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The surname Shanahan is originally a name that appeared in Gaelic as O Seanachain, which is derived from the word "sean," meaning "old."

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The surname Shanahan was first found in County Clare (Irish: An Clįr) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

Numerous spelling variations of the surname Shanahan exist. A partial explanation for these variants is that ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. Different spellings that were found include Shanahan, O'Shanahan, Shahan, Shannon, Gilshenan and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shanahan research. Another 409 words (29 lines of text) covering the years 1318, 1802, 1863, and 1877 are included under the topic Early Shanahan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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

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The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish migrating out of their homeland in a great measure due to the oppressive imperial policies of the English government and landowners. Many of these Irish families sailed to North America aboard overcrowded passenger ships. By far, the largest influx of Irish immigrants to North America occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These particular immigrants were instrumental in creation of the United States and Canada as major industrial nations because the many essential elements such as the roadways, canals, bridges, and railways required an enormous quantity of cheap labor, which these poor immigrants provided. Later generations of Irish in these countries also went on to make valuable contributions in such fields as the arts, commerce, politics, and education. Extensive research into immigration and passenger lists has revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Shanahan:

Shanahan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • John Shanahan, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1765

Shanahan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Shanahan, aged 26, landed in Missouri in 1840
  • Michael Shanahan, who landed in Mississippi in 1846
  • Jeremiah Shanahan, who landed in New York, NY in 1847
  • Joseph Shanahan, aged 30, arrived in Missouri in 1848
  • Henry, Daniel, John, Martin, Michael, Robert, Patrick, Timothy, and William Shanahan, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1850 and 1870
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Shanahan Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • James Shanahan, who was a laborer in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1779

Shanahan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Denis Shanahan, aged 21, arrived in Canada in 1823
  • Dennis Shanahan settled in Quebec, Canada, in 1825
  • Thomas and Edmund Shanahan, and his sisters Nora and Catherine Shanahan, who all settled in Medonte Township, Ontario, Canada, in 1832
  • John Shanahan, aged 24, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Ward" from Limerick, Ireland
  • Denis Shanahan, aged 21, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Pallas" from Cork, Ireland
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Shanahan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Mary Shanahan arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Henry Porcher" in 1838
  • Michael Shanahan, aged 36, a farm servant, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar"
  • Bridget Shanahan, aged 30, a farm servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Hyderabad"
  • Ellen Shanahan, aged 21, a farm servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Hyderabad"
  • William Shanahan, aged 27, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Europa"
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Shanahan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Mary Shanahan, aged 23, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jessie Osborne" in 1867
  • John Shanahan, aged 13, a labourer, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Adamant" in 1874
  • Michael Shanahan, aged 26, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Howrah" in 1874
  • Maria Shanahan, aged 18, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874
  • Ellen Shanahan, aged 20, a housemaid, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "British Queen" in 1883
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  • Brigadier General James G. Shanahan (1920-1997), American United States Army officer
  • Paul Gregory Shanahan (b. 1947), American former Major League Baseball pitcher
  • David E. Shanahan (1862-1936), American politician, Illinois Republican state legislator
  • Jeremiah Francis Shanahan (1834-1886), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, the first Bishop of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (1868 to 1886)
  • John Walter Shanahan (1846-1916), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop of Harrisburg (1899 to 1916)
  • Doug Shanahan (b. 1975), American professional lacrosse player
  • Kyle Shanahan (b. 1979), American NFL offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins, son of Mike Shanahan
  • Chief Boatswain's Mate Patrick Shanahan (1867-1937), United States Navy sailor awarded the Medal of Honor for actions during the Philippine-American War
  • Michael Edward "Mike" Shanahan (b. 1952), American NFL football head coach of the Washington Redskins
  • Mark Shanahan, Irish conductor
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Citations



    Other References

    1. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
    2. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    3. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
    4. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
    5. 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.
    6. 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).
    7. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
    8. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    9. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
    10. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
    11. ...

    The Shanahan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Shanahan 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 2014 at 17:36.

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