Gilligan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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

Early Origins of the Gilligan family

The surname Gilligan 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 at a place called Magilligans Strand.

Early History of the Gilligan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gilligan research. Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gilligan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gilligan Spelling Variations

Pronunciation, rather than spelling, was what guided scribes and church officials in recording names, a practice that often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname Gilligan are preserved in documents that were examined for evidence of the family's history. The various spellings of Gilligan included Gilligan, Gilegan, Gillegan, Giligan and others.

Early Notables of the Gilligan family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Gilligan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Gilligan migration to the United States +

North America received thousands of Irish immigrants from the English-ruled Ireland during the 19th century. Once in the United States or what would become Canada, these immigrants quickly contributed to the ongoing settling and industrialization processes. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. An exhaustive examination of immigrant and passenger lists has shown many early immigrants bearing the surname of Gilligan:

Gilligan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Michael Gilligan, who arrived in America in 1810 [1]
  • John Gilligan, who landed in New York in 1829 [1]
  • Mary Gilligan, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1855 [1]
  • Owen Gilligan, aged 21, who landed in New York, NY in 1855 [1]
  • M Gilligan, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1860 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Gilligan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gilligan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Gilligan, aged 30 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Lotus" departing 15th April 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 24th June 1847 but he died on board [2]

Australia Gilligan migration to Australia +

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

Gilligan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Francis Gilligan, (b. 1777), aged 24, Irish convict who was convicted in Meath, Ireland for life for burglary, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 29th November 1801, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1801 believed to have died on the ship. [3]
  • Judy Gilligan, aged 18, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "David Malcolm" [4]
  • John Gilligan, aged 24, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1860 aboard the ship "Grand Trianon"

New Zealand Gilligan migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Gilligan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Gilligan, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Gilligan, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Inverness" in 1875
  • Mary Gilligan, aged 19, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Inverness" in 1875
  • Mary Gilligan, aged 19, a farm servant, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Inverness" in 1875

Contemporary Notables of the name Gilligan (post 1700) +

  • John Joyce "Jack" Gilligan (1921-2013), American politician, 62nd Governor of Ohio (1971–1975)
  • John Joseph Gilligan Jr. (b. 1923), American Marine, recipient of the Silver Star, eponym of USS Gilligan (DE-508)
  • James Gilligan, American author
  • Carol Gilligan (b. 1936), American feminist ethicist and psychologist
  • John Wesley Gilligan, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives from Alger District, 1932 [5]
  • John Joyce Gilligan (1921-2013), American Democrat politician, U.S. Representative from Ohio 1st District, 1965-67; Defeated, 1962; Candidate for U.S. Senator from Ohio, 1968; Governor of Ohio, 1971-75 [5]
  • John Gilligan, American politician, First Selectman of Windsor, Connecticut, 1904 [5]
  • J. Frank Gilligan, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 39th District, 1938 [5]
  • J. Arthur Gilligan, American Democrat politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Jefferson County, 1935 [5]
  • Harry Joseph Gilligan Sr. (1895-1978), American politician, Delegate to Ohio convention to ratify 21st amendment, 1933 [5]
  • ... (Another 8 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  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. 77)
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  4. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 5th January 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) David Malcolm 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/davidmalcolm1854.shtml
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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