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

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

Hundreds of years ago, the Gaelic name used by the Keegan family in Ireland was Mac Aodhagain, which means son of Aodh, a personal name usually Anglicized as Hugh.

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The recording of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. Since the general population did not know how to read or write, they could only specify how their names should be recorded orally. Research into the name Keegan revealed spelling variations, including Egan, Eagan, Keegan, MacEgan, Kegan, Keagan and many more.

First found in County Tipperary (Irish: Thiobraid Árann), established in the 13th century in South-central Ireland, in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keegan research. Another 273 words(20 lines of text) covering the year 1172 is included under the topic Early Keegan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the Keegan family came to North America quite early:

Keegan Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Timothy Keegan, aged 30, arrived in New York in 1812
  • James Keegan, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840
  • Peter Keegan, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1849
  • Catherine Keegan, aged 23, landed in New York, NY in 1850
  • Michael Keegan, who landed in Mississippi in 1854

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  • Andrew Keegan (b. 1979), American actor
  • Scarlett Keegan (b. 1984), American model and actress
  • Robert Charles Keegan (1920-2001), American Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher
  • Claire Keegan (b. 1968), Irish writer
  • Rose Keegan (b. 1965), British actress
  • Chad Keegan (b. 1979), South African cricketer
  • Kevin Keegan (b. 1951), former English football coach and player, current manager of Newcastle United F.C
  • John Keegan (b. 1934), English military historian
  • Victor Keegan (b. 1940), British journalist and author
  • Michelle Elizabeth Keegan (b. 1987), English actress who plays Tina McIntyre in the soap opera Coronation Street

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  • by Teresa Murphy.
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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: Fortitudine et prudentia
Motto Translation: With fortitude and prudence.

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  1. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. 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.
  3. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  4. 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).
  5. 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).
  6. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  7. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  8. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. 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.
  11. ...

The Keegan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Keegan 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 17 March 2014 at 13:18.

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