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There are many Irish surnames being used today in forms that are quite different than their original, ancient forms. Houlihan originally appeared in Gaelic as O hUallachain, which is derived from the word "uallach," which means "proud."

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The surname Houlihan was first found in Thomond (Irish: Tuadh Mumhan), literally North Thomond, the pre-Norman Kingdom of Thomond, since divided between counties Limerick, Tipperary and Clare, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

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 Houlihan revealed spelling variations, including Holohan, O'Holohan, Mulholland, Highland, Hoolohan, Houlihan, Hooligan, Whelton, Oulihan, Oulahen, Whoolahan and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Houlihan research. Another 409 words (29 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Houlihan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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

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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 Houlihan name:

Houlihan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Tade Houlihan, who landed in New York in 1850

Houlihan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Bagh Houlihan, aged 24, who emigrated to the United States from Limerick, in 1900
  • Bridget Houlihan, aged 21, who emigrated to America from Ballyconry, in 1906
  • Ann Houlihan, aged 18, who emigrated to the United States from Knock, Ireland, in 1908
  • Debbie Houlihan, aged 24, who landed in America from Cahenaveen, Ireland, in 1909
  • Annie Houlihan, aged 17, who settled in America from Kilrush, Ireland, in 1910
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Houlihan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • John Houlihan, aged 23, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork, Ireland
  • Mary Houlihan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1838

Houlihan Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Bride Houlihan, aged 23, who emigrated to Argentia, Newfoundland, in 1924
  • Edward Houlihan, aged 13, who emigrated to Argentia, Newfoundland, in 1924

Houlihan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Mary Houlihan, aged 23, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Hyderabad"
  • Bridget Houlihan, aged 18, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "William Stevenson"
  • Martin Houlihan, aged 27, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Nashwauk"

Houlihan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Ellen Houlihan, aged 22, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1876
  • Patrick Houlihan, aged 21, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hudson" in 1879
  • Ellen Houlihan arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "British King" in 1883
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  • John C. Houlihan (1910-1986), American politician, 40th Mayor of Oakland, California
  • Carolyn Houlihan, American actress
  • Christopher Houlihan (b. 1987), American concert organist
  • Joan Houlihan, American poet
  • Michael B. Houlihan, American Democrat politician, Member of Massachusetts State House of Representatives Sixth Hampden District, 1905
  • Michael J. Houlihan (1859-1925), American Democrat politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives, 1885; Member of Connecticut State Senate 15th District, 1891-94
  • Patricia Houlihan, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Rhode Island, 1996
  • Thomas E. Houlihan, American politician, First Selectman of Ansonia, Connecticut, 1919-22
  • William Houlihan, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1996
  • Maureen Houlihan, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1972
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Citations



    Other References

    1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    2. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
    3. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
    4. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
    5. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
    6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    7. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
    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. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
    10. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
    11. ...

    The Houlihan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Houlihan 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 9 May 2016 at 11:11.

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