The distinguished surname Cahan is a proud sign of an ancient Jewish culture. The surname Cahan is an occupational surname for a priest, and it comes from the Hebrew word kohen. Traditionally, priests were considered to have been members of a hereditary caste, descended from Aaron, the brother of Moses. Not all Jewish bearers of the surname Cahan belong to this caste, however. When many Jews were being forced to join the Russian Army for a term of 25 years, a number of them changed their last name to Cahan, because members of the clergy were exempt from service.
Cahan migration to the United States
Some of the first settlers of this family name were:
Typical Cahan Emigration from the United Kingdom to North America
Cahan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Cath Cahan, aged 29, who arrived in New York in 1854 
Margaret Cahan, aged 50, who landed in New York in 1854 
Contemporary Notables of the name Cahan (post 1700)
Abraham "Abe" Cahan (1860-1951), Belarusian-born Jewish-American socialist newspaper editor, novelist, and politician
Lawrence Louis Henry "Hank" Cahan (1933-1992), Canadian professional ice hockey player
Charles Hazlitt Cahan PC, KC (1861-1944), Canadian lawyer, newspaper editor, businessman, and provincial and federal politician
^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
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