Flannigan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish name Flannigan 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 Flannigan family

The surname Flannigan 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 Flannigan family

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

Flannigan Spelling Variations

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 Flannigan family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including Flanagan, Flanaghan, Flanagen, Flannagan, Flannagen, Flanigan, Flannigan, Flanigen, Flannigen, Flanagin, Flannagin and many more.

Early Notables of the Flannigan family (pre 1700)

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


United States Flannigan migration to the United States +

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 Flannigan family in North America:

Flannigan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Flannigan, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1765
  • John Flannigan, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1765 [3]
Flannigan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Michael Flannigan, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1841 [3]
  • Margaret Flannigan, aged 14, who arrived in New York in 1849 [3]
  • James Flannigan, aged 20, who landed in New York in 1854 [3]
  • Bridget Flannigan, aged 18, who landed in New York in 1854 [3]
  • Margaret Flannigan, aged 18, who landed in New York in 1864 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Flannigan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Flannigan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Flannigan, aged 1, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Trafalgar" from Galway, Ireland
  • Michael Flannigan, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843

Australia Flannigan migration to Australia +

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

Flannigan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Catherine Flannigan, aged 30, a housemaid, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Nugget" [4]
  • Elizabeth Flannigan, aged 18, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Lord of the Isles" [5]
  • Mary Flannigan, aged 20, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Lord of the Isles" [5]
  • Michael Flannigan, aged 24, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "South Sea"
  • Patrick Flannigan, aged 35, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Lady Ann"

New Zealand Flannigan 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:

Flannigan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Catherine Flannigan, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Tamar" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 28th January 1858 [6]
  • Daniel Flannigan, aged 25, a farmer, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Clarence" in 1875
  • Owen Flannigan, aged 28, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hudson" in 1879

Contemporary Notables of the name Flannigan (post 1700) +

  • Tracy Flannigan, award winning American independent filmmaker
  • Richard Charles Flannigan (1857-1928), American politician, Mayor of Norway, Michigan, 1891; Delegate to Michigan State Constitutional Convention 31st District, 1907-08; Circuit Judge in Michigan 25th Circuit, 1910-27 [7]
  • John Flannigan, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1904 [7]
  • J. B. Flannigan, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Vermont, 1920 [7]
  • Allen J. Flannigan (b. 1909), American Democrat politician, Telegraph operator [7]
  • Katherine Mary Flannigan (1890-1954), Irish-born literary figure and author
  • Tommy Flannigan (1908-1981), Scottish footballer
  • Iain Flannigan, Scottish professional footballer
  • John Flannigan Deadman (1868-1932), American Democrat politician, Candidate for Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, 1915 [8]

HMS Cornwall
  • Alexander Mcdowell Flannigan (d. 1942), British Stoker 2nd Class aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [9]
Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)
  • Joanne Flannigan (1978-1988), Scottish resident of Lockerbie from Scotland, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died [10]
  • Kathleen Mary Flannigan (1947-1988), Scottish resident of Lockerbie from Scotland, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died [10]
  • Thomas Brown Flannigan (1944-1988), Scottish resident of Lockerbie from Scotland, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died [10]


The Flannigan 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. ^ 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)
  4. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 4th July 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Nugget 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/nugget1854.shtml.
  5. ^ South Australian Register Monday 14th August 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Lord of the Isles 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/jamesfernie1854.shtml
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 13) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 12) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  9. ^ Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listcornwallcrew.html#A
  10. ^ Pan Am Flight 103's victims: A list of those killed 25 years ago | syracuse.com. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/12/pan_am_flight_103s_victims_a_list_of_those_killed_25_years_ago.html


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