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The following history of arms is given in the hopes it will prove to be interesting and informative.


In the garden of history are many flowers and that garden is Heraldry. When we see our coat-of-arms for the first time, it should arouse in us feelings of pleasure and satisfaction although we may be unable to explain exactly why.  It is of course a pictorial representation of the achievements of individuals and families handed down from father to son and zealously guarded and preserved through the ages. It enables us to study at first hand changing social and political attitudes at an important stage in the evolution of Western European civilization. It serves to remind us of a social and political order long gone and at the same time acts as a useful vehicle of cultural continuity. It forms a tangible basis for that innate pride of origin common to almost all.

Historically arms arose out of a necessity for a mark of personal identification in battle. From the dawn of history long before he could read or write man used symbols and emblems to convey his ideas. In the days of the Empire, the Romans carried the eagle atop their standards as a symbol of strength. The old Celtic clans used a system of colours to indicate social and political precedence; the ullamh or professor ranked

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highest with seven colours. Although there is on record a curious coat-of-arms attributed to Cass, King of North Munster in the third century, nevertheless the coat-of-arms as we know it arose out of the introduction of coat mail by Normans in the twelfth century . Since combatants were now covered from head to foot in grey steel, an instantly recognizable device became necessary in order to distinguish friend from foe. The primary and other bright colours were the obvious choice and these were so painted on the shields as to be readily recognized at a distance without margin of error. Hence the origin of the heraldic rule which states that arms must always appear on a shield shape.

It is scarcely necessary at this stage to point out that Heraldry in its origin and purpose was a visual art. The main tinctures or colours employed were gules or red, symbol of martial fortitude and magnanimity; azure or blue, symbol of loyalty and truth; sable or black, symbol of constancy and grief; and vert or green, symbol of hope. The chief metals used were gold, depicted as bright yellow, symbolizing generosity and elevation of mind, and silver depicted as white indicating peace and sincerity. The only fur used was ermine indicated by a triangle of dots about an arrowhead. The most simple coats-of-arms are usually the most ancient, often consisting of only a division of the shield into two colours or into a colour and a metal.

From its simple and practical origins, Heraldry gradually developed into a highly sophisticated art. As the number of coats-of-arms multiplied, an ever increasing number of objects, animals, birds and even mythical creatures began to be depicted on shields. Often these devices were emblematic of some glorious deed or praiseworthy act of the owner. The emblems were founded on fact or tradition appertaining to the bearer or his ancestors.

Perhaps the most renowned of all Irish heraldic emblems is the Red Hand of Ulster, the centuried badge of the O'Neills, which refers to the Dexter Dei or Right Hand of God found on the old Celtic crosses. Probably the most numerous is the lion, symbol of courage, used in a variety of ways on the shield for difference since

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so many desired to use it as an emblem. It occurs mainly on the arms of those clans whose territories touched the River Shannon. Generally emblems on Irish coats are representative of the flora and fauna of Ireland, with the trefoil or shamrock, trees, deer and fish very much in evidence. The triplication of objects so frequently found in Gaelic arms is due to the profound influence of Christianity on all aspects of Irish civilization and culture.

The basic components of any armorial achievement are the shield, the crest and the motto. Of these three the shield is the most important since it is on the shield that the arms are depicted. The crest which surmounts the arms is usually shown on a wreath of the two main colours of the shield. Consequently it is possible to identify the shield from the crest. The motto was originally a cri-de-guerre or slogan used by the soldiers in battle, and later adopted by the head of the clan. Anyone of course can adopt a motto but if at all possible the heraldic motto should be adhered to. Mottoes are very much a matter of personal taste. Some of the old ones are extremely interesting, others merely consist of classical tags. The motto is usually shown on a scroll beneath the shield, which however as we have seen may be displayed on its own.

Three other features of the coat-of-arms deserve mention, namely, the helmet, mantling and wreath. Though not necessarily part of the heraldic achievement the helmet serves to remind us of the turbulent days of Europe's middle ages out of which heraldry was born. The mantling was a rich cloth worn around the helmet to protect the metal from the heat of the sun. It usually reflects the two main colours of the shield. In battle it was kept in place by a twisted cord called a wreath. Shield, crest, motto, helmet, mantling, wreath - the whole should form a colourful and romantic achievement commanding admiration.

