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

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

Hundreds of years ago, the Gaelic name used by the Forhan family in Ireland was O Fuarain or in some records O Furanain.

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The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period because the general population had to rely on local official's understanding of how their name should be spelt, hence spellings in records often changed through a person's lifetime. The following variations for the name Forhan were encountered in the archives: Foran, Forhane, Forahan, Forhan, Foreham and many more.

First found in Connacht (Irish: Connachta, (land of the) descendants of Conn), where they were firstly known as Macgiollarnath or Mac Gilla na Naomh, meaning 'son of the devotee of the saints', which, through mistranslation and time emerged as an off-shoot of the main Clan through a chieftain O'Fuarthain or O'Fuarain, which, in English, became Forhan.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Forhan research. Another 254 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1355, and 1816 are included under the topic Early Forhan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Forhan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Ireland became inhospitable for many native Irish families in the 19th centuries. Poverty, lack of opportunities, high rents, and discrimination forced thousands to leave the island for North America. The largest exodus of Irish settlers occurred with the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For these immigrants the journey to British North America and the United States was long and dangerous and many did not live to see the shores of those new lands. Those who did make it were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world. These Irish immigrants were not only important for peopling the new settlements and cities, they also provided the manpower needed for the many industrial and agricultural projects so essential to these growing nations. Immigration and passenger lists have documented the arrival of various people bearing the name Forhan to North America: Jno Forehead, who came to Virginia in 1653; Gillian Forehand, who arrived in Maryland in 1671; John Foran who settled in New York State in 1804;Patrick Forehan was a merchant in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1770.

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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: Lucrum Christi mihi
Motto Translation: Without Christ, there is no light.

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  1. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  3. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  4. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  5. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  6. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  7. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  8. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  9. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  10. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  11. ...

The Forhan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Forhan 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 9 February 2012 at 15:04.

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