Kernan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The original Gaelic form of Kernan was Mac Thighearnain, which is derived from the word "tighearna," which means "lord."

Early Origins of the Kernan family

The surname Kernan was first found in County Cavan, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Early History of the Kernan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kernan research. Another 53 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kernan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kernan Spelling Variations

Irish names were rarely spelled consistently in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations of the name Kernan dating from that time include Kiernan, MacKiernan, Tiernan, McKernan, McKernon, McKernin, McKernen and many more.

Early Notables of the Kernan family (pre 1700)

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


United States Kernan migration to the United States +

During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the Kernan family in North America:

Kernan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Kernan, aged 21, who landed in New York in 1802 [1]
  • Patk Kernan, aged 24, who landed in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1803 [1]
  • Manus Kernan, who arrived in America in 1805 [1]
  • Patrick Kernan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817 [1]
  • John Kernan, who arrived in Mississippi in 1831 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Kernan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kernan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Kernan who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Erin's Queen" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in 1847 [2]
  • Miss. Catherine Kernan, aged 20 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Ayrshire" departing 4th July 1847 from Newry, Ireland; the ship arrived on 19th August 1847 but she died on board [3]
  • Miss. Margaret Kernan, aged 23 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Sir Henry Pottinger" departing 29th May 1847 from Cork, Ireland; the ship arrived on 7th August 1847 but she died on board [3]
  • Miss. Mary Kernan who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Ayrshire" departing 4th July 1847 from Newry, Ireland; the ship arrived on 19th August 1847 but she died on board [3]
  • Mrs. Mary Kernan, aged 28 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Sir Henry Pottinger" departing 29th May 1847 from Cork, Ireland; the ship arrived on 7th August 1847 but she died on board [3]

Australia Kernan migration to Australia +

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

Kernan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Wm. Kernan, a blacksmith, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Joseph Kernan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Amity Hall" in 1850 [4]

New Zealand Kernan 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:

Kernan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Ann Kernan, (b. 1851), aged 23, Irish domestic servant, from Roscommon travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Nelson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 31st December 1874 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Kernan (post 1700) +

  • Brigadier-General Redmond Francis Kernan (1895-1982), American Member of War Department Special Staff (1945-1946) [6]
  • Joseph Kernan, American professional baseball player
  • Joseph D. "Joe" Kernan (b. 1955), United States Navy vice admiral
  • James Lawrence Kernan (1838-1912), American theater manager and philanthropist
  • Joseph "Joe" Eugene Kernan (b. 1946), American politician
  • Michael J. Kernan (1884-1952), American investment broker and New York State Senator
  • Francis Kernan (1816-1892), American lawyer and politician
  • Francis K. Kernan, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1932, 1936 [7]
  • Francis Kernan (1816-1892), American Democrat politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Oneida County 1st District, 1861; U.S. Representative from New York 21st District, 1863-65 [7]
  • Edward F. Kernan, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1916 [7]
  • ... (Another 11 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ 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. 38)
  3. ^ 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. 82)
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) AMITY HALL 1850. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850AmityHall.gif
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, March 30) Redmond Kernan. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Kernan/Redmond_Francis/USA.html
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 6) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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