Finally heraldry conjures up pictures of armour, castles and deeds of honour. Its appeal lies in the fact that it provides a living link with the past and a particularly romantic part of the past at that. Although it originated in Western Europe, it has now spread to

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the New World where today it has become a living art. It is now put to more practical widespread use than ever before, and from a decorative point of view it has found its way into the homes of many thousands in the form of paintings, badges and wall plaques.

Provided by HERALDIC ARTISTS LTD, Dublin, Ireland


This writer's grandson, Richard F. O'Hair, visited Ireland during the summer of 1967. One of the specific places he visited in Dublin was the Genealogical Office in Dublin Castle. There he requested information of the O'Hair arms and received information concerning the arms of the Haire family. Such information was taken to Heraldic Artists Ltd., where a picture was made in accordance with such specifications. This picture is now on file in the office of this writer. The picture is similar, but not exactly alike in every detail, to the arms pictured in the "Michael O'Hair Family" book, compiled and edited by Mrs. C. Gerald Brann, Bloomington, Indiana, May, 1957. However, the O'Hair family is authorized to use and display two other and different arms illustrated in both Murtaugh's book and MacLysaght's book, thru family relationship.

Murtaugh informs us that almost every Irish name has a coat of arms and that Irish coats of arms are older than those of the Scotch and English. Unlike the British arms, the authentic Irish arms of virtually every Irish name occuring in one's family can now be displayed properly on bookplates, linen, walls, anywhere and everywhere. This book illustrates authentic arms of over 2, 000 Irish names. In this book are listed the names of the following families who have authentic arms which members of the O'Hair family are privileged to display: O'Hehir, O'Hare and Reynolds. The coat of arms belonging to a related family can be displayed. The plate number for O'Hare, O'Hehir and Reynolds is the same, "Plate 12, number 331 . " 1  The arms on Plate 12 are described as follows: Vert a lion rampant between three escallops or. Crest: On a mount a stag couchant proper. This coat of arms is not similar in any respect to the coat of arms in the "Michael O'Hair Family" book.

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MacLysaght has written many books on Irish history, including several on Irish genealogy. The cover story on the first of his books on genealogy, published in 1957, describes the author as having been a Keeper of Manuscripts in the National Library of Ireland, and Chief Herald in Dublin Castle. The author collected material for his first book on genealogy for twelve years. It is claimed that his works are the most authoritative and accurate ever produced on the subject. MacLysaght describes the office he held thusly: "Ulster King of Arms (as the head of the Irish Office of Arms in Dublin was called) who derived his authority from the King of Great Britain and Ireland, continued to exercise his functions in Ireland until March 31, 1943, when his office was transferred to the Government of Ireland and has since been known as the Genealogical Office, its head being entitled Chief Herald of Ireland. This transfer took place more than twenty years after the establishment of the Irish Free State. . . All the arms in this book have been taken from the archives of the Irish Office of Arms (Genealogical Office) and the depiction has been done by the heraldic artist employed by that authority. They may, therefore, be regarded as authentic and accurate. The genealogical data to be found in the body of the work has been derived from a variety of sources. Here again the records of the Genealogical Office, which date back to its establishment in 1552, are the main primary source."2

MacLysaght illustrates on Plate XII, another coat of arms which the O'Hare or O'Hair family is authorized and privileged to display because of family relationship. This belongs to the MacGarry, Garrihy (O'Hehir, Hare) family. The shield is blazoned, Argent a lion rampant between four trefoils slipt vert, in chief a lizard passant. Vert. Crest: A fox's head coupled gules holding in the mouth a snake proper. The same arms are illustrated in Murtaugh's book on Plate 17, number 292, indexed under the name of MacGarry. This coat of arms is entirely different from the one in the "Michael O'Hair Family" book.

On February 3, 1969 an order was sent to Heraldic Artists for two plaques; one of the O'Hare (O'Hair) family, and the other of the O'Hehir family of County Clare. The plaque of the O'Hare (O'Hair) family arrived in April, 1969. It is the same as the description my grandson obtained from the Genealogical Office and had made into a picture at

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Heraldic Artists in 1967. This plaque is blazoned: Arms - Gules two bars, or on a chief indented argent a thistle proper, Crest - A lion rampant argent supporting the Roman fasces proper, Motto - In te Domine Speravi (In Thee, O Lord, I have placed my hope). This plaque differs from the arms pictured in the family book because the plaque has a thistle proper on the shield and the lion on the crest supports the Roman fasces proper (battle axe), neither of which appear on the arms pictured in the family book.

