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Many variations of the name Gaffigan have evolved since the time of its initial creation. In Gaelic it appeared as O Gaibhtheachain, which is derived from the word "gaibhtheach," which means "anxious."

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The surname Gaffigan was first found in County Mayo (Irish: Maigh Eo) located on the West coast of the Republic of Ireland in the province of Connacht, where they held a family seat from very ancient times. The Gavigan, Gavin, or Gavahan surname is derived from the Irish Chieftain Gabhadhan who was descended from King Colla da Crioch, one of the three Colla Kings who ruled Ireland and died about 360 A.D.

The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name Gaffigan were encountered in the archives: Gavigan, Gavin, Gavihan, Gavahan, Gavan, Gavagain, Gavagan, Gaven, Gavin, Gavighan and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gaffigan research. Another 188 words (13 lines of text) covering the year 1689 is included under the topic Early Gaffigan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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More information is included under the topic Early Gaffigan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North Ameri ca. 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 Gaffigan family came to North America quite early: Daniel Gavin who landed in Virginia in 1654; John Gavin settled in Pennsylvania in 1773; Thomas Gavin settled in Maryland in 1774; James Gaven landed in America in 1690.

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  • James Gaffigan (b. 1979), American conductor, Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra
  • Jeanne "Jeannie" Louise Gaffigan (b. 1970), (née Noth) an American actress, producer, and comedy writer, wife of Jim Gaffigan
  • James Christopher "Jim" Gaffigan (b. 1966), American stand-up comedian, actor, voice-over artist, and author; he co-created and stars in the television series The Jim Gaffigan Show
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Citations



    Other References

    1. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
    2. 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).
    3. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
    4. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
    5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    7. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
    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. 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.
    10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    11. ...

    The Gaffigan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gaffigan 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 21 March 2016 at 08:32.

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