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

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

Many Irish names are merely English translations of Gaelic names. The name Galligan was a translation of the Gaelic name Mac Giollagain, which is derived from the word "giolla," which means "lad."


Many different spelling variations of the surname Galligan exist in the archives researched. 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 Gilligan, Gilegan, Gillegan, Giligan and others.

First found in County Londonderry (Irish: Doire), a Northern Irish county also known as Derry, in the province of Ulster, where they held a family seat at a place called Magilligans Strand.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Galligan research. Another 184 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Galligan History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


During the middle of the 19th century, Irish families often experienced extreme poverty and racial discrimination in their own homeland under English rule. Record numbers died of disease and starvation, and many others, deciding against such a fate, boarded ships bound for North America. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Unfortunately, many of those Irish that arrived in Canada or the United States still experienced economic and racial discrimination. Although often maligned, these Irish people were essential to the rapid development of these countries because they provided the cheap labor required for the many canals, roads, railways, and other projects required for strong national infrastructures. Eventually the Irish went on to make contributions in the less backbreaking and more intellectual arenas of commerce, education, and the arts. Research early immigration and passenger lists revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Galligan:

Galligan Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Ann Galligan, aged 32, who settled in America, in 1894

Galligan Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Andrew Galligan, aged 34, who landed in America from Cavan, in 1900
  • Bernard Galligan, aged 25, who emigrated to America from Ballinagh, Ireland, in 1907
  • Anne Galligan, aged 7, who landed in America from Oldcastle, Ireland, in 1908
  • Annie Galligan, aged 25, who emigrated to the United States from Newtown, Ireland, in 1910
  • Annie Galligan, aged 20, who emigrated to the United States from Gavan, Ireland, in 1914


  • Zachary Wolfe "Zach" Galligan (b. 1964), American actor
  • Thomas R. Galligan (b. 1947), American politician who served as mayor of Jeffersonville, Indiana USA (1996 to 2003)
  • Thomas C. Galligan Jr, American academic, 8th President of Colby-Sawyer College
  • John T. Galligan (1865-1937), American professional baseball player
  • M. Devin Galligan (d. 2003), founder of the charitable organization "Strain the Brain"
  • Peter Paul Galligan (1888-1966), Irish Sinn Féin politician


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  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  3. 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.
  4. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  5. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  6. 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.
  7. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  9. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  10. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  11. ...

The Galligan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Galligan 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 23 September 2014 at 21:27.

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