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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

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

The original Gaelic form of the Gahagan surname is Mag Eochagain, a patronymic derived from the personal name Eochaidh.


Individual scribes in the Ireland during the Middle Ages would often record a person's name various ways. How the name was recorded depended on what that particular scribe believed the proper spelling for the name pronounced to him was. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origin of the Gahagan family name include Geoghegan, Gagahan, Gahagan, Gahaghan, Gaghan, Gegan, MacGeoghegan, Geohan and many more.

First found in the county of Westmeath (Irish: An Iarmhí) in the Irish Midlands, province of Leinster, in the barony of Moycashel at Kilbeggan where they held a family seat from ancient times. Traditionally, the Gahagans are said to descend from Fiacha, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gahagan research. Another 465 words (33 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1186, 1291, 1580, 1600, 1603, 1650, 1689, 1702, 1763, and 1800 are included under the topic Early Gahagan History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 56 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gahagan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Irish families began to immigrate to British North America and the United States in the 18th century, but the greatest influx of Irish immigrants came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. The earlier settlers came to North America after a great deal of consideration and by paying relatively high fees for their passage. These settlers were primarily drawn by the promise of land. Those later settlers that came during the 1840's were trying to escape the conditions of poverty, starvation, disease, and death that had stricken Ireland. Due to the enormity of their numbers and the late date of their arrival, these immigrants primarily became hired laborers instead of homesteading settlers like their predecessors. An exhaustive search of immigration and passenger lists has revealed many Irish immigrants North America bearing the name Gahagan:

Gahagan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • James Gahagan, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Thomas Gahagan, who landed in Virginia in 1747

Gahagan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Wm. Gahagan, aged 19, who emigrated to the United States from Liverpool, in 1893

Gahagan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Maggie Gahagan, aged 19, who settled in America from Tuam, in 1901
  • Kate Gahagan, aged 22, who landed in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1907
  • Walter H. Gahagan, aged 44, who landed in America, in 1908
  • Martin Gahagan, aged 45, who landed in America from Wolverhamptan, England, in 1911
  • Annie Gahagan, aged 28, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1911

Gahagan Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. Oliver Gahagan U.E. who settled in Home District [York County], Ontario c. 1784UEL List


  • Helen Gahagan (1900-1980), American singer, actress and politician who has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • James Gahagan (1927-1999), American abstract expressionist painter
  • Dennis Gahagan (b. 1817), Irish-born, early settler in San Diego, California, American Judge of the 1st Instance of the District of San Diego (1849 to 1850)
  • William Gahagan, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1896
  • George W. Gahagan, American politician, Member of North Carolina State House of Representatives from Madison County, 1868-69
  • George M. Gahagan (1878-1964), American Democrat politician, Member of Michigan State House of Representatives from Lenawee County 2nd District, 1913-14
  • Andrew Jackson Gahagan, American politician, Mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1878
  • John Gahagan (b. 1958), Scottish former footballer


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  1. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  2. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  3. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  4. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  5. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  7. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  8. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  9. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  10. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  11. ...

The Gahagan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gahagan 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 12 January 2016 at 13:20.

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