Show ContentsGavagan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Many variations of the name Gavagan 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 Gavagan family

The surname Gavagan 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." [1]

Early History of the Gavagan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gavagan research. Another 76 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1689, 1640, 1679 and 1929 are included under the topic Early Gavagan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gavagan Spelling Variations

Those scribes in Ireland during the Middle Ages recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in this era many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research on the Gavagan family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including Gavigan, Gavin, Gavihan, Gavahan, Gavan, Gavagain, Gavagan, Gaven, Gavin, Gavighan and many more.

Early Notables of the Gavagan family (pre 1700)

Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gavagan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Australia Gavagan migration to Australia +

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

Gavagan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Gavagan, (b. 1824), aged 11, British Brick Maker and Well Sinker who was convicted in London, England for 7 years for theft and larceny, transported aboard the "Asia" on 5th November 1835, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land)1836 [2]
  • Mr. Morris Gavagan, (b. 1800), aged 38, Irish labourer who was convicted in Westmeath, Ireland for 7 years for receiving stolen goods, transported aboard the "Clyde" on 11th May 1838, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [3]
  • Winifred Gavagan, aged 18, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Admiral Boxer"

Contemporary Notables of the name Gavagan (post 1700) +

  • Joseph Andrew Gavagan (1892-1968), American Democratic Party politician, Member of New York State Assembly from New York County 22nd District, 1923-29; U.S. Representative from New York 21st District, 1929-43 [4]
  • Francis P. Gavagan, American Democratic Party politician, Postmaster at Chesterton, Indiana, 1936-53 [4]

  1. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  2. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th January 2020). Retrieved from
  3. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th February 2021). Retrieved from
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 3) . Retrieved from on Facebook