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

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

The original Gaelic form of the Gahagan surname is Mag Eochagain, a patronymic derived from the personal name Eochaidh.


Individual scribes in the Ireland during the Middle Ages would often record a person's name various ways. How the name was recorded depended on what that particular scribe believed the proper spelling for the name pronounced to him was. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origin of the Gahagan family name include Geoghegan, Gagahan, Gahagan, Gahaghan, Gaghan, Gegan, MacGeoghegan, Geohan and many more.

First found in the county of Westmeath (Irish: An Iarmhí) in the Irish Midlands, province of Leinster, in the barony of Moycashel at Kilbeggan where they held a family seat from ancient times. Traditionally, the Gahagans are said to descend from Fiacha, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gahagan research. Another 465 words(33 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1186, 1291, 1580, 1600, 1603, 1650, 1689, 1702, 1763, and 1800 are included under the topic Early Gahagan History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 56 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gahagan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Irish families began to immigrate to British North America and the United States in the 18th century, but the greatest influx of Irish immigrants came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. The earlier settlers came to North America after a great deal of consideration and by paying relatively high fees for their passage. These settlers were primarily drawn by the promise of land. Those later settlers that came during the 1840's were trying to escape the conditions of poverty, starvation, disease, and death that had stricken Ireland. Due to the enormity of their numbers and the late date of their arrival, these immigrants primarily became hired laborers instead of homesteading settlers like their predecessors. An exhaustive search of immigration and passenger lists has revealed many Irish immigrants North America bearing the name Gahagan:

Gahagan Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • James Gahagan, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Thomas Gahagan, who landed in Virginia in 1747

Gahagan Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Wm. Gahagan, aged 19, who emigrated to the United States from Liverpool, in 1893

Gahagan Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Maggie Gahagan, aged 19, who settled in America from Tuam, in 1901
  • Kate Gahagan, aged 22, who landed in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1907
  • Walter H. Gahagan, aged 44, who landed in America, in 1908
  • Martin Gahagan, aged 45, who landed in America from Wolverhamptan, England, in 1911
  • Annie Gahagan, aged 28, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1911


  • Dennis Gahagan (b. 1817), Irish-born, early settler in San Diego, California, American Judge of the 1st Instance of the District of San Diego (1849 to 1850)
  • James Gahagan (1927-1999), American abstract expressionist painter
  • Helen Gahagan (1900-1980), American singer, actress and politician who has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • John Gahagan (b. 1958), Scottish former footballer


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  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  6. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  8. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  11. ...

The Gahagan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gahagan 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 6 September 2013 at 14:01.

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