Show ContentsDegan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Gaelic form of the Irish name Degan was O Dubhaigan. The first portion of the name is the word dubh, which means black; the second portion is likely some obsolete Irish personal name.

Early Origins of the Degan family

The surname Degan was first found in County Clare (Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where O'DuilAgin, O'Dugan, (or O'Deegan), chief of Muintir ConIochta, a district in the parish of Tomgraney, in the barony of Tullagh.

The family line is directly traceable to Fergus Mor (Fergus the Great). In turn his ancestry is associated with King Ir, brother of the equally famous Heremon. The name was first found near what is now the town of Fermoy, in the territory formerly known as Roche's Country. This territory encompassed the junction of the counties Cork, Tipperary and Waterford. In modern times, the surname is generally found in these three counties.

However, there was another O'Dugan sept in the territory called Ui Maine, also called Hy Many, which spans eastern county Galway and southern county Roscommon. This sept gave their name to the place called Ballyduggan, near Loughrea. [1]

Early History of the Degan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Degan research. Another 155 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1327, 1813, 1896, 1813, 1896, 1823 and 1884 are included under the topic Early Degan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Degan Spelling Variations

Pronunciation, rather than spelling, was what guided scribes and church officials in recording names, a practice that often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname Degan are preserved in documents that were examined for evidence of the family's history. The various spellings of Degan included Dugan, Duggan, O'Duggan, Dougan, Douggan, Dewgan, Deugan and many more.

Early Notables of the Degan family (pre 1700)

Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Degan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Degan migration to the United States +

In the 18th and 19th centuries, hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants landed on North American shores. Although many of them were merely looking for a free plot of land and living of their very own, many later immigrants were desperately fleeing an overcrowded land that did not have sufficient food for its inhabitants. The exodus from Ireland was greatest during the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine had stricken the island. Although this large influx of Irish was unpopular with the great majority of people already established within the major centers, these Irish were critical to the speedy development of the United States and those colonies that would eventually become known as Canada. These immigrants provided the cheap labor required to build modern roads, bridges, canals, and railways. Research of passenger and immigration lists has shown a number of immigrants to North America baring the name of Degan:

Degan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Elizabeth Degan, who arrived in Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1756-1758
  • Daniel Degan, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1780
Degan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Andre Degan, who arrived in Missouri in 1845
  • Andre Degan, aged 28, who landed in Missouri in 1845 [2]
  • Henry Degan, who arrived in Iowa in 1888 [2]

Canada Degan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Degan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Annie Degan, who arrived in Toronto in 1871

Australia Degan migration to Australia +

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

Degan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Degan, English convict who was convicted in Liverpool, Lancashire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Bangalore" on 1st January 1850, arriving in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Degan (post 1700) +

  • Bob Degan, American pianist
  • Tom Degan, American politician, Candidate for New York State Senate 39th District, 2002 [4]
  • Solomon Degan, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1880 [4]
  • Raz Degan (b. 1968), Israeli model and actor

  1. MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  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. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th September 2020). Retrieved from
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 11) . Retrieved from on Facebook