Show ContentsCohan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Cohan is "O Cadhain," from the word "cadhan," which means wild goose. Kilcoyne, commonly seen as an alias of Coyne, is a patronymic name derived from the Gaelic name Mac Giolla Chaoine, denoting the son of a devotee of St. Caoin. Coen is also often the Anglicized version of the Gaelic name "O Comhdhain."

Early Origins of the Cohan family

The surname Cohan was first found in Connacht (Irish: Connachta, (land of the) descendants of Conn), and Leinster. The name became confused with Coen, Kyne, and Kilcoyne, all of which have derived from it, or have been the origin of Coyne. The ancient Coens, descended from the Gaelic Caomhan, the Chief of his clann in 876 A.D. who was descended from the Princes of Hy Fiachra, and the great General King Niall of the Nine Hostages.

Early History of the Cohan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cohan research. Another 90 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1803, 1839, 1868 and 1891 are included under the topic Early Cohan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cohan Spelling Variations

Just like the English language, the Gaelic language of Ireland was not standardized in the Middle Ages. Therefore, one's name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origins of the Cohan family name include Coyne, Coen, Cohen, Kyne, Kilcoyne, Coyney, Koyne, Koen, Kohen, M'Coyne, Coyn, Coin, Coine, Koin, Koine, Barnacle (a synonym of Coyne by translation), Barnicle, Barnycle, Barnackle, Barnicall, Barnickle and many more.

Early Notables of the Cohan family

Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cohan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cohan Ranking

In the United States, the name Cohan is the 10,522nd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]

United States Cohan migration to the United States +

Ireland became inhospitable for many native Irish families in the 19th centuries. Poverty, lack of opportunities, high rents, and discrimination forced thousands to leave the island for North America. The largest exodus of Irish settlers occurred with the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For these immigrants the journey to British North America and the United States was long and dangerous and many did not live to see the shores of those new lands. Those who did make it were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world. These Irish immigrants were not only important for peopling the new settlements and cities, they also provided the manpower needed for the many industrial and agricultural projects so essential to these growing nations. Immigration and passenger lists have documented the arrival of various people bearing the name Cohan to North America:

Cohan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Abraham Cohan, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1794 [2]
  • Angel Cohan, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1794 [2]
Cohan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • H Cohan, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [2]
  • Michael Cohan, aged 22, who landed in New York in 1854 [2]
  • Benedict Cohan, who landed in Arkansas in 1860 [2]

New Zealand Cohan migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Cohan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Hyman Cohan, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jura" in 1861 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cohan (post 1700) +

  • Sir Robert Paul Cohan CBE (1925-2021), American-born British dancer, choreographer, and founding artistic director of The Place, London Contemporary Dance School, and London Contemporary Dance Theatre (LCDT)
  • George Michel Cohan (1878-1942), famous American actor, author and producer
  • George M. Cohan (1878-1942), American composer
  • Timothy F. Cohan, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for New York State Senate 39th District, 1934 [4]
  • Erin Cohan, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 2004 [4]

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. 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)
  3. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 20) . Retrieved from on Facebook