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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

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

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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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.

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.


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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.

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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.

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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


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, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "Ward" from Limerick
  • Denis Shanahan, aged 21, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the barque "Pallas" from Cork


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"


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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  • Michael Edward "Mike" Shanahan (b. 1952), American NFL football head coach of the Washington Redskins
  • Chief Boatswain's Mate Patrick Shanahan (1867-1937), United States Navy sailor awarded the Medal of Honor for actions during the Philippine-American War
  • Kyle Shanahan (b. 1979), American NFL offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins, son of Mike Shanahan
  • Doug Shanahan (b. 1975), American professional lacrosse player
  • John Walter Shanahan (1846-1916), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop of Harrisburg (1899 to 1916)
  • Jeremiah Francis Shanahan (1834-1886), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, the first Bishop of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (1868 to 1886)
  • David E. Shanahan (1862-1936), American politician, Illinois Republican state legislator
  • Paul Gregory Shanahan (b. 1947), American former Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Brigadier General James G. Shanahan (1920-1997), American United States Army officer
  • Dan Shanahan (b. 1977), Irish hurler

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  1. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  2. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  3. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  4. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  5. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  6. 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.
  7. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  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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