The original Gaelic form of Kearnan was Mac Thighearnain, which is derived from the word "tighearna," which means "lord."
Early Origins of the Kearnan family
The surname Kearnan was first found in County Cavan
, where they held a family seat
from ancient times.
Early History of the Kearnan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kearnan research.Another 187 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kearnan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Kearnan Spelling Variations
Just like the English language, the Gaelic language of Ireland
was not standardized in the Middle Ages. Therefore, one's name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer. Spelling variations
revealed in the search for the origins of the Kearnan family name include Kiernan, MacKiernan, Tiernan, McKernan, McKernon, McKernin, McKernen and many more.
Early Notables of the Kearnan family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Kearnan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Kearnan family to the New World and Oceana
In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine
of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia
. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the Kearnan family came to North America quite early: Hugh Kiernan who arrived in Philadelphia in 1802; followed by James in 1826; Charles, James, John, Michael, Patrick, Thomas Kiernan all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870.