Drennan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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. [1]

Early Origins of the Drennan family

The surname Drennan was 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. [2]

Early History of the Drennan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Drennan research. Another 90 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1696, 1768, 1736 and 1768 are included under the topic Early Drennan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Drennan Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Drennan family (pre 1700)

Another 46 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Drennan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Drennan migration to the United States +

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 [3]
Drennan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Drennan, who settled in New York State in 1803
  • James Drennan, aged 19, who landed in New York, NY in 1803 [3]
  • Alexander Drennan, aged 37, who arrived in New York in 1812 [3]
  • Maxwell Drennan, who landed in Norfolk, Va in 1817 [3]
  • Sandy C Drennan, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1854 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
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 immigrated to America from Stradbally, Ireland, in 1912
  • Dr. Lawrence M. Drennan, aged 27, who immigrated to Washington, DC, in 1913
  • Catherine Drennan, aged 37, who immigrated to the United States from Lisfuthian, Ireland, in 1916
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Drennan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Drennan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Ann Drennan, aged 36 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Wandsworth" departing from the port of Dublin, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in May 1847 [4]
  • Miss. Ann Drennan, aged 2 months who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Syria" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in June 1847 [4]
  • Mr. Dennis Drennan, aged 6 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Agnes" departing from the port of Cork, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in May 1847 [4]
  • Mrs. Jane Drennan, aged 65 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Wandsworth" departing from the port of Dublin, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in June 1847 [4]
Drennan Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • David N. Drennan, aged 50, who settled in Calgary, Canada, in 1914

New Zealand Drennan 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:

Drennan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Ann J. Drennan, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Portland" in 1864

Contemporary Notables of the name Drennan (post 1700) +

  • 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
  • William Drennan (1754-1820), Irish physician, poet, educationalist, son of the Rev. Thomas Drennan, Presbyterian minister at Belfast [5]
  • 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
  • Mr. Robert Scott Drennan M.B.E., British Detective Chief Superintendent for Police Service of Northern Ireland, was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire on 8th June 2018, for services to Policing and to the community in Northern Ireland [6]
  • 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
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


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


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, More Irish Families. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0)
  2. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ 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. 26)
  5. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020
  6. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists


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