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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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.


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.

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.


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 and printed products wherever possible.


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


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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    Other References

    1. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
    2. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
    3. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
    4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    5. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
    6. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
    7. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
    8. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
    9. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
    10. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
    11. ...

    The Drennan Family Crest was acquired from the 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 22 March 2016 at 14:36.

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