Keevan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The surname Keevan comes from the original Irish O Geibheannaigh or Mac Geibheannaigh.
Early Origins of the Keevan family
The surname Keevan was first found in County Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) part of the province of Connacht, located on the west coast of the Island, which is the principal homeland of the sept O Geibheannaigh. The O Geibheannaigh sept belonged to the Ui Maine (Hy Many) and descended from Geibheannach, the son of a Hy Many chief slain in 971. There was also a County Fermanagh sept called Mac Geibheannaigh mentioned in the Annals of Loch Ce in 1308.
Early History of the Keevan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keevan research. Another 73 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1590 and 1599 are included under the topic Early Keevan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Keevan Spelling Variations
The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name Keevan were encountered in the archives: Keaveney, Keveney, Kevany, Geaveny, Geaney, Geane, Gaine, Gainey, O'Keaveney, O'Geaney and many more.
Early Notables of the Keevan family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Keevan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Keevan family
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 Keevan family came to North America quite early: William Gainey, who settled in Maryland in 1673; Samuel and Alice Gaine, who immigrated to Nova Scotia in 1750; Hannah, Margaret, and William Keveney, who arrived in New York in 1805.
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: Turris fortis mihi Deus
Motto Translation: God is a tower of strength to me.