Show ContentsAhearn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Many Irish surnames can be traced back to their Gaelic forms. The name Ahearn originally appeared in Gaelic as O hEachthigheirn or O hEachthigheirna, made up of the words "each" meaning "steed," and "thighearna," meaning "lord." This was first Anglicized O'Hagherin, which was later changed to O'Aherne before the prefix was eventually dropped. [1]

Early Origins of the Ahearn family

The surname Ahearn was first found in County Clare (Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat as a Dalcassian sept from before the year 1000. However, with the disruptions of the Strongbow Invasion of 1172, they migrated southward to counties Cork and Waterford. In Waterford the name is predominantly Hearn and Hearne.

Early History of the Ahearn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ahearn research. Another 116 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1420, 1566, 1754, 1769, 1797, and 1806 are included under the topic Early Ahearn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ahearn Spelling Variations

Official documents, crafted by early scribes and church officials, primarily contained names that were spelled according to their pronunciation. This lead to the problem of one name being recorded under several different variations, creating an illusion that a single person was many people. Among the many spelling variations of the surname Ahearn that are preserved in the archival documents of the time are O'Aherne, O'Ahern, Hearne, O'Heffron, Haveran, Hayveren and many more.

Early Notables of the Ahearn family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Ahearn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ahearn Ranking

In the United States, the name Ahearn is the 8,011st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [2]

United States Ahearn migration to the United States +

In the 18th and 19th centuries hundreds of thousands of Irish people immigrated to North American shores. The early settlers were enticed by the promise of their own land, but they were moderately well off in Ireland when they decided to emigrate. Therefore, they were merely carrying out a long and carefully thought out decision. The 1840s saw the emergence of a very different trend: thousands of extremely desperate people crammed into passenger boats hoping to find any type of opportunity. The Irish of this decade had seen their homeland severely stricken by crop failures which resulted in widespread disease and starvation. At whatever time the Irish immigrants came to North America, they were instrumental in the rapid development of the emerging nations of the United States and what would become known as Canada. An exhaustive search of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many persons bearing the name Ahearn, or one of its variants:

Ahearn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Ahearn, who landed in Maryland in 1833 [3]
  • Ellie Ahearn, aged 24, who landed in America from Cork, in 1893
Ahearn Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Denis Ahearn, aged 9, who landed in America from Cork, Ireland, in 1907
  • Bridget Ahearn, aged 4, who immigrated to the United States from Cork, Ireland, in 1907
  • Catherine Ahearn, aged 10, who immigrated to America from Fethard, Ireland, in 1910
  • Agnes Ahearn, aged 32, who immigrated to the United States from Ballina, Ireland, in 1916
  • Annie Ahearn, aged 43, who settled in America from Buncourt, Ireland, in 1916
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Ahearn migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Ahearn Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Luke Ahearn, aged 25, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork, Ireland
  • Michael Ahearn, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork, Ireland
  • Mary Ahearn, aged 30, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork, Ireland
Ahearn Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Edward Ahearn, aged 34, who settled in Ottawa, Canada, in 1911

Contemporary Notables of the name Ahearn (post 1700) +

  • Michael Francis A'Hearn (1940-2017), American astronomer and astronomy professor at the University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
  • Michael Francis "Mike" Ahearn (1878-1948), English-born, American football, basketball, and baseball player, coach, college athletics administrator, and professor, eponym of Ahearn Fied House
  • Blake Ahearn (b. 1984), American professional NBA basketball player
  • William H. Ahearn (1858-1919), American Major League Baseball catcher who played on June 19, 1880 for the Troy Trojans
  • Charlie Ahearn, American baseball player
  • Theresa Ahearn (1951-2000), Irish Fine Gael politician, Member of South Tipperary County Council from 1983 until 1999
  • Jack Cornelius Ahearn (1924-2017), Australian Grand Prix motorcycle road racer
  • Thomas Franklin Ahearn (1886-1962), Canadian businessman and politician, owner of the Ottawa Senators NHL hockey club, inducted into to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962
  • Thomas Ahearn PC (1855-1938), Canadian inventor and businessman, President of the Ottawa Electric Railway Company, held patents for an "electric oven" and a "system of warming cars by means of electrically heated water"
  • Frank Ahearn (1886-1962), Canadian NHL hockey club owner and a Member of Parliament

The Ahearn Motto +

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: Per ardua surgo
Motto Translation: I rise through difficulties.

  1. MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. 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) on Facebook