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

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

The surname Shanahan is originally a name that appeared in Gaelic as O Seanachain, which is derived from the word "sean," meaning "old."


Numerous spelling variations of the surname Shanahan exist. A partial explanation for these variants is that ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. Different spellings that were found include Shanahan, O'Shanahan, Shahan, Shannon, Gilshenan and many more.

First found in County Clare (Irish: An Clįr) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shanahan research. Another 409 words(29 lines of text) covering the years 1318, 1802, 1863, and 1877 are included under the topic Early Shanahan History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 34 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Shanahan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish migrating out of their homeland in a great measure due to the oppressive imperial policies of the English government and landowners. Many of these Irish families sailed to North America aboard overcrowded passenger ships. By far, the largest influx of Irish immigrants to North America occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These particular immigrants were instrumental in creation of the United States and Canada as major industrial nations because the many essential elements such as the roadways, canals, bridges, and railways required an enormous quantity of cheap labor, which these poor immigrants provided. Later generations of Irish in these countries also went on to make valuable contributions in such fields as the arts, commerce, politics, and education. Extensive research into immigration and passenger lists has revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Shanahan:

Shanahan Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • John Shanahan, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1765

Shanahan Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Shanahan, aged 26, landed in Missouri in 1840
  • Michael Shanahan, who landed in Mississippi in 1846
  • Jeremiah Shanahan, who landed in New York, NY in 1847
  • Joseph Shanahan, aged 30, arrived in Missouri in 1848
  • Henry, Daniel, John, Martin, Michael, Robert, Patrick, Timothy, and William Shanahan, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1850 and 1870


  • Michael Edward "Mike" Shanahan (b. 1952), American NFL football head coach of the Washington Redskins
  • Chief Boatswain's Mate Patrick Shanahan (1867-1937), United States Navy sailor awarded the Medal of Honor for actions during the Philippine-American War
  • Kyle Shanahan (b. 1979), American NFL offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins, son of Mike Shanahan
  • Doug Shanahan (b. 1975), American professional lacrosse player
  • John Walter Shanahan (1846-1916), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop of Harrisburg (1899 to 1916)
  • Jeremiah Francis Shanahan (1834-1886), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, the first Bishop of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (1868 to 1886)
  • David E. Shanahan (1862-1936), American politician, Illinois Republican state legislator
  • Paul Gregory Shanahan (b. 1947), American former Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Brigadier General James G. Shanahan (1920-1997), American United States Army officer
  • Dan Shanahan (b. 1977), Irish hurler



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  1. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  7. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  8. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  9. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  10. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  11. ...

The Shanahan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Shanahan 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 22 March 2014 at 17:36.

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