Gahan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish name Gahan has a long Gaelic heritage to its credit. The original Gaelic form of the name Gahan is Mag Eachain.

Early Origins of the Gahan family

The surname Gahan was first found in County Londonderry (Irish: Doire), a Northern Irish county also known as Derry, in the province of Ulster, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

Early History of the Gahan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gahan research. Another 67 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1641, 1730, 1804, 1730, 1747 and 1761 are included under the topic Early Gahan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gahan Spelling Variations

People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the surname Gahan that are preserved in archival documents are Gahan, Gaghan, Gagham, Getham, Gaham, Gahame and others.

Early Notables of the Gahan family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was William Gahan (1730-1804), Irish ecclesiastic and author, born in Dublin in June 1730. He was of a Leinster sept, the original name of which was O'Gaoithin, anglicised Gahan. He was educated at Dublin, became a member of the Augustinian order there, and in 1747 entered the Catholic university of Louvain, where he studied for eleven...
Another 64 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gahan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Gahan migration to the United States +

Irish families left their homeland in astonishing numbers during the 19th century in search of a better life. Although individual reasons vary, most of these Irish families suffered from extreme poverty, lack of work opportunities, and exorbitant rents in their homeland. Many decided to travel to Australia or North America in the hopes of finding greater opportunities and land. The Irish immigrants that came to North America initially settled on the East Coast, often in major centers such as Boston or New York. But like the many other cultures to settle in North America, the Irish traveled to almost any region they felt held greater promise; as a result, many Irish with gold fever moved all the way out to the Pacific coast. Others before that time left for land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula, or the Maritimes as United Empire Loyalists, for many Irish did choose to side with the English during the American War of Independence. The earliest wave of Irish migration, however, occurred during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the Gahan name:

Gahan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Gahan who landed in Pennsylvania in 1773
Gahan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Gahan, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1818
  • William Gahan, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1818 [1]
  • James Gahan, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1842
  • John Gahan, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1856
  • John P Gahan, who arrived in Arkansas in 1856 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Gahan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gahan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Hugh Gahan, who arrived in Canada in 1820
  • John Gahan, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843
  • Mr. John Gahan who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Free Trader" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in September 1847 [2]
  • Miss. Judith Gahan, aged 2 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Margrette" departing 2nd May 1847 from New Ross, Ireland; the ship arrived on 8th July 1847 but she died on board [3]

Australia Gahan migration to Australia +

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

Gahan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Elizabeth Gahan, Irish convict who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for life for murder, transported aboard the "Elizabeth" on 26th July 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • Mr. William Gahan, (b. 1806), aged 23, Irish ploughman who was convicted in Tipperary, Ireland for life for burglary, transported aboard the "Eliza" on 2nd March 1829, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1830 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Gahan (post 1700) +

  • Gordon Ward Gahan (1945-1984), American photographer, best known for his work with National Geographic
  • Thomas J. Gahan, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1888, 1904 [6]
  • Theodore F. Gahan, American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Lycoming County, 1883-84 [6]
  • William Gahan (1732-1804), Irish priest and author
  • Charles Joseph Gahan (1862-1939), Irish Entomologist
  • Matthew Gahan (b. 1975), Australian baseball player from Lismore, New South Wales
  • Graeme Gahan (b. 1942), former Australian rules footballer
  • George Tomas Gahan JP (1912-1980), Australian politician and Victorian amateur boxer, Mayor of Prahan, Victoria, 1965-1966, 1970-1971
  • David Gahan (b. 1962), English baritone pop lead-singer
  • Gahan Allen Wilson (1930-2019), American author, cartoonist and illustrator known for his cartoons depicting horror-fantasy situations


The Gahan 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: Dum spiro spero
Motto Translation: While I have breath I hope.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 29)
  3. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 76)
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd March 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/elizabeth
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th February 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/eliza
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 12) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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