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


The Halligan surname originally appeared in Gaelic as O hAilechain or O hAileagain.

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The surname Halligan was first found in County Armagh (Irish: Ard Mhacha) located in the province of Ulster in present day Northern Ireland, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

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 Halligan revealed many variations, including Halligan, Holligan, Hollegan, Hologhan, Hallihan and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Halligan research. Another 208 words (15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Halligan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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To escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, thousands of Irish left their homeland in the 19th century. These migrants typically settled in communities throughout the East Coast of North America, but also joined the wagon trains moving out to the Midwest. Ironically, when the American War of Independence began, many Irish settlers took the side of England, and at the war's conclusion moved north to Canada. These United Empire Loyalists, were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Other Irish immigrants settled in Newfoundland, the Ottawa Valley, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, however, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America and Australia. Many of those numbers, however, did not live through the long sea passage. These Irish settlers to North America were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Irish settlers made an inestimable contribution to the building of the New World. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name Halligan or a variant listed above, including:

Halligan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Richard Halligan, aged 27, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Bridget Halligan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817
  • Daniel Halligan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817
  • James and Margaret Halligan settled in New York in 1820
  • Peter Halligan, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1832


Halligan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Mary Halligan, aged 25, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Victoria Regia"

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  • James Halligan, American head coach of the University of Massachusetts football team
  • John Halligan Jr. (1876-1934), admiral of the United States Navy
  • William E. "Jocko" Halligan (1868-1945), American professional baseball player
  • Caitlin Joan Halligan (b. 1966), American lawyer and the Solicitor General of the state of New York
  • Victor H. Halligan (1892-1973), American football player
  • Bob Halligan Jr. (b. 1953), the American founder of and lead vocalist for the band Ceili Rain
  • Richard Halligan (b. 1943), American musician and composer
  • John Halligan, Irish independent politician
  • Brendan Halligan (b. 1936), Irish economist and a former Labour Party politician
  • William "Billy" Halligan (1886-1950), Irish professional association football player

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  1. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  2. 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.
  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. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  5. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  6. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  11. ...

The Halligan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Halligan 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 4 December 2015 at 13:56.

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