Colgan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

While the Anglicized versions of Irish names are familiar to most people, all Irish names have a long and proud Gaelic heritage that is often unknown. The original Gaelic form of the name Colgan is O Cuileagain.

Early Origins of the Colgan family

The surname Colgan was first found in County Derry, also known as Londonderry where they claim descent from the O'Conors (Faley) through Cumasach, brother of Aeneas, having derived their surname from the Irish "colg" which means "sword," thus the name Colgan was a "swordsman," a quo Clann Colgain. [1]

Early History of the Colgan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Colgan research. Another 56 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1592, 1657, 1645, 1645 and 1765 are included under the topic Early Colgan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Colgan Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Colgan, MacColgan, McColgan, O'Colgan and others.

Early Notables of the Colgan family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family at this time was John Colgan, O.F.M. (1592-1657), an Irish Franciscan friar noted as a hagiographer and historian. He was a "member of the Irish Minorite convent of St. Antony of Padua at Louvain. He was also professor of theology in the university of that place, but it appears that he retired from that office before 1645. He projected a colossal work on the...
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Colgan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Colgan migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Colgan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward Colgan, who landed in New York, NY in 1812 [2]
  • Hugh Colgan, who landed in New York, NY in 1812 [2]
  • John Colgan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812 [2]
  • George Colgan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [2]
  • Patrick Colgan, aged 36, who arrived in New York, NY in 1847 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Colgan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Colgan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Colgan, aged 25, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Ann Colgan, aged 24, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast, Ireland
  • William Colgan, aged 2, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Mr. Honora Colgan, aged 19 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Industry" departing from the port of Dublin, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in October 1847 [3]
  • Miss. Judith Colgan, aged 17 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "John Munn" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in September 1847 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Colgan migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Colgan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Edward Colgan, aged 35, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Lord Raglan" [4]
  • Anne Colgan, aged 18, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Lord of the Isles" [5]
  • Patrick Colgan, aged 50, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Bee"
  • Laurence Colgan, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Bee"
  • James Colgan, aged 17, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Bee"

New Zealand Colgan 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:

Colgan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Stephen Colgan, aged 23, a farm labourer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hannibal" in 1875
  • Bridget Colgan, aged 17, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "British Queen" in 1883
  • Rose Colgan, aged 16, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "British Queen" in 1883
  • Eliza Colgan, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "British Queen" in 1883

Contemporary Notables of the name Colgan (post 1700) +

  • Charles J Colgan (1926-2017), American politician and businessman, Virginia State Senator (1976-), founder of Colgan Air, an American certificated regional airline in 1965
  • Flavia Colgan (b. 1977), American Democratic strategist
  • Charles J. "Chuck" Colgan (b. 1926), American Democratic politician and businessman from Virginia
  • F. Gerard Colgan (1907-2004), Irish politician, Mayor of Galway (1976–1977)
  • Nathaniel Colgan (1851-1919), Irish naturalist
  • Michael Colgan (b. 1953), Irish independent politician and trade union official
  • Nick Colgan (b. 1973), Irish former football goalkeeper
  • Michael Colgan OBE (b. 1950), Irish producer, Artistic Director of Gate Theatre, Dublin
  • Rev. Joseph Colgan (1824-1911), Archbishop of Madras, from Westmeath
  • Michael Colgan, born Michael Hughes, in Keady, County Armagh, a Northern Ireland-born actor, known for his work in the Royal Shakespeare Company
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. E. Joseph Colgan, aged 33, English Scullion from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking by escaping in life boat 13 [6]


The Colgan 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: Virtus probata florescit
Motto Translation: Tried virtue flourishes.


  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  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. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 19)
  4. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 25th October 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Lord Raglan 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/lordraglan1854.shtml
  5. ^ South Australian Register Monday 14th August 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Lord of the Isles 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/jamesfernie1854.shtml
  6. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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