Quirk Surname Genealogy

The origin of the name Quirk or
originally O’Cuirc or MacCuirc is the Gaelic name corc, meaning “heart.” It is
traditionally thought of as being Manx, that is from the Isle of Man in
the Irish Sea, and of Scandinavian origin – the Isle
of Man being at one time a major Viking center.
Spellings are Quirk
and Quirke
. Quirk – originating from the Isle of Man
– tends to be the
spelling, Quirke the Irish. The surname bears
no relation to the English word “quirk” meaning “a peculiar aspect of a
person’s character or behavior.” This word
seems to have first surfaced in the English language in the 1500’s as a
referring to a person’s sudden twist or twitch. 
Select Quirk Resources on The Internet

Quirk Ancestry

Quirk is a Manx surname. It was recorded as
Quyrke in 1511, Queerke in 1601, and Quirk in 1641. Thomas Quork
married Mary Corkish in 1662. The early pronunciation
was Kirk.

It is thought that the first family on the Isle of Man by the name of
Quirk lived on a
farm called Ballquirk in Braddan. There was a Ballquirk pew in
the old
Kirk Braddan church and these Quirks held their land for centuries.

“The ancient Quirks were said to be of
a retiring disposition, cautious in friendship, dubious of strangers,
industrious and hard-working. They were religiously inclined and
of a studious nature. The remark has often been made: ‘Where
there’s a Quirk, here’s a book.'”

Branches of the family farmed Ballavar, Knockaloe and other farms in
the Patrick and Foxdale districts. James Quirk was a member of
the House of Keys in 1797 and was later appointed Attorney General.

By the time of the 1881 census Quirk was the tenth most common Manx
surname and had
spread across to England.
For instance, Thomas
Quirk was born at Kirk Rushen on the Isle of Man
in the early 1800’s. He married Mary Johnson in Warrington in
Lancashire in 1840 and they settled there. Randolph Quirk the
linguist was born at Lambfell on the Isle of Man but spent most of his
working life in London.

Ireland. Before the
Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, the Quirke clan ruled over a
considerable territory in the barony of Clanwilliam in the southwest of
county Tipperary, known as Maigh
Cuirc or Muscraighe, the plain of the Quirkes. Ceinnedigh
O’Cuirc, the lord of Muscraighe, was slain in
1043. Then there was a robber by the name of Murchad O’Curk who
was sheltered by the Archbishop
of Cashel in 1295.

Quirkes were in Tipperary at the time of the Cromwellian
invasion. There were records of Quirkes fighting in the Ormond
army in 1649 and also in the Irish army of the 1670’s. The
Dominican father Thomas O’Quirke was a priest who was chaplain to the
Confederation of Kilkenny at this time.

Father William Quirke was a later Quirke who was an archdeacon in

“Father Quirke was born in Rathsallagh in
the parish of Fethard
in 1808. Early in his youth his family moved to Ballyvadlea in
Cloneen. .He was ordained at Maynooth. He was in various places
during his ministry, ending up at Cashel. He was a lifelong
nationalist and took a part in
the land agitation movement. He died in 1887 and was interred at

The Quirke surname today is most common in Tipperary and the nearby
county of Limerick.

. Most Quirks in
America are of Irish origin. Irish Quirkes generally became
in America. Among the migrants in the 19th century were:

  • Thomas and Ann Quirk from Cashel in Tipperary who came to America
    in the early 1840’s and settled in Waukesha county in Wisconsin (his
    brother Edmund had earlier migrated with the Power group to Texas).
  • James and Emily Quirk,
    famine emigrants, who sailed from Dublin on the Charlotte for New York in 1846.
  • and Timothy and Bridget Quirk, also famine emigrants, who left
    their home in Limerick for Susquehanna, Pennsylvania in 1848.

James R. Quirk
was born in Boston in 1884, the son of Irish immigrant
parents. He made his career in magazine editing, most famously
with the Hollywood magazine Photoplay
during the golden age of Hollywood. His nephew Lawrence continued
the reporting on Hollywood and its movie stars in various books and

Michael and Honorah Quirk from Tipperary came out to Australia in 1841,
settling at Adjungbilly Creek out in the bush in NSW.
Their daughter Mary, left behind, joined them
with her grandmother fifteen years later.
She lived onto 1924

Quirk Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Quirk Names

James Quirk was the
editor and publisher of the Hollywood magazine Photoplay during the 1920’s and
Randolph Quirk, Manx
born, was a linguist, the instigator of A Comprehensive Grammar of the English
that was compiled in the 1960’s.
Pauline Quirke is an English
TV actress.

Select Quirks Today

  • 4,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in Massachusetts)
  • 7,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)



Click here for return to front page

Leave a Reply