Anthony Barrett

Part 3 of 3) Discover their newly found untold story and how forgotten texts bring their story back to life. From the ebook, “The Tribe Within” learn how DNA unfolds this amazing tale and if you look in the right places, how history narrates this evidence. There is another written account of their story, but it is camouflaged in smoke and myth – it will become the tales of King Arthur. Come follow in the footsteps of Deda Mac Sin and visit


John Hudson and Elizabeth Baker Hudson her mothers maiden name was Whitfield migrated from England to the United States While enroute to the United States, the daughter Elizabeth met and fell in love with a young penniless Irish seaman, Michael Ward,from Belfast Ireland who was working his passage to the United States.Sometime after she and Michael married they moved south from NY she and Michael purchased a small hotel in Savannah,Georgia. this story was related numerous times by Eugene Franklin Ward to his grandchildren

Jeffrey Ward

Hello. I am looking for Ward and Russell family information from the Eastern shore Chesapeake Maryland and Northern Virginia areas….families were of lower economic class…water people, fishermen, clammers, crabbers, oystercatchers, etc and domestic farm type workers….apparently rumor says many records destroyed in local gov building fires in the northern Virginia area over the years. Any information would be appreciated. Cheers!


I am searching for family members who might have knowledge of Michael Ward who boarded a ship in 1840s. Ship stopped in England where the Hudson family boarded. Michael met and married Elizabeth Hudson once they arrived in the USA. I first see them in NY in the 1850 census. He is listed as a flaxdresser. I was told Michaels father had the same occupation and his name was John Ward who was married to Kate Sullivan.


Ward! til the death of me


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