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

Where did the Irish Heffernan family come from? What is the Irish Heffernan family crest and coat of arms? When did the Heffernan family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Heffernan family history?

There are a multitude of ancient meanings and variations associated with the Irish surnames that are now common throughout the modern world. The original Gaelic form of the name Heffernan is O hIfearnain.

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Within archives, many different spelling variations exist for the surname Heffernan. Ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in the name of the single person being recorded under several different spellings. Different spellings that were found include Heffernan, Heffernam, O'Heffernan, O'Heffron, Hefferen, Hefferney, Heffernon, Hefferon and many more.

First found in County Clare (Irish: An Clįr) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Heffernan research. Another 186 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Heffernan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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North America accepted thousands of Irish immigrants during the 19th century as their homeland suffered under foreign imperialistic rule. Although settlers from the early portion of the century came to North America by choice in search of land, by far the largest influx of Irish immigrants came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Many of these Irish families left the country destitute and in some cases suffering from disease. However, those who survived the long ocean voyage were especially vital to the development of industry in the United States and what would become known as Canada. Research of immigration and passenger lists has shown many early immigrants bearing the name Heffernan:

Heffernan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • John Heffernan, who arrived in New York in 1840
  • Bridget, Catherine, Joanna, Margaret, Mary, Michael, and Patrick Heffernan settled in Boston in 1849
  • William Heffernan, who arrived in Illinois in 1856-1864
  • Patrick Heffernan, who landed in Mississippi in 1858
  • Edmund, Edward, John, Michael, Thomas and William Heffernan arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860


Heffernan Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Dennis Heffernan, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1752

Heffernan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Timothy Heffernan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1805
  • Johanna Heffernan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1812
  • Johana Heffernan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1826
  • Michael Heffernan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1832
  • Maurice Heffernan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1833


Heffernan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Heffernan, aged 21, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Epaminondas"
  • Anne Heffernan, aged 19, a farm servant, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Epaminondas"
  • Patrick Heffernan, aged 40, a farm servant, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Standard"
  • John Heffernan, aged 14, a farm servant, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Standard"
  • Patrick Heffernan, aged 12, a farm sevant, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Standard"


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  • William Heffernan (b. 1940), American novelist
  • James J. Heffernan (1888-1967), U.S. Representative from New York
  • Phillip Heffernan, American publisher
  • Francis P. Heffernan, American Democrat politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Richmond County 1st District, 1931-33; Defeated, 1933
  • Edward J. Heffernan, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Maryland 8th District, 1992
  • Edward Heffernan, American politician, Member of South Dakota State House of Representatives, 1907-10
  • Dina Heffernan, American Democrat politician, Presidential Elector for Florida, 2012
  • Daniel J. Heffernan, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Bristol, 1902
  • Christopher J. Heffernan, American Republican politician, Justice of New York Supreme Court 4th District, 1926-49; Justice of the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court 3rd Department, 1933-49
  • George T. Heffernan, American Democrat politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Montgomery County, 1942

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  1. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  4. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  5. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  6. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  7. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  8. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  9. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  10. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  11. ...

The Heffernan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Heffernan 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 3 December 2015 at 17:33.

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