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

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

The original Gaelic form of the name Kernaghan is O Cearnachain, which is derived from the word "cearnach," which means "victorious."

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Because early scribes and church officials often spelled names as they sounded, a person could have many various spellings of his name.Many different spelling variations of the surname Kernaghan were found in the archives researched. These included Kernahan, Kernaghan, Carnahan, Carnaghan and others.

First found in County Donegal (Irish: Dún na nGall), northwest Ireland in the province of Ulster, sometimes referred to as County Tyrconnel, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kernaghan research. Another 179 words(13 lines of text) covering the years 117 and 1172 are included under the topic Early Kernaghan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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A massive wave of Irish immigrants hit North America during the 19th century. Although many early Irish immigrants made a carefully planned decision to leave left Ireland for the promise of free land, by the 1840s immigrants were fleeing a famine stricken land in desperation. The condition of Ireland during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s can be attributed to a rapidly expanding population and English imperial policies. Those Irish families that arrived in North America were essential to its rapid social, industrial, and economic development. Passenger and immigration lists have revealed a number of early Irish immigrants bearing the name Kernaghan:

Kernaghan Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Robert Kernaghan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815
  • Alexander Kernaghan who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1830
  • John Kernaghan (1840) and William Kernaghan (1856) settled in Philadelphia, PA

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  • Charles Kernaghan (b. 1948), American executive director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights
  • Mae W. Kernaghan, American politician, former Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
  • Alan Kernaghan (b. 1967), Irish former footballer
  • Lee Kernaghan OAM (b. 1964), Australian country music singer and songwriter
  • Tania Maree Kernaghan (b. 1968), Australian country music singer
  • Eileen Kernaghan (b. 1939), Canadian three-time Aurora Award winning novelist
  • Ray Kernaghan, Australian country music artist, is the father of country music artists Lee Kernaghan and Tania Kernaghan and has twelve gold and two platinum records
  • Mike Kernaghan (b. 1955), New Zealand bronze medalist lawn bowler at the 2002 Commonwealth Games


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  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  2. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  3. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  5. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  6. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. 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).
  8. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  9. 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.
  10. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  11. ...

The Kernaghan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kernaghan 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 21 August 2013 at 07:11.

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