Show ContentsGavaghan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Many variations of the name Gavaghan 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 Gavaghan family

The surname Gavaghan 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 Gavaghan family

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

Gavaghan Spelling Variations

The recording of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. Since the general population did not know how to read or write, they could only specify how their names should be recorded orally. Research into the name Gavaghan revealed spelling variations, including Gavigan, Gavin, Gavihan, Gavahan, Gavan, Gavagain, Gavagan, Gaven, Gavin, Gavighan and many more.

Early Notables of the Gavaghan family

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

United States Gavaghan 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 Gavaghan name:

Gavaghan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Gavaghan, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1849
  • Dominic and Michael Gavaghan, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1876

Canada Gavaghan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gavaghan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Timothy Gavaghan, aged 67 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Ajax" departing 16th April 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 23rd June 1847 but he died on board [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Gavaghan (post 1700) +

  • Thomas J. Gavaghan, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1920, 1924, 1928 [3]

  1. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  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. 77)
  3. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 3) . Retrieved from on Facebook