Keegan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Hundreds of years ago, the Gaelic name used by the Keegan family in Ireland was Mac Aodhagain, which means son of Aodh, a personal name usually Anglicized as Hugh. A Brehon family originally of Uí Maine, which settled in Ormond. [1]

The family claim descent from Saint and Bishop Eoghan (d. 618), "of Ardsratha, now Ardstraw, in the county of Tyrone and diocese of Derry. Descended from Ugaine Mor on the father's side he was thus connected by kindred with the chieftains of Leinster, while through his mother, Muindech, he claimed relationship with the Ulster families." [2]

Another source confirms the name descends from "the cineal Eoghain, [who] were the ' genus' or progeny of Eoghan, a great Irish chief contemporary with St. Patrick. The name is Anglicised to Owen and Eugene. " [3]

Early Origins of the Keegan family

The surname Keegan was first found in County Tipperary (Irish: Thiobraid Árann), established in the 13th century in South-central Ireland, in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

Early History of the Keegan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keegan research. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 117 and 1172 are included under the topic Early Keegan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Keegan Spelling Variations

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 Keegan revealed spelling variations, including Egan, Eagan, Keegan, MacEgan, Kegan, Keagan and many more.

Early Notables of the Keegan family (pre 1700)

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


United States Keegan migration to the United States +

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 Keegan family came to North America quite early:

Keegan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Timothy Keegan, aged 30, who arrived in New York in 1812 [4]
  • James Keegan, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840 [4]
  • Peter Keegan, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1849 [4]
  • Catherine Keegan, aged 23, who landed in New York, NY in 1850 [4]
  • Michael Keegan, who landed in Mississippi in 1854 [4]

Canada Keegan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Keegan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Thomas J Keegan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1810
  • Mrs. A. Keegan, aged 40 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Pacha" departing from the port of Cork, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle In June 1847 [5]
  • Mrs. Ann Keegan, aged 40 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Bridgetown" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle In September 1847 [5]
  • Miss. Ann Keegan, aged 2 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Bridgetown" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle In September 1847 [5]
  • Miss. Catherine Keegan, aged 12 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Bridgetown" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle In August 1847 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Keegan migration to Australia +

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

Keegan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr.Christopher Keegan, (Keagan), (b. 1798), aged 21, Irish labourer who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Bencoolen" on 24th April 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia before being transferred to Tasmania via the "Admiral Cockburn", he died in 1819 whilst walking to his placement [6]
  • Mr. James Keegan, English convict who was convicted in Liverpool, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Barossa" on 27th August 1841, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • Margaret Keegan, aged 35, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Joseph Soames" [8]
  • Mary Keegan, aged 19, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Aliquis"
  • Margaret Keegan, aged 19, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Thomas Arbuthnot"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Keegan 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:

Keegan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Pat Keegan, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wyvern" in 1856
  • William Keegan, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Armstrong" in 1865
  • Patrick Keegan, aged 36, a master baker, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Edwin Fox" in 1875
  • Ann Keegan, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Edwin Fox" in 1875
  • Thomas Keegan, aged 24, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hudson" in 1879

Contemporary Notables of the name Keegan (post 1700) +

  • Robert Charles Keegan (1920-2001), American Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher
  • Scarlett Keegan (b. 1984), American model and actress
  • Andrew Keegan (b. 1979), American actor
  • Claire Keegan (b. 1968), Irish writer
  • Dame Geraldine Mary Marcella Keegan DBE, Head teacher of St. Mary's College, Derry
  • Rupert Keegan (b. 1955), retired English racing driver
  • Joseph Kevin Keegan OBE (b. 1951), English former international footballer
  • Gerard "Ged" Keegan (b. 1955), retired English footballer
  • Michelle Elizabeth Keegan (b. 1987), English actress who plays Tina McIntyre in the soap opera Coronation Street
  • Victor Keegan (b. 1940), British journalist and author
  • ... (Another 4 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. John Keegan, British Trimmer from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [9]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. John Ernest Keegan, English Trimmer from Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [10]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. James Keegan (d. 1912), aged 38, English Leading Fireman from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [11]


The Keegan Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fortitudine et prudentia
Motto Translation: With fortitude and prudence.


Suggested Readings for the name Keegan +

  • 3159 Out of the Isle of Destiny by Teresa Murphy.

  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ 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. 36)
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bencoolen
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barossa
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) JOSEPH SOMES / SOAMES 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850JosephSomes.htm
  9. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  10. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  11. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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