Show ContentsFlannagan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish name Flannagan was originally written in a Gaelic form as "O Flannagain," from the word "flann," which means "red" or "ruddy." Collectively the name means "descendants of the red-complexioned man." [1]

Early Origins of the Flannagan family

The surname Flannagan was first found in County Roscommon, where they claim descent from the O'Connors as shown by the similarities of the Coat of Arms. Today the surname is more frequently found in County Roscommon, Mayo, Galway and Clare, no doubt branches from their ancestral roots. [2]

Sources agree that Roscommon and the aforementioned counties on the western seaboard is where the lion's share of the family originate. However, as there are at least five distinct branches of the family: Ely O'Carroll; Connaught; Fermanagh; Orgiall; and Uactar Tire ("Upperthird", in the northwest of the county of Waterford.) "The O'Flanagans of the Upperthird were dispossessed shortly after the English [Strongbow] invasion by the family of Le Poer (now 'Power'), who still possess a large portion of that territory." [1]

The O'Flanagan, of Ely O'Carroll branch claim descent from O'Flannagain Ele, a direct descendant on the O'Carroll Ely pedigree. O'Flanagan, Chiefs of Kinelargy in Ely O'Carroll similarly claim descent through the O'Carroll Ely pedigree. Note: Kinelargy is an ancient territory the corresponds with the present barony of Balllybrit, in the King's County. Both of these branches claim descent through the Heber line of Irish kings. [1]

The O'Flanagans of Fermanagh claim descent through Niall of the Nine Hostages, the 126th Monarch of Ireland and the O'Flanagans of Orgiall similarly claim a similar descent. These latter two branches claim descent through the Heremon line of ancient Kings of Ireland. [1]

Early History of the Flannagan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Flannagan research. Another 90 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1172 and 1308 are included under the topic Early Flannagan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Flannagan Spelling Variations

A name was often recorded during the Middle Ages under several different spelling variations during the life of its bearer because literacy was rare there was no real push to clearly define any of the languages found in the British Isles at that time. Variations found of the name Flannagan include Flanagan, Flanaghan, Flanagen, Flannagan, Flannagen, Flanigan, Flannigan, Flanigen, Flannigen, Flanagin, Flannagin and many more.

Early Notables of the Flannagan family (pre 1700)

Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Flannagan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Flannagan Ranking

In the United States, the name Flannagan is the 13,527th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

United States Flannagan migration to the United States +

In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the Flannagan family came to North America quite early:

Flannagan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Andrew Flannagan, who landed in North America in 1761
Flannagan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Dennis Flannagan, who arrived in New York in 1824 [4]
  • Edward Flannagan, who landed in New York, NY in 1825 [4]
  • Francis Flannagan, who landed in Maryland in 1840 [4]
  • Michael Flannagan, aged 37, who landed in Missouri in 1844 [4]
  • Margaret Flannagan, who arrived in New York in 1847 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Flannagan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Flannagan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Michael Flannagan, aged 40, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Trafalgar" from Galway, Ireland

Australia Flannagan migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Flannagan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Flannagan, English convict who was convicted in Surrey, England for life, transported aboard the "Elizabeth" in May 1816, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Mr. James Flannagan, British convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Asia" on 29th September 1831, settling in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Johanna Flannagan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Inconstant" in 1849 [7]
  • Betsy Flannagan, aged 17, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Trafalgar" [8]

New Zealand Flannagan 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:

Flannagan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Sarah Flannagan, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Surat" in 1864

Contemporary Notables of the name Flannagan (post 1700) +

  • Maureen Osborne Flannagan (b. 1973), known professionally as Maureen Flannigan, an American three-time Young Artist Award nominated actress
  • John Bernard Flannagan (1895-1942), American sculptor from Fargo, North Dakota
  • John William Flannagan Jr. (1885-1955), American politician, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee (1945 - 1947)
  • John Thomas Aloysius Flannagan (1860-1926), American Catholic priest, 2nd president of St. Ambrose College in Iowa (1891 to 1906)
  • John William Flannagan Jr. (1885-1955), American Democratic Party politician, U.S. Representative from Virginia, 1931-49 [9]
  • James H. Flannagan, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Oneida County 3rd District, 1876 [9]
  • J. W. Flannagan, American Republican politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Virginia, 1924 [9]
  • E. G. Flannagan, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from North Carolina, 1932, 1940 [9]
  • Dallas Flannagan, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Jersey, 1916; Candidate for U.S. Representative from New Jersey 10th District, 1920 [9]
  • John Flannagan (b. 1852), Irish-born, United States Navy sailor, recipient of the Medal of Honor for saving a fellow seaman from drowning
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Flannagan 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: Certavi et vici
Motto Translation: I have fought and conquered.

  1. O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  2. MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. 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)
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 1st March 2022). Retrieved from
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th January 2020). Retrieved from
  7. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The INCONSTANT the Voyage - 1849. Retrieved from
  8. South Australian Register Thursday 29th June 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Trafalgar 1854. Retrieved
  9. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook