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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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
  • John T. Callaghan, American politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Vermont, 1932
  • James J. Callaghan, American politician, Member of California State Assembly, 1883-85, 1887-89
  • J. P. Callaghan, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1920
  • J. Christopher Callaghan, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 2008
  • Elizabeth M. Callaghan, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 2008
  • Charles E. Callaghan, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Rochester, Minnesota, 1898-1911
  • Bryan V. Callaghan Jr., American politician, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, 1885-92, 1897-99, 1905-12
  • Bryan Callaghan, American politician, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, 1846-47
  • Alfred Callaghan (b. 1890), American Democrat politician, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, 1947-49

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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. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  2. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  3. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  4. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  5. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  9. 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).
  10. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  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 16 November 2015 at 11:05.

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