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


The Irish surnames in use today are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name Dunagan originally appeared in Gaelic as O Donnagain. The first portion of the name is probably derived from "donn," which means brown, while the second portion of the name is probably derived from and ancient Irish personal name.

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The surname Dunagan was first found in County Cork (Irish: Corcaigh) the ancient Kingdom of Deis Muin (Desmond), located on the southwest coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat at Muskerry, later moving to Limerick, Kildare and Dublin.

Individual scribes in the Ireland during the Middle Ages would often record a person's name various ways. How the name was recorded depended on what that particular scribe believed the proper spelling for the name pronounced to him was. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origin of the Dunagan family name include Donegan, Donnegan, Doneghan, Donneghan, Donagan, Donnagan, Donnaghan, Dunnegan, O'Donegan, O'Dunnegan, O'Donnaghan, Dongan, Donegin, Donnegin, Donnagen, Donagen, Donnegen, Donegen, Donnigan, Donigan, Dunnican, Dunican, Dunnigan, McDunnigan, McDonegan, Dongane, Dongin, Dongen and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunagan research. Another 227 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1300, 1395, 1412, 1413, 1634 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Dunagan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 125 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dunagan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Irish families began to immigrate to British North America and the United States in the 18th century, but the greatest influx of Irish immigrants came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. The earlier settlers came to North America after a great deal of consideration and by paying relatively high fees for their passage. These settlers were primarily drawn by the promise of land. Those later settlers that came during the 1840's were trying to escape the conditions of poverty, starvation, disease, and death that had stricken Ireland. Due to the enormity of their numbers and the late date of their arrival, these immigrants primarily became hired laborers instead of homesteading settlers like their predecessors. An exhaustive search of immigration and passenger lists has revealed many Irish immigrants North America bearing the name Dunagan:

Dunagan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Joseph Dunagan, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850

Dunagan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Roscoe Dunagan, aged 30, who landed in America, in 1923

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  • Randy Dunagan (b. 1975), American professional football player
  • Kern W. Dunagan (1934-1991), United States Army officer and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration
  • Donald "Donnie" Roan Dunagan (b. 1934), semi-retired American former child actor
  • Deanna Dunagan (b. 1940), Chicago based American actress


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  1. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  4. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  5. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  7. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  8. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  9. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  10. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  11. ...

The Dunagan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dunagan 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 February 2015 at 10:39.

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