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The surname Fegan is derived from the Gaelic "O Faodhagain," which in turn comes from the Latin word "paganus," which refers to a "villager" or "peasant."

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The surname Fegan was first found in County Tyrone (Irish:Tír Eoghain), the ancient territory of the O'Neills, now in the Province of Ulster, central Northern Ireland, where they settled in early times.

Since the early scribes and church officials who recorded names in official documents spelled a person's name as it sounded to them, a single person's name was recorded under several different variations and which today appears to denote more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the surname Fegan that are preserved in archival documents of this era include Fagan, Faggan, Fagin, Feagan, Fegan, Feighan, Fieghan and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fegan research. Another 299 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1423, 1663, 1638 and 1718 are included under the topic Early Fegan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 21 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fegan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The late 18th saw the beginnings of a steady pattern of immigration out of Ireland. These initial settlers were drawn to North America by the promise of land. The prospect of their own tract of land to work solely for themselves was especially appealing to those that rented out farmland in Ireland from English landowners who were frequently absent. These immigrants were critical to occupying the land of the eastern United States and British North America. This pattern continued steadily until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine sparked a major exodus of Irish families. Unlike their predecessors, the Irish were frequently destitute and desperate, and North America was regarded as holding more promise than trying to eke out an existence in Ireland - if they survived the disease and starvation that the famine had created. This great mass of people frequently experienced more racial discrimination by the general population when they arrived on North American shores, but they were warmly received by those industrialists with coal mines to work, products to manufacture, and railways to build. These Irish immigrants provided the nations of the United States and, what would later become Canada, with the cheap labor that was required for their rapid development as major industrialized nations. Whenever and however Irish immigrants came to North America, they were instrumental to its cultural, economic, and industrial development. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the name Fegan:

Fegan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Jean Fegan, who arrived in Louisiana in 1718
  • Daniel Fegan, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773
  • Hugh Fegan, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773

Fegan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Margt Fegan, who landed in America in 1805
  • Ter Fegan, who landed in America in 1805
  • Terence Fegan, aged 21, arrived in New York, NY in 1805
  • Michael Fegan, aged 27, landed in Vermont in 1812
  • Patrick Fegan, aged 23, arrived in New York in 1812


Fegan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Stephen Fegan, aged 24, a shoemaker, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Catherine Stewart Forbes" in 1841
  • Eliza Mary Fegan, aged 29, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Catherine Stewart Forbes" in 1841
  • Elizabeth Caroline Fegan, aged 3 months, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Catherine Stewart Forbes" in 1841
  • W. Fegan arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Tongariro" in 1888

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  • Sergeant James Fegan (1827-1886), American soldier in the U.S. Army during the American Civil War, and Indian Wars, Medal of Honor recipient
  • Roy Fegan (b. 1961), American actor, best known for his role as Simon Caine in the 1993 film The Meteor Man
  • Roshon Bernard Fegan (b. 1991), American actor, songwriter and producer
  • Robert J. Fegan, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Kansas, 1972
  • Robert Benjamin Fegan (b. 1877), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Kansas, 1932
  • Joseph C. Fegan, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1980
  • John 'Jack' Fegan (1907-1981), Irish-born, Australian film and television actor
  • Owen Fegan (b. 1972), Irish creative director at New York Magazine, founding member of Irish rock band Rubyhorse
  • John Herbert Crangle Fegan FRCS (1868-1949), English rugby union player
  • John Lionel Fegan (1862-1932), English-born, Australian politician


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  1. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  2. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  3. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  4. 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).
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  7. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  10. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 20 January 2016 at 10:54.

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