Kegan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Hundreds of years ago, the Gaelic name used by the Kegan 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 Kegan family

The surname Kegan 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 Kegan family

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

Kegan Spelling Variations

Irish names were rarely spelled consistently in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations of the name Kegan dating from that time include Egan, Eagan, Keegan, MacEgan, Kegan, Keagan and many more.

Early Notables of the Kegan family (pre 1700)

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


United States Kegan migration to the United States +

To escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, thousands of Irish left their homeland in the 19th century. These migrants typically settled in communities throughout the East Coast of North America, but also joined the wagon trains moving out to the Midwest. Ironically, when the American War of Independence began, many Irish settlers took the side of England, and at the war's conclusion moved north to Canada. These United Empire Loyalists, were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Other Irish immigrants settled in Newfoundland, the Ottawa Valley, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, however, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America and Australia. Many of those numbers, however, did not live through the long sea passage. These Irish settlers to North America were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Irish settlers made an inestimable contribution to the building of the New World. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name Kegan or a variant listed above, including:

Kegan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Kegan, who landed in New York, NY in 1832 [4]
  • John Kegan, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1852 [4]

Australia Kegan migration to Australia +

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

Kegan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Catherine Kegan, aged 17, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Northern Light" [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Kegan (post 1700) +

  • Peter Kegan, American politician, Member of Dakota territorial House of Representatives, 1863-65 [6]
  • Kegan Swyers, American film editor


The Kegan 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.


  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. ^ Lower, 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. ^ South Australian Register Monday 9th April 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Norther Light 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/northernlight1855.shtml
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 7) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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