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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

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

Many Irish names are merely English translations of Gaelic names. The name Galligan was a translation of the Gaelic name Mac Giollagain, which is derived from the word "giolla," which means "lad."

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Many different spelling variations of the surname Galligan exist in the archives researched. Ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. Different spellings that were found include Gilligan, Gilegan, Gillegan, Giligan and others.

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 at a place called Magilligans Strand.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Galligan research. Another 184 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Galligan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Galligan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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During the middle of the 19th century, Irish families often experienced extreme poverty and racial discrimination in their own homeland under English rule. Record numbers died of disease and starvation, and many others, deciding against such a fate, boarded ships bound for North America. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Unfortunately, many of those Irish that arrived in Canada or the United States still experienced economic and racial discrimination. Although often maligned, these Irish people were essential to the rapid development of these countries because they provided the cheap labor required for the many canals, roads, railways, and other projects required for strong national infrastructures. Eventually the Irish went on to make contributions in the less backbreaking and more intellectual arenas of commerce, education, and the arts. Research early immigration and passenger lists revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Galligan:

Galligan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Ann Galligan, aged 32, who settled in America, in 1894

Galligan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Andrew Galligan, aged 34, who landed in America from Cavan, in 1900
  • Bernard Galligan, aged 25, who emigrated to America from Ballinagh, Ireland, in 1907
  • Anne Galligan, aged 7, who landed in America from Oldcastle, Ireland, in 1908
  • Annie Galligan, aged 25, who emigrated to the United States from Newtown, Ireland, in 1910
  • Annie Galligan, aged 20, who emigrated to the United States from Gavan, Ireland, in 1914


Galligan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Mary Galligan, aged 24, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "Lady Ann"

Galligan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • James Galligan, aged 48, a farmer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1874
  • Susan Galligan, aged 33, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1874
  • Mary J. Galligan, aged 1, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1874
  • Charles J. Galligan, aged 3 months, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1874

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  • Zachary Wolfe "Zach" Galligan (b. 1964), American actor
  • Thomas R. Galligan (b. 1947), American politician who served as mayor of Jeffersonville, Indiana USA (1996 to 2003)
  • Thomas C. Galligan Jr, American academic, 8th President of Colby-Sawyer College
  • John T. Galligan (1865-1937), American professional baseball player
  • M. Devin Galligan (d. 2003), founder of the charitable organization "Strain the Brain"
  • Peter Paul Galligan (1888-1966), Irish Sinn Féin politician
  • Miss Margaret Galligan, Irish 2nd Class passenger residing in New York, New York, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking


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  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  3. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  4. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  5. 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).
  6. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  7. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. 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. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  10. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  11. ...

The Galligan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Galligan 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 28 November 2014 at 16:35.

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