The other plaque, of the O'Hehir family of County Clare, was received in June, 1969. It is blazoned as follows: Arms - Argent a stag passant proper, Crest - A hand coupled at the wrist proper holding a sword bendways sinister sable, Motto - Dia Dom Corp (God Protect Me).

A letter of inquiry to Heraldic Artists as to whether the arms were official and recorded received the following reply:


INSIGNIA CRAFTSMEN                                                     21 Wicklow Street

                                                                                       Dublin 2, Ireland 

1st August 1969


Mr. K. R. O'Hair

P. O. Box 375

Paris, Illinois


Dear Sir,


The arms recently forwarded you are recorded in Harlean MMS. 4039 in the British Museum under Hehir - a form peculiar to County Clare. The O'Hair arms as furnished are recorded in Burke's General Armoury .


                                                 Yours faithfully,


                                                 (signed) A. McMichall

                                                      for Heraldic Artists



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From the British Museum this writer obtained a photo copy of the Harlean MMS. 4039 arms from which the plaque of the O'Hehir arms of the family of County Clare was made.

The O'Hair arms mentioned in the foregoing letter are the arms registered under the name of James Haire in Burke's "General Armoury" and do not relate to the O'Hair family. There are no arms recorded in Burke's under the name of O'Hair or O'Hare; however, the O'Hair arms are the arms of the Clanna Rory, recorded in Burke's under the name of Reynolds, who were members of the same clan.

From Burke's "General Armory," under the heading of "Right to Bear Arms," we learn that during the reign of Henry VIII, a proclamation was issued forbidding the use of heraldic ensigns to those who could not show an original and valid right to the arms. Deputies were to enforce such laws in each province. Due to the unsettled conditions in Ireland during the 16th and 17th centuries, according to remaining records, the deputies checked in Ireland only three times, in 1606, 1607 and 1618. "To provide for this want of Visitation, Ulster King of Arms has authority to give a Confirmation (with some slight heraldic difference to indicate the fact of its being a Confirmation), to a claimant who can prove to his satisfaction that he, the claimant, and his family have used for a certain number of generations the said arms and crest."

Burke's "General Armory" disclosed the following under the name of: "Haire (Armagh Manor, co. Fermanagh; confirmed to James Haire, esq., son and heir of Robert Haire, esq., Q.C., and grandson of James Haire, of Armagh, and their descendants). Bu. two bars or, on a chief indented argent a thistle proper. Crest - a lion ramp. ar. Supporting the Roman fasces ppr. Motto - In te Domine speravi." 3

Since this coat of arms was confirmed to James Haire of Armagh and his descendants, it cannot be used by any other persons except the descendants of James Haire; therefore, it cannot legally be used by any branch of the O'Hair family. The present coat of arms displayed in the "Michael O'Hair Family" book is essentially the same as the coat of arms confirmed to James Haire, with one important difference: the James Haire coat of arms displays a thistle on the shield and a lion on the crest which are not displayed on the O'Hair coat of arms.

The O'Hair coat of arms used in the "Michael O'Hair

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Family" book is not recorded either in England or Ireland. This is confirmed by a letter dated January 12, 1970 addressed to this writer from Rodney Dennys, Somerset Herald of Arms at the College of Arms in London, England. The full letter is reprinted on page 75. In this letter Mr.  Dennys stated in part: "It is possible that, before the 1854 Confirmation, the family of Haire (and perhaps other families of that name) used the Arms of which you sent me a coloured copy; but it might not be possible to confirm this. At the time of the 1854 registration, the Arms which the family was using without authority were slightly altered, but we do not know exactly what amendments were made." The coloured copy of the arms Mr. Dennys referred to was a copy of the arms displayed in the "Michael O'Hair Family" book. The slight alteration Mr. Dennys referred to appears to have been the addition of the image of the thistle to the shield.

Considering the foregoing and all other available information, it is reasonable to assume that James Haire used the O'Hare arms, with slight alterations, which the family had used prior to the date of such registration; and that the original O'Hare arms were not registered because the O'Hare family was Catholic and had not dropped the prefix "O" or anglicised their name as provided by English law; and feared English persecution because of their opposition to England's domination of Ireland.

