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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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

Before Irish names were translated into English, Callaghan had a Gaelic form of O Ceallachain, possibly from "ceallach", which means "strife". The family is descended from Ceallachan (Callaghan), the 10th century King of Munster from whom their surname is derived, and as such, the name Callaghan is a patronymic name.

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Within archives, many different spelling variations exist for the surname Callaghan. Ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in the name of the single person being recorded under several different spellings. Different spellings that were found include Callaghan, Callahan, O'Callaghan, O'Callahan, Calahan, Cellaghan, Kalahan, Kallaghan, Kallahan, O'Kallaghan, Kellaghan, Kelleghan, Kellahan, Kelahan, Ceilahan, Ceilaghan, Callachan, Calachan, Callagan, Calagan, Kelagan, Callighan and many more.

First found in Munster. The earliest mention of the name Callaghan placed them in the barony of Kinlea, in County Cork, yet the family lost most of their original lands in the barony of Kinelea during the Anglo- Norman Conquest under Strongbow. They relocated to an area near Mallow, in the north of the county, and remained there until forced off their lands once again during the Cromwellian Invasion of the 17th century. The head family migrated to the east of County Clare and flourished, giving their name to the village of Callaghan's Mills. The resumption of the often-discarded prefix "O" has been widespread during the late twentieth century, but in the early twentieth century, Callaghans greatly outnumbered O'Callaghans, but such is no longer the case. The O'Callaghans are one of the few Irish families to still have a chief, certified by the Genealogical Office. [1]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Callaghan research. Another 403 words(29 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1640, 1738, 1807, 1797, 1883, 1605, 1654, 1839 and 1909 are included under the topic Early Callaghan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 53 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Callaghan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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North America accepted thousands of Irish immigrants during the 19th century as their homeland suffered under foreign imperialistic rule. Although settlers from the early portion of the century came to North America by choice in search of land, by far the largest influx of Irish immigrants came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Many of these Irish families left the country destitute and in some cases suffering from disease. However, those who survived the long ocean voyage were especially vital to the development of industry in the United States and what would become known as Canada. Research of immigration and passenger lists has shown many early immigrants bearing the name Callaghan:

Callaghan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Turance Callaghan, who arrived in Virginia in 1715
  • John Callaghan settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1764
  • James Callaghan who settled in America in 1768
  • James Callaghan settled in Pennsylvania in 1772
  • Mathew Callaghan, who arrived in New York in 1796


Callaghan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Anthony Callaghan, aged 17, arrived in New York, NY in 1801
  • Jeremiah Callaghan, who landed in New York in 1801
  • Neal Callaghan, aged 19, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803
  • Mary Callaghan, aged 14, landed in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1803
  • Nicholas Callaghan, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1811


Callaghan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Martin Callaghan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1816
  • Michael Callaghan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1832
  • Con. Callaghan, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the barque "Pallas" from Cork
  • Peggy Callaghan, aged 30, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the barque "Pallas" from Cork
  • Mary Callaghan, aged 59, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the barque "Pallas" from Cork


Callaghan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Mary Callaghan arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Britannia" in 1846
  • Edward Callaghan arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1846
  • James Callaghan arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1846
  • Michael Callaghan arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1846
  • Patrick Callaghan arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1846


Callaghan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Jas Callaghan landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship Anna Watson
  • Honora Callaghan arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Empress" in 1865
  • Catherine Callaghan arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Empress" in 1865
  • Andrew Callaghan, aged 22, a blacksmith, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Eveline" in 1865
  • Jeremiah Callaghan, aged 22, a ploughman, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874


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  • Rear Admiral Daniel Judson Callaghan (1890-1942), United States Navy officer awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, eponym of the USS Callaghan (DD-792), a Fletcher-class destroyer
  • Sheila Callaghan (b. 1973), American playwright
  • Mr. George Callaghan, British Cook, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • Nigel Ian Callaghan (b. 1962), Singapore-born former professional footballer
  • Leo Callaghan (1924-1987), Welsh association football referee in the English Football League
  • Willie Callaghan (b. 1943), Scottish former professional footballer
  • Tommy Callaghan (b. 1945), Scottish former footballer, member of the 1968-1971, Scottish League XI
  • Ian Robert Callaghan MBE (b. 1942), English former Liverpool footballer
  • Sir Leonard James Callaghan KG, PC (1912-2005), Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, British Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979
  • Major-General Cecil Arthur Callaghan (1890-1967), Australian General Officer Commanding 8th Australian Infantry Division, Malaya in 1942

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  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)

Other References

  1. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. 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. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  4. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  5. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  6. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  7. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  8. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  11. ...

The Callaghan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Callaghan 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 18 June 2015 at 14:00.

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