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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Where did the Irish Kernaghan family come from? What is the Irish Kernaghan family crest and coat of arms? When did the Kernaghan family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Kernaghan family history?

The original Gaelic form of the name Kernaghan is O Cearnachain, which is derived from the word "cearnach," which means "victorious."


Because early scribes and church officials often spelled names as they sounded, a person could have many various spellings of his name.Many different spelling variations of the surname Kernaghan were found in the archives researched. These included Kernahan, Kernaghan, Carnahan, Carnaghan and others.

First found in County Donegal (Irish: Dún na nGall), northwest Ireland in the province of Ulster, sometimes referred to as County Tyrconnel, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kernaghan research. Another 179 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 117 and 1172 are included under the topic Early Kernaghan History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Kernaghan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


A massive wave of Irish immigrants hit North America during the 19th century. Although many early Irish immigrants made a carefully planned decision to leave left Ireland for the promise of free land, by the 1840s immigrants were fleeing a famine stricken land in desperation. The condition of Ireland during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s can be attributed to a rapidly expanding population and English imperial policies. Those Irish families that arrived in North America were essential to its rapid social, industrial, and economic development. Passenger and immigration lists have revealed a number of early Irish immigrants bearing the name Kernaghan:

Kernaghan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Robert Kernaghan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815
  • Alexander Kernaghan who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1830
  • John Kernaghan (1840) and William Kernaghan (1856) settled in Philadelphia, PA

Kernaghan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • James Kernaghan arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Andrew Jackson" in 1865


  • Mae W. Kernaghan, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1944
  • H. Kernaghan, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Mississippi, 1888
  • Mae W. Kernaghan, American politician, former Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
  • Charles Kernaghan (b. 1948), American executive director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights
  • Alan Kernaghan (b. 1967), Irish former footballer
  • Mike Kernaghan (b. 1955), New Zealand bronze medalist lawn bowler at the 2002 Commonwealth Games
  • Ray Kernaghan, Australian country music artist, is the father of country music artists Lee Kernaghan and Tania Kernaghan and has twelve gold and two platinum records
  • Eileen Kernaghan (b. 1939), Canadian three-time Aurora Award winning novelist
  • Tania Maree Kernaghan (b. 1968), Australian country music singer
  • Lee Kernaghan OAM (b. 1964), Australian country music singer and songwriter


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  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  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. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  7. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  8. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  9. 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.
  10. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  11. ...

The Kernaghan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kernaghan 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 6 October 2015 at 15:31.

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