Gaffigan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
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."
Early Origins of the Gaffigan family
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.
Interestingly, early Cornish records listed reference to some of the family in the parish of St. Hilary, Cornwall. "Prior to the days of Elizabeth, the barton of Treveneage belonged to an ancient family called Gaverigan, from whom it passed during that reign, with a co-heiress to the Godolphins." 
Early History of the Gaffigan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gaffigan research. Another 76 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1689, 1640, 1679 and 1929 are included under the topic Early Gaffigan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gaffigan Spelling Variations
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.
Early Notables of the Gaffigan family (pre 1700)
Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gaffigan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gaffigan family
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 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.
Contemporary Notables of the name Gaffigan (post 1700) +
- 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
Related Stories +
- ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print