Select Brady Surname Genealogy

The Irish name Brady is derived from the Gaelic name MacBradaigh, which means "spirited." 

Select Brady Resources on The Internet

Select Brady Ancestry

Ireland.  The original Irish name for Brady was MacBradaigh and they were a powerful sept located in East Breifne, their chief holding sway over a territory lying a few miles east of Cavan town in county Cavan. 

The first use of the name Bradaigh occurred in the Annals of the Four Masters in 1256 in reference to the death of Tighearan MacBradaigh in a battle against the neighboring O'Rourkes.  The earliest recorded namebearer was Gilbert MacBrady, the bishop of Ardagh from 1396 to 1400.  There followed other MacBrady bishops and poets.

Bradys are mostly to be found in Ireland in Cavan and nearby Monaghan today.   John Brady of Johnstown was a magistrate in Monaghan in the 1870's and was recorded as holding land in counties Monaghan, Cavan and Leitrim.  

There were Bradys who had once been O'Gradys in Clare, many of whom were from Limerick and descended from the Rev. Hugh Brady, the post-Reformation bishop of Meath. 

America.  Early Bradys came to Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania.  Hugh and Hannah Brady were probably the first Bradys in America, arriving in 1732 and settling in the Cumberland valley.  The old Brady homestead there has survived.  Many of their descendants fought in the Revolutionary War.  Hugh Brady was a Brigadier General in the War of 1812 and Captain Sam Brady was a well-known Indian scout.   The Brady Genealogy, begun by William Young Brady, has documented the large number of descendants of Hugh and Hannah Brady.

Michael and Rose Brady arrived from Cavan in the 1830's.  Their son Terence was a shipowner in Bristol, Pennsylvania but died at a young age.  Another Brady family in Pennsylvania headed west in the 1860's and settled in Kansas.  James Brady moved further west to Idaho in 1895 and became Governor of that state in 1909. 

Elsewhere.  Peter Brady, an Irish immigrant, was a prominent local politician in Washington, D.C in the early 1800's. His son Peter joined the Texas Rangers and fought in the Mexican War.  He later became one of the first settlers in Arizona.

Anthony Brady had come to upstate New York as a young boy in 1857 from northern France where his Irish parents had temporarily settled.  He became a highly successful investor in railroads and lighting companies and left a fortune on his death in 1913.   His sons James and Nicholas carried on his business empire.  Brady was the great grandfather of Nicholas F. Brady, a former Senator from New Jersey who became US Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan and Bush.

Philip Brady was born in Massachusetts in 1860, the son of Irish immigrants from Ulster who had escaped the potato famine.  He moved to California in the 1890's.  His descendant Tom Brady has been the star football quarterback for the New England Patriots, winning the Super Bowl no fewer than five times.  

Australia.  Matthew Brady was a celebrated bushranger in Tasmania in the early 1800's, sometimes known as "the gentleman bushranger."  After two years on the loose he was finally captured by a bounty hunter in 1826 and hanged at Hobart.

John Brady was a Catholic priest from Cavan who came out to Western Australia in 1843.  However, he was not able to withstand the stresses of founding a diocese in a new and unsympathetic environment. Eventually he withdrew to his native diocese of Kilmore in Ireland and spent his last years as a hermit in France. 

Another John Brady stayed.  He had been apprehended for robbery in Liverpool in 1854 and transported to Western Australia.  His descendants are still there.

Select Brady Miscellany

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

Select Brady Names

Andrew MacBrady
was the first bishop of Kilmure in Cavan to provide a cathedral church for the diocese.  That was in 1454. 
Rev. Philip MacBrady was a 17th century Gaelic satirical poet and Protestant clergyman in county Cavan.
Matthew Brady was the Irish-American photographer who documented the American Civil War.
Diamond Jim Brady, born in New York, became a hugely wealthy and flamboyant businessman and financier of the late 19th century.
Jim Brady was the American White House press secretary who survived the assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981.
Tom Brady has been the star football quarterback for the New England Patriots, winning the Super Bowl no fewer than five times.

Select Bradys Today
  • 22,000 in the UK (most numerous in Glasgow)
  • 29,000 in America (most numerous in New York) 
  • 24,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

Click here for reader feedback
Click here for return to front page