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

Origins Available: Irish-Alt, Irish

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

Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Cavanagh is Caomhanach, an adjective denoting association with St. Caomhan. The first Kavanagh, Donal, the son of Dermot MacMurrough, was fostered by a successor of this saint.


Irish names were rarely spelled consistently in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations of the name Cavanagh dating from that time include Cavanagh, Kavanagh, Kavanah, Cavanaugh, Keevan, Cavanaw, Kavanaw, Cavenaugh, Cavanough, Cavaneagh, Cavana, Cavena, Cavinaugh, Kavina, Kavena, Kavanaugh, Cavanach, Kavanach, Cabenagh, O'Cavanagh, O'Kavanagh, Keaveney, Geaveney, M'Cavanna and many more.

First found in County Carlow (Irish: Cheatharlach) a small landlocked area located in the province of Leinster in the South East of Ireland, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cavanagh research. Another 281 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1889, 1667 and 1739 are included under the topic Early Cavanagh History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 87 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cavanagh 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 Cavanagh:

Cavanagh Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Mary Cavanagh, who arrived in Virginia in 1769-1770
  • Hester Cavanagh, aged 18, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1777

Cavanagh Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Jos Cavanagh, aged 34, landed in Wiskasset in 1803
  • Peter Cavanagh, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838
  • James Cavanagh, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844
  • Daniel Cavanagh, aged 26, arrived in Missouri in 1845
  • James Cavanagh who arrived in New York State in 1848


  • Jerome Patrick Cavanagh (1928-1979), American mayor of Detroit, Michigan from 1962 to 1970
  • Megan Cavanagh (b. 1960), American actress and voice talent, best known for portraying the voice of Judy Neutron in Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
  • John Cavanagh, American Director of the Institute for Policy Studies, Washington, D.C. since 1998
  • John Cavanagh (1864-1957), American gentleman's hatter based in New York
  • Seán Cavanagh, Irish four-time All Star-winning Tyrone Gaelic footballer
  • John Cavanagh, Irish-born, London-based couturier of the 1950s and 1960s
  • Steven Cavanagh, Australian short fiction writer
  • John Bryan Cavanagh, Chairman of John Cavanagh Ltd
  • Paul Cavanagh (1888-1964), English film actor who appeared in over 100 films between 1928 and 1959
  • Peter Joseph Cavanagh (b. 1981), English footballer from Liverpool, Merseyside



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  1. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  2. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  3. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  4. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  5. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  6. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  7. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  11. ...

The Cavanagh Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cavanagh 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 19 March 2014 at 10:51.

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