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

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

There are a multitude of ancient meanings and variations associated with the Irish surnames that are now common throughout the modern world. The original Gaelic form of the name Heffernan is O hIfearnain.


Within archives, many different spelling variations exist for the surname Heffernan. Ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in the name of the single person being recorded under several different spellings. Different spellings that were found include Heffernan, Heffernam, O'Heffernan, O'Heffron, Hefferen, Hefferney, Heffernon, Hefferon 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 ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Heffernan research. Another 186 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Heffernan History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


North America accepted thousands of Irish immigrants during the 19th century as their homeland suffered under foreign imperialistic rule. Although settlers from the early portion of the century came to North America by choice in search of land, by far the largest influx of Irish immigrants came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Many of these Irish families left the country destitute and in some cases suffering from disease. However, those who survived the long ocean voyage were especially vital to the development of industry in the United States and what would become known as Canada. Research of immigration and passenger lists has shown many early immigrants bearing the name Heffernan:

Heffernan Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • John Heffernan, who arrived in New York in 1840
  • Bridget, Catherine, Joanna, Margaret, Mary, Michael, and Patrick Heffernan settled in Boston in 1849
  • William Heffernan, who arrived in Illinois in 1856-1864
  • Patrick Heffernan, who landed in Mississippi in 1858
  • Edmund, Edward, John, Michael, Thomas and William Heffernan arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860


  • Phillip Heffernan, American publisher
  • Kevin Heffernan (b. 1968), American actor
  • James J. Heffernan (1888-1967), U.S. Representative from New York
  • William Heffernan (b. 1940), American novelist
  • Michael Heffernan (1885-1970), Irish politician
  • Paul Heffernan (b. 1981), Irish professional footballer
  • James Anthony "Seamie" Heffernan (b. 1972), Irish flat racing jockey, the 2012 Epsom Oaks winner
  • Robert "Rob" Heffernan (b. 1978), Irish race walker at the 2008 Olympic Games
  • William Heffernan, Gaelic poet
  • Teresa Heffernan Ph.D.,, Associate Professor of English at Saint Mary's University



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  1. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  2. 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).
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  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. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  7. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  11. ...

The Heffernan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Heffernan 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 October 2014 at 04:20.

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