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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish McCann family come from? What is the Irish McCann family crest and coat of arms? When did the McCann family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McCann family history?

Throughout history, very few Irish surnames have exclusively maintained their original forms. Before being translated into English, McCann appeared as Mac Cana, which is derived from the word cana, which means wolf cub.


Before widespread literacy came to Ireland, a name was often recorded under several different variations during the life of its bearer. Accordingly, numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name McCann family name. Variations found include MacCann, MacCanna, MacCan, MacAnn, MacAn and others.

First found in County Armagh (Irish: Ard Mhacha) located in the province of Ulster in present day Northern Ireland, at Clanbrasil, a region on the southern shore of Lough Neagh. The family supplanted the O'Graveys at the time of Strongbow's Anglo- Norman invasion in 1172 as lords of this area and became known as the Lords of Clanbrassil. One of the earliest records of the name was Amhlaibh Mc Canna (died 1155), described by the Four Masters as "pillar of chivalry and vigour of Cinel Eoghin" [1]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McCann research. Another 75 words(5 lines of text) covering the years 1155, 1718 and 1598 are included under the topic Early McCann History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 75 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McCann Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Thousands of Irish families left for North American shores in the 19th century. These people were searching for a life unencumbered with poverty, hunger, and racial discrimination. Many arrived to eventually find such conditions, but many others simply did not arrive: victims of the diseased, overcrowded ships in which they traveled to the New World. Those who lived to see North American shores were instrumental in the development of the growing nations of Canada and the United States. A thorough examination of passenger and immigration lists has disclosed evidence of many early immigrants of the name McCann:

McCann Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Bryan McCann, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745
  • Francis McCann, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745

McCann Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • George McCann, who landed in New York in 1801
  • Hannah McCann, aged 16, arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803
  • James McCann, aged 25, landed in New York, NY in 1803
  • Mary McCann, aged 14, arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803
  • Nelly McCann, aged 37, arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803

McCann Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • William McCann, who landed in Arkansas in 1903
  • Edward McCann, who landed in Wisconsin in 1912


  • Bob McCann (b. 1964), American basketball player
  • Chuck McCann (b. 1934), American actor
  • James McCann, American entrepreneur who founded 1-800-Flowers
  • Tim McCann (b. 1968), American film director
  • Tatum Danielle McCann (b. 1999), American Young Artist Award nominated child actress
  • Donal McCann (1943-1999), Irish actor
  • Grant McCann (b. 1980), Irish footballer
  • Christopher John "Chris" McCann (b. 1987), Irish footballer from Dublin
  • Maria McCann (b. 1956), English novelist
  • Gavin McCann (b. 1978), English former footballer



  • James McCan and Sarah S. Viser by Karen McCann Hett.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Crescit sub pondere virtus
Motto Translation: Virtue thrives under oppression.


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  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)

Other References

  1. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  2. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  3. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  5. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  6. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  9. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The McCann Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McCann Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 12 June 2014 at 09:23.

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