In reply to an inquiry to Heraldic Artists of Dublin, relative to the arms of the O'Hehir family of County Clare, the following letter dated September 4, 1969 was received:

Dear Sir,

The Hehir arms are an example of old Irish fundamental Clan arms and exactly when they first came into being we do not know. Harlean MMS. 4039 contains a record of arms used by some 316 Irish Clans at the Battle of the Boyne 1690.


A letter of inquiry dated October 14, 1969 was sent to the Chief Herald of Arms of the Genealogical Office of Dublin, Ireland, posing the following questions:

  1. When was the coat of arms recorded in Dublin Castle (copy enclosed), which Heraldic

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Artists of Dublin prepared for me in April, 1969, and which is purported to be the arms of the O'Hare or O'Hair family?

  1. By whom, or for whom, was such recording made?

  2. I would like to be further informed whether the O'Hehir family has a coat of arms recorded in Ireland, or London, and the date of such recording.

This following letter was received in reply to the above questions:


Oifig Gheinealais,                 Genealogical Office
An Caislean,                        (Office of Arms)
Baile Atha Cliath.                  Dublin  Castle

                                            16 October, 1969

Mr. K. R. O'Hair,

146 E. Wood Street,

Paris,  Illinois,

U. S.A. 61944,


Dear Sir,

We have been considering the points raised in your letter of 14th October and we are pleased to inform you that according to a card index of heraldry here the arms to which you refer were apparently registered in this office in 1854. The entry in the card index reads as follows:-

Confirmation of Arms to the descendants of James Haire of Armagh Manor, and to his grandson James Haire of Armagh Manor in County Fermanagh, 9th November, 1854 (G.O. MS 108, pp. 39 - 40).

We may say that many old Irish coats of arms were never registered as such, i.e. we have no record of who was the original grantee. Indeed a number of older arms were in existence long before the foundation of the Office of Arms in 1552. In any case it would not be politic for Hugh O'Neill or Hugh O'Donnell - to take an example - to come to

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register their arms at Dublin Castle, the seat of English administration at that time.

There are scattered throughout our manuscripts simple records, often in trick form, of a great number of long-established basic arms associated with various Irish families. In the case of the O'Hehir family, traditionally located in Co. Clare, simple records (as opposed to registration) of the coat of arms ascribed to them will be found in Manuscript No. 528, Royal Irish Academy, and in Harleian MS No. 4039 at the British Museum.

Finally, it will be appreciated that armorial bearings do not appertain to a name but to a family, in other words slight variations due to the anglicization of Gaelic names would not materially affect the fundamental arms properly attaching to an old Irish family.

                                   Yours faithfully,


                                   Donal F. Beglen
                                         for Chief Herald.


Oifig Gheinealasis,                           Genealogical Office
     An Caislean,                                    (Office of Arms)
     Baile AthaCliath.                               Dublin   Castle
                                                              27 November 1968

Mr. Karl R. O'Hair,
     P. O. Box 375, Paris,
     Illinois, U.S.A. 61944

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter of August 29th.

A check of sources readily available in this Office does not reveal any amorial bearings appertaining to the family of O'Hare, O'Hehir, or O'Hair.

                                   Yours very truly,

                                   Donal F. Beglen


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Heraldry is somewhat different in England than in Ireland. For that reason, the following is condensed from the book, "Heraldic Design," by Heather Child.

In Great Britain heraldry is administered by official authority stemming from the Crown. When arms became hereditary the bearing of them signified continuity and a worthy pedigree. So the coat of arms has come to be a mark of historical identity and family continuity. Heraldry, or more accurately armory, became established during the second half of the 12th century. By the mid-14th century the principle that no man might use arms already adopted by another had been assumed in an English court of law and it was not long before the Crown forbade the bearing of arms without authority. The position today is that in addition to the grants of arms by Royal Warrant, arms and armorial insignia are granted only by the Kings of Arms in England, by Lyon King of Arms in Scotland and Ulster King of Arms in Northern Ireland. The Kings of Arms have the power to grant by letters patent, a power conferred on them individually by the Crown.

The College of Arms has thirteen members; all are officers of the Royal Household and appointed by the Crown on the nomination of the Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal of England.

Apart from their duties on State occasions the members of the College investigate claims to bear arms, arrange for granting of armorial bearings, draw up family trees and trace pedigrees. The practice of heraldry and genealogy has been closely linked since Tudor times (1485-1603).

