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By Karen Souhrada

In the year of 1801, we seem to have the first Haggerty ancestors in our line, coming as emigrants to America from County Derry, Ireland.  It appears that historically in the north of Ireland, the surname often appeared in the form of O’Hegarty, but was also shown in the Irish records with other forms being Hagerty, Hagarty, Haggerty.  These same spelling patterns followed to America, and the two most predominately used in my Pennsylvania family genealogy are Hagerty and Haggerty.  From history books, we find that the fight for Irish Independence was in the beginning stage during the opening years of the 19th century.  Those Irishmen not for British control of the native land, and also because of the violence done in reaction to religious differences, caused many to decide to leave and seek a new way of life in the country known as America.  Economic issues as well as individual religious persuasions also undoubtedly factored into the desire to leave one place and settle in another.  It is possible that there were other related Hagerty relatives already present in Pennsylvania by 1801, as this surname can be found in searches of early colonial records, and we can suppose that these relations helped our direct ancestor to settle the wilds of early Pennsylvania.  We have noted on early census records and other historic documents, the Hagerty name in what is now Butler, Westmoreland, Fayette and Washington counties, of Pennsylvania.  It is quite possible that we are all related back to the original clan in Ireland.  From the recollections of descendant George Hagerty to Robert J. Hagerty, concerning our ancestral mother Mary HAGERTY [nee unknown], that she was the "first woman who came to this country, [and she] came looking for her husband."   This must mean that the husband preceded the family with his move to America.  We have no record from 1801 forward for this gentleman, so we suppose that he was never reunited with his wife and children.


Our first recorded lineal ancestors here were named Mary, and her sons, William & Samuel Haggerty (later also spelled Hagerty/Hagarty).  All were known to have emigrated together from Ireland in 1801.  Our direct ancestor Samuel settled with his family in Western Pennsylvania in the Fayette county area.  His mother Mary and his brother William took up residence there as well, and we suspect that there were several other siblings in the same area.  In the will of his mother Mary, written in 1836 [Note: Franklin Twp., Fayette county, and probated there at her death in 1845], are mentioned Sarah Hagerty Wastecoat, and grandsons Johnston Dunsmore and Jobs…hence more unknown Hagerty sisters.  [Note: In doing the family research in Fayette County, the above noted surnames have been seen, but not further researched at this time.  The early date of settlement in the county prohibited many formal records being kept at a central county place.  The best research for this early material would be done at the county courthouse for land records.] The Hagerty families were farmers and stone masons in Fayette County; probably much like the land and occupation they were familiar with in Ireland.  Cemetery records searches finally found mother Mary buried in Franklin Twp., Fayette County (the same county of her will, and where she lived with son Samuel until her death) at the Little Redstone Methodist Episcopal Church. 


Within the same cemetery, the index mentions graves for two Geho surnamed individuals.  This name will become important later in time, but this circumstantial “buried together” situation helps to show that the Hagerty & Geho families had known each other prior to the marriage that joined the two.


Could this be our HAGERTY clan crest?

To view our Hagerty surname index, click here > Hagerty surname index