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

Origins Available: Irish-Alt, Irish

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

In its ancient Gaelic form, the Irish name McMahon was written Mac Mathghamhna, which later became Mac Mathuna. Both names are derived from the word "mathghamhan," which means "bear."

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Many variations of the name McMahon were found in archives from the Middle Ages. Names during the Middle Ages were typically recorded as they sounded and in many cases, one's surname spelling changed with each record.The spelling and language in which the people's names were recorded was often up to the individual scribe. Variations of the name McMahon found include MacMahon, MacMann, MacMahan, MacMohan and others.

First found in County Clare (Irish: An Clįr) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where the MacMahons were lords of Corca Baisgin; and possessed the greater part of the baronies of Moyarta and Clonderlaw.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McMahon research. Another 219 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1119, 1715, 1780, 1519, 1600, 1650, 1680, 1747 and 1737 are included under the topic Early McMahon History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 95 words(7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McMahon Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Irish families fled the English-colonized Ireland in record numbers during the 19th century for North America. Many of those destitute families died from disease during, and even shortly after, the long journey. Although those that immigrated before the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s often were granted a tract of land, those that arrived later were generally accommodated in urban centers or in work camps. Those in the urban centers would labor in the manufacturing sector, whereas those in work camps would to build critical infrastructures such as bridges, canals, roads, and railways. Regardless of when these Irish immigrants came to North America, they were critical for the rapid development of the young nations of the United States and Canada. Early immigration and passenger lists have recorded many early immigrants bearing the name of McMahon:

McMahon Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Morgan McMahon, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746

McMahon Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Alex McMahon, who landed in America in 1805
  • Grizzy McMahon, who landed in America in 1805
  • Martin McMahon, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817
  • Philip McMahon, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1821
  • Thomas McMahon, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1822


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  • Jennifer McMahon (b. 1968), American novelist
  • Edward Leo Peter "Ed" McMahon (1923-2009), American entertainer, best known for his work on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
  • Brigadier-General John Eugene Jr. McMahon (1890-1971), American Commanding Officer Artillery, 77th Division (1942-1943)
  • Brigadier-General Leo Thomas McMahon (1893-1987), American Commanding General Artillery XXIII Corps (1945)
  • Major-General William Claude McMahon (1895-1990), American Deputy Chief of Staff, 6th Army (1947-1949)
  • Mr. Martin McMahon (d. 1912), aged 20, Irish Third Class passenger from Craghbrien, Clare who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Ivor McMahon (1924-1972), English violinist
  • Don McMahon (1930-1987), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Prime Minister Sir William McMahon (1908-1988), Australian politician, 20th Prime Minister of Australia (1971-1972)
  • Vincent Kennedy McMahon (b. 1945), Chairman of the Board, and majority shareholder of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc

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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: Sic nos sic sacra tuemur
Motto Translation: Thus we guard our sacred rights.

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  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  3. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  4. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  7. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  11. ...

The McMahon Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McMahon 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 10 September 2014 at 07:33.

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