The unrivalled heraldic collections in the record rooms and libraries of the College of Arms in Queen Victoria Street are not available for direct consultation by the public, their use requiring expert knowledge. Enquiries by members of the public, either in person or by letter, are dealt with by the officer of arms 'in waiting,' that is to say on duty for the week. Officers receive only a nominal salary and fees are charged to clients for their services.

The sole right to arms is established by Letters Patent of Grants from the Kings of Arms, or by Warrant

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from the Crown, or by inheritance by lineal descent from an ancestor to whom a Grant was made, or whose right to arms has been officially recognized and registered in a way conversant with the laws of Arms as practiced in this (England) country. As regards eligibility, it has been said and broadly speaking holds good that 'any worthy man of good repute and adequate substance may apply for and most probably will receive a grant of arms for himself and his family. '

All 'Grant' or 'Confirmation of Arms' are formally and regularly recorded, with a full blazon of the insignia, at the College of Arms. To paint or draw a coat of arms is to emblazon it, to describe a coat of arms in words is to blazon it. 4



In order to determine if arms were recorded in England under the name of O'Hair, O'Hehir, or O'Hare, the following correspondence was instigated:

                                                       September 11, 1969
College of Arms
Queen Victoria Street
London, England


I would like to obtain information concerning arms of the families of O'Hehir, O'Hare and O'Hair - whether there has been a grant or confirmation of arms for any of the above named families which has been officially recognized and registered in a way consistent with the laws of arms as practiced in Great Britain. If such arms are registered, I would like information concerning by whom registered and the date of registration.

If you will give me an estimate of the cost of the work requested, I will submit a formal order and funds to cover such cost.

Respectfully yours,

Karl R. O'Hair


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From R. O. DENNYS, O.B.E., F.S.A.

                                                    COLLEGE OF ARMS
                                                    QUEEN VICTORIA STREET
                                                    LONDON, E.C.4
                                                   15th  September  1969

Mr. K. R. O'Hair,

146 E. Wood Street,

Box 375, Paris,

Illinois, 61944, U.S.A.

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter of 11th September. To enable me to answer your query, a general search must be made in the Official Registers of the College of Arms to see what Arms and pedigrees (if any) may be on record for families of this name. These Registers are unique and very extensive, covering more than four centuries of Genealogical and Heraldic manuscripts.

To establish a right to Arms, it is necessary to prove a direct male line descent from an ancestor who himself is officially recorded as entitled to Arms. Possession of the same surname is not, in itself, any proof at all of this right; many families of the same name bear different arms, while others of that name may have no right to Arms at all. From this, you will see that there may be several families of O'Hair, and its variant spellings, recorded as having Arms; and I should require full information on your own family to enable me to say if one of them might be linked to your own ancestor or not. Can you give me the full name, and exact date and place of birth, of the first emigrant member of your family to settle in America? His trade or profession and religious denomination should also be given, with the names of his wife and children, and anything known about his parents. You will appreciate that the more details you can give, the easier it would be to assist you.

On completion of this search, a report would be sent to you on the results. We may be lucky and find

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your own family, or at least one of the same name in the right area; in which case, further work might establish a link between the two. On the other hand, until work has been started we shall not know what may or may not be recorded here; the results of this work can sometimes be disappointing, and we may be unable to find anything at all relevant. However, once I have seen what is in fact in our Registers, I shall be in a better position to advise you further.

The fee for this general search and preliminary examination of the problem would be $50; and I should add that, as all fees here are payable in advance, no further expense would be incurred without your knowledge. If you will address me personally here, by my heraldic title please to avoid delay, I will be glad to give you any assistance I can.

                                       Yours faithfully,


                                       R. O. Dennys,

                                       Somerset Herald of Arms



                                   October 24, 1969


R. O. Dennys, O.B.E., F.S.A.

Somerset Herald of Arms

College of Arms

Queen Victoria Street



Dear Sir:

In reply to your letter dated 15th September 1969 (copy enclosed) I am pleased to give you the following instructions:

I would like to make a general search of the Official Registers of the College of Arms to see what arms and pedigrees (if any) may be on record of the O'Hair, O'Hehir, Heir or O'Hare name. I am especially interested in finding out if the full color pictured coat of arms enclosed, which is reported to belong to the

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O'Hair family, is registered. If it is registered, I would like to know the date and by whom such registry was effected. I am of the opinion that this coat of arms in question was first designed about 1910 or 1912 by some artist either in England or Ireland, by the order of a member of the O'Hair family living in the United States. I would like to know if it was ever authorized and recorded. One member of the O'Hair family informed me that this coat of arms is pictured in some book of registered arms published in England, but I do not now have the name of the book. Please return this colored picture of the O'Hair arms to me after it has served your purpose. . .

