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

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

Many variations of the name Drennan have evolved since the time of its initial creation. In Gaelic it appeared as O Draighnean, from the word draighnean, which means blackthorn.


Those scribes in Ireland during the Middle Ages recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in this era many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research on the Drennan family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including Drennan, O'Drennan, Drenan, O'Drenan, Thornton and many more.

First found in County Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) part of the province of Connacht, located on the west coast of the Island, and County Clare where O'Drennan was chief of Slieve Eise, Finn, and of Cinel-Seudna, a district on the borders of both counties.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Drennan research. Another 224 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1696 and 1768 are included under the topic Early Drennan History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Drennan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the Drennan family in North America:

Drennan Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • William Drennan who settled in New Jersey in 1685
  • William Drennan, who landed in New Jersey in 1685

Drennan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • James Drennan settled in New York State in 1803
  • James Drennan, aged 19, landed in New York, NY in 1803
  • Alexander Drennan, aged 37, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Maxwell Drennan, who landed in Norfolk, Va in 1817
  • Sandy C Drennan, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1854

Drennan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Bridget Drennan, aged 25, who settled in America, in 1906
  • Edward Drennan, aged 32, who settled in America from Heswell, England, in 1907
  • Daniel Drennan, aged 24, who emigrated to America from Stradbally, Ireland, in 1912
  • Dr. Lawrence M. Drennan, aged 27, who emigrated to Washington, DC, in 1913
  • Catherine Drennan, aged 37, who emigrated to the United States from Lisfuthian, Ireland, in 1916

Drennan Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • David N. Drennan, aged 50, who settled in Calgary, Canada, in 1914

Drennan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Ann J. Drennan arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Portland" in 1864


  • Kathryn M. Drennan, American collaborative writer who has worked with Carl Sagan, Michael Piller and others
  • Thomas J. Drennan (1877-1928), the 10th New York City Fire Commissioner
  • Bruce Drennan (b. 1950), American sportscaster
  • John Swanick Drennan (1809-1893), Irish poet, son of William Drennan
  • Anthony Drennan, Irish guitarist best known for his work with Genesis, Mike + the Mechanics and The Corrs
  • William Drennan (1754-1820), Irish physician, poet, educationalist
  • Mandy Drennan (b. 1988), Australian bronze medalist Paralympic swimmer at the 2004 Athens Games
  • Charles Edward Drennan (b. 1960), Catholic Coadjutor Bishop of Palmerston North, New Zealand
  • John Drennan (b. 1899), Unionist Senator for Northern Ireland
  • Martin Drennan (b. 1944), Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Galway and Kilmacduagh


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: Nec opprimere nec opprimi
Motto Translation: Neither to oppress nor to be oppressed.


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  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  2. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  5. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  6. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  7. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  8. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  9. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  10. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  11. ...

The Drennan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Drennan 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 20 December 2015 at 12:40.

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