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

Throughout history, very few Irish surnames have exclusively maintained their original forms. Before being translated into English, Gann appeared as Mac Cana, which is derived from the word cana, which means wolf cub.


The surname Gann was first found in County Armagh (Irish: Ard Mhacha) located in the province of Ulster in present day Northern Ireland, at Clanbrasil, a region on the southern shore of Lough Neagh. The family supplanted the O'Graveys at the time of Strongbow's Anglo- Norman invasion in 1172 as lords of this area and became known as the Lords of Clanbrassil. One of the earliest records of the name was Amhlaibh Mc Canna (died 1155), described by the Four Masters as "pillar of chivalry and vigour of Cinel Eoghin" [1]

Names from the Middle Ages demonstrate many spelling variations. This is because the recording scribe or church official often decided as to how a person's name was spelt and in what language. Research into the name Gann revealed many variations, including MacCann, MacCanna, MacCan, MacAnn, MacAn and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gann research. Another 75 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1155, 1718 and 1598 are included under the topic Early Gann History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gann Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute do to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United Sates and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the Gann family relocated to North American shores quite early:

Gann Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Hans Jerg Gann, who arrived in America in 1728
  • John Gann, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1765
  • Johan Gann, aged 30, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1792

Gann Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • A Gann, aged 38, landed in New Orleans, La in 1829
  • John Gann, aged 22, who landed in America, in 1892
  • Rachel Gann, aged 16, who settled in America, in 1892
  • Elisa Gann, aged 18, who emigrated to the United States, in 1893

Gann Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Ellen Gann, aged 32, who settled in America from Dover, England, in 1913
  • James Gann, aged 34, who emigrated to the United States from Dover, England, in 1913
  • Matilda Gann, aged 3, who landed in America from Dover, England, in 1913
  • Louis Gann, aged 38, who emigrated to the United States, in 1922
  • Joseph Gann, aged 24, who emigrated to America, in 1922

Gann Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Austin Gann, aged 37, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Norman"


  • Paul Gann, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Senator from California, 1980
  • Keith D. Gann, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from California, 2000 (39th District), 2002 (46th District), 2004 (46th District)
  • John Gann, American politician, Mayor of Sylacauga, Alabama, 1972
  • Donald L. Gann, American Republican politician, Member of Missouri State House of Representatives from Christian County; elected 1964
  • William Delbert "W. D." Gann (1878-1955), American stock market analyst, creator of Gann angles
  • Kyle Eugene Gann (b. 1955), American composer and music critic
  • Ernest K. Gann (1910-1991), American author, sailor, fisherman and airline captain
  • Thomas Gann (1867-1938), Irish medical doctor, best known for as an amateur archaeologist who explored the ruins of the Maya civilization


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: Crescit sub pondere virtus
Motto Translation: Virtue thrives under oppression.


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  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)

Other References

  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  3. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  4. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  5. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  7. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  8. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Gann Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gann 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 7 October 2015 at 12:38.

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