The Genealogical Office, Dublin Castle, Ireland, gave me a description of the Haire coat of arms registered there. From the description given by the Genealogical Office, I requested Heraldic Artists Ltd. of Dublin, to make a scroll of the arms. I have also enclosed a thermofax copy of the description and the scroll, as well as a copy of a letter from the Genealogical Office answering my inquiry regarding registration of such arms. This coat of arms is very similar to the arms I am questioning in paragraph two. . .



                                   Karl R. O'Hair

                                   146 E. Wood St.

                                   Box 375

                                   Paris, Ill. U.S.A.




Encl:    1. R. O. Dennys' letter of 15 Sept. 1969

            2. Color copy O'Hair arms in family book

            3. Description of Haire arms

            4. Copy of Haire arms

            5. Genealogical Office letter of 20 Oct. 1969

            6. Bank draft - $50.


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From R. O. DENNYS, O.B.E. ,F.S.A.


                                   COLLEGE OF ARMS

                                   QUEEN VICTORIA STREET

                                   LONDON, E.C.4

                                   12th January 1970

Mr. K. R. O'Hair,

146 E. Wood Street,

Box 375, Paris,

Illinois 61944,


Dear Sir,

Further to my letter of 3rd November, the general search of our Official Registers has now been completed, but I am sorry to have to report that the results are most disappointing.

The search covered the following records: Tudor and Stuart Funeral Certificates. All our records of Grants of Arms, from the early 16th century to the present day. Pedigrees of peers, baronets, knights, commoners. The Heralds' Visitations of the counties of England (from 1530 to about 1687). Records of changes of names and Arms. These manuscripts comprise the collection known as our Official Registers, and the indices to all series of the Registers were examined. In addition, a search was made in the Irish records, which I will discuss further on.

In the English records outlined above, I found no record of any family of O'Hair, O'Hehir, or Haire. There are a number of references to families of Hare - some forty-five or fifty, all apparently English in origin. A further analysis can if you wish be made of these, but I doubt if they are relevant to your own family as they concern families in this country.

A search in the Irish Registers (which are copies of those in the Ulster Office at Dublin, to which you applied) was also made. This showed no reference to any family of O'Hair or O'Hehir (although there were

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several references for O'Hara}, and no reference to any family of Hair. There was a reference to Hare, Earl of Listowel, and to Hare, Baron Enniemore.

Only one reference was found to a family of Haire, in 1854. A Confirmation of Arms, as described to you by the Ulster Office, was made in that year to James Haire of Armagh Manor, co. Fermanagh. He was the son of Robert Haire of Dublin and of Armagh Manor, and grandson of James Haire; the Arms were to be used by all the descendants of James Haire the grandfather. The Arms were: Gules two Bars on a Chief indented argent a Thistle proper. Crest: a Lion rampant argent supporting the Roman Fasces proper. Motto: In Te Domine Speravit.

You could not yourself be entitled to Arms or Crest, because you state that your ancestors had lived in America from 1762 onwards, and no O'Haire Arms in any spelling are recorded until 1854. Only the descendants of James Haire are entitled to Arms, and it would not appear that any other family can be so entitled. It is possible that, before the 1854 Confirmation, the family of Haire {and perhaps other families of the name} used the Arms of which you sent me a coloured copy {your enclosure 2 with your letter of 24th October}; but it might not be possible to confirm this. At the time of the 1854 registration, the Arms which the family was using without authority were slightly altered, but we do not know exactly what amendments were made.

If you would be interested in the possibility of further more extensive research for purely genealogical interest, I shall of course be glad to advise you. It might however be a lengthy and complex process which would not, in the end, have enabled us to find out very much about your ancestors in Ireland; you stated that extensive searches have been made for your ancestor Michael's parents, but without success.

Alternatively, if you wish to place your pedigree on record in our Registers, I shall be happy to assist you. I imagine that you have documentary proof of your descent from Michael O'Hair in the form of birth and marriage certificates, Wills and so on, and these would of course have to be carefully examined when

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the pedigree was presented for registration. The fees for registration (which do not include any research needed) are $13 per generation not counting collateral branches of the family.

