Sharkey last name popularity, history, and meaning

Find out how popular the last name Sharkey is in the United States and learn more about the meaning, history, and race and ethnic origin of people in America who are named Sharkey.

Meaning of Sharkey

An Irish surname derived from the Gaelic Ó Searcaigh, meaning "descendant of Searcach," a personal name meaning "loving."

Sharkey, like all of the last names we have data for, is identified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a surname which has more than 100 occurrences in the United States in the Decennial Census survey. The most recent statistics we have for the Sharkey surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Sharkey in America

Sharkey is the 4163rd most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Sharkey surname appeared 8,514 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 3 people would have the surname Sharkey.

We can also compare 2010 data for Sharkey to data from the previous census in 2000. The table below contains all of the statistics for both years in a side-by-side comparison.

2010 2000 Change (%)
Rank 4163 4020 3.50%
Count 8,514 8,106 4.91%
Proportion per 100k 2.89 3.00 -3.74%

The history of the last name Sharkey

The surname Sharkey has its origins in Ireland, where it is an anglicized version of the Gaelic name O'Searcaigh. This name is derived from the Irish word "searcach," meaning "lover" or "sweetheart." The name likely originated in County Donegal in the northwest of Ireland sometime during the Middle Ages.

One of the earliest recorded instances of the name Sharkey can be found in the Annals of the Four Masters, a chronicle of medieval Irish history. The annals mention a Turlough O'Searcaigh, who was a chieftain of the O'Searcaigh clan in the late 14th century.

The name Sharkey has been associated with several notable individuals throughout history. One of the most prominent was Patrick Sharkey (1770-1852), an Irish-born American politician who served as a United States Representative from Pennsylvania in the early 19th century.

Another notable figure with the surname Sharkey was Jack Sharkey (1902-1994), an American professional boxer who held the world heavyweight championship from 1932 to 1933. He was born Joseph Paul Zukauskas in Binghamton, New York.

In the literary world, Seamus Sharkey (1936-2009) was an Irish poet and author, best known for his collection "Love's Covenant Renewed." He was born in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

The surname Sharkey has also been associated with various place names, particularly in Ireland. For example, there is a townland called Sharkey's Town in County Donegal, which likely derived its name from the O'Searcaigh clan.

One of the earliest recorded spellings of the name was "O'Searcaigh," which can be found in the Irish annals and other historical records. Over time, the name evolved into various anglicized forms, such as Sharkey, Sharkye, and Sharkee.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Sharkey

We also have some data on the ancestry of people with the surname Sharkey.

The below race categories are the modified race categories used in the Census Bureau's population estimates program. All people were categorized into six mutually exclusive racial and Hispanic origin groups:

  1. White only
  2. Black only
  3. American Indian and Alaskan Native only
  4. Asian and Pacific Islander only
  5. Hispanic
  6. Two or More Races

For the most recent 2010 census data, the race/ethnic origin breakdown for Sharkey was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 87.32% 7,434
Non-Hispanic Black Only 7.48% 637
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.69% 59
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.81% 69
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 1.39% 118
Hispanic Origin 2.31% 197

Note: Any fields showing (S) means the data was suppressed for privacy so that the data does not in any way identify any specific individuals.

Since we have data from the previous census in 2000, we can also compare the values to see how the popularity of Sharkey has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 87.32% 89.43% -2.39%
Black 7.48% 6.62% 12.20%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.69% 0.41% 50.91%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.81% 0.89% -9.41%
Two or More Races 1.39% 1.26% 9.81%
Hispanic 2.31% 1.39% 49.73%

Data source

The last name data and ethnic breakdown of last names is sourced directly from the Decennial Census survey, conducted every 10 years by the United States Census Bureau.

The history and meaning of the name Sharkey was researched and written by our team of onomatology and genealogy experts.

If you have a correction or suggestion to improve the history of Sharkey, please contact us.

Reference this page

We spend a lot of resources downloading, cleaning, merging, and formatting the data that is shown on the site.

If you found the data or information on this page useful in your research, please use the tool below to properly cite or reference Name Census as the source. We appreciate your support!

"Sharkey last name popularity, history, and meaning". Accessed on July 14, 2024.

"Sharkey last name popularity, history, and meaning"., Accessed 14 July, 2024

Sharkey last name popularity, history, and meaning. Retrieved from

Search for a name

Search for a first or last name to learn more about its origin, meaning, and more.

Simple as that.