I am returning herewith enclosures 2, 3 and 4 sent with your letter of 24th October.

                                   Yours faithfully,

                                   Rodney Dennys

                                   Somerset Herald of Arms


According to O'Harts "Irish Pedigrees," the O'Hares were progeny of Ir. They were descendants of Ior who was the 118th descendant of Ir. "The race of Ir, called Clanna Rudraidh, from Rudhraidh, one of their ancestors, who was king of Ulster in early times, were chiefly settled in Ulster, of which province they were kings for many centuries, and several of them also monarchs of Ireland. The Irians or Clanna Rory, are mentioned by O'Connor and various writers, under the name of Rudricians, and they continued kings of Ulster to the fourth and fifth centuries." 5

Additional information follows on the name of Rory: "At the time of Christ, as said, there reigned over Ulster - residing at Emain Macha (Emania) - a king noted in ancient song and story, Conor MacNessa. He was a great grandson of Rory Mor, a powerful Ulster ruler who had become monarch of Ireland, and who was the founder of the Rudrician line of Ulster Kings. . . Of the line of Ir, son of Milesius, to whom Ulster had been apportioned, that branch called the Clanna Rory (after its great founder, Rory, who had been King of Ulster, and also High-King of Ireland) now had ruled the province for nearly 700 years, namely for more than 300 years before the Christian Era, and more than 300 years after." 6

The Reynolds family were of the Clanna Rory. "In the sixteenth century the Mac Ranal family was located in the county of Leitrim. 'MagRaghnaill or Mac Rannall, a name anglicised to Reynolds, who were chiefs of Muinter Eoluis. This territory was sometimes called Conmaicne of Moyrein, and comprised almost the whole of the present baronies of

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Leitrim, Mohill and Carrygallen, in the county of Leitrim, with a portion of the north of Longford. The Mac Rannalls were powerful chiefs, and are often mentioned in the course of these Annals. They were of the race of Ir, or Clanna Rory." 7 According to O'Hart's "Irish Pedigrees, "the Reynolds family were related to the O'Hare family. "O'h-Ir - This surname is derived from Slioght Ir, a branch of the Reynolds Family. The name O'h-Ir has been modernized O'Hir, O'Hager, O'Hare, Hare." 8 On tracing the line of Ir, we find that "Eimhin is #101 on the line of Ir and had three brothers one of them being Biobhsach, who was the ancestor of MacRadhnaill (anglicised Mac Rannall, Mac Randall, Macrannell, Reynell, Reynolds." 9

In the study of heraldry, we find that "The most frequent emblem employed in Irish heraldry is the lion usually depicted in a rampant or commanding attitude, the idea being no doubt to personify the chief of the clan. In the context of old Irish literature the Gaelic word 'leomhan' (Lion) is synonymous with a warrior of godlike demeanour and attributes, and descriptions running to several pages of such warriors will be found in the Fenian cycle sagas. The standard of the Craobh Rua or Red Branch knights of Ulster, bore a yellow lion on a green background - substantially the arms later borne by many of the Clanna Rory septs." 10 In ancient times the O'Hare septs belonged to the Clanna Rory, and therefore are privileged to use and display the arms of this clan.

Paul Murtaugh, in his book, "Your Irish Coats-of-Arms" published in 1960, displays the coat of arms applicable to the O'Hare family on plate 12, number 331, which is described in Edward MacLysaght's book, "Irish Families, Their Names, Arms and Origins," as follows:

                        Vert a lion rampant between three escallops.

                        Crest: on a mount a stag couchant proper.

                         Motto: Favente Deo (By God's Favour).

The motto adopted by the O'Hair family in the United States is, "Von Videri Sed Esse" (Not to Pretend, But to Be). The description given in Burke's "General Armory" on page 850, under the name of Reynolds, is identical with the foregoing as described by Edward MacLysaght.

A drawing of the coat of arms of the O'Hehir family of County Clare, Southern Ireland, is on file at the British Museum in London. Harlean MMS 4039 contains a record of

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arms used by some 316 Irish clans at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The British Museum of London, wrote that MS. 4039 was compiled about 1700.

The coat of arms applicable to the O'Hair (O'Hare) family which is described in full on the preceding page is displayed in full color in the front of this book.