Kiernan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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

Early Origins of the Kiernan family

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

Early History of the Kiernan family

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

Kiernan Spelling Variations

A name was often recorded during the Middle Ages under several different spelling variations during the life of its bearer because literacy was rare there was no real push to clearly define any of the languages found in the British Isles at that time. Variations found of the name Kiernan include Kiernan, MacKiernan, Tiernan, McKernan, McKernon, McKernin, McKernen and many more.

Early Notables of the Kiernan family (pre 1700)

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

Kiernan Ranking

In the United States, the name Kiernan is the 8,048th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]


United States Kiernan migration to the United States +

A great mass of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century, seeking relief from various forms of social, religious, and economic discrimination. This Irish exodus was primarily to North America. If the migrants survived the long ocean journey, many unfortunately would find more discrimination in the colonies of British North America and the fledgling United States of America. These newly arrived Irish were, however, wanted as a cheap source of labor for the many large agricultural and industrial projects that were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the western world. Early immigration and passenger lists indicate many people bearing the Kiernan name:

Kiernan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Hugh Kiernan who arrived in Philadelphia in 1802
  • John Kiernan, who landed in Maryland in 1809 [2]
  • Patrick Kiernan, aged 32, who arrived in Maryland in 1813 [2]
  • James Kiernan, aged 25, who arrived in Maryland in 1813 [2]
  • Jaime Kiernan, who landed in Puerto Rico in 1816 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Kiernan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kiernan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Kiernan, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Breeze" from Dublin, Ireland
  • Judith Kiernan, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Breeze" from Dublin, Ireland
  • Miss. Catherine Kiernan, aged 4 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Greenock" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [3]
  • Miss. Ellen Kiernan, aged 10 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Ann Kenny" departing from the port of Waterford, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [3]
  • Mr. James Kiernan, aged 38 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 August 1847 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Kiernan migration to Australia +

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

Kiernan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Kiernan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Mary Dugdale" in 1840 [4]
  • May Kiernan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Mary Dugdale" in 1840 [4]
  • Anne Kiernan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Mary Dugdale" in 1840 [4]
  • Owen Kiernan, aged 17, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Trafalgar" [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Kiernan (post 1700) +

  • Patrick "Pat" Kiernan (b. 1968), New York City news anchor
  • Luke A. Kiernan Jr., American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New Jersey 10th District, 1944 [6]
  • Lawrence D. Kiernan, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from New York County 18th District, 1868-70 [6]
  • Kathy Kiernan, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Wisconsin, 2004 [6]
  • John J. Kiernan, American politician, Member of New York State Senate 2nd District, 1882-85 [6]
  • John F. Kiernan, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 1st District, 1938 [6]
  • John B. Kiernan, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1996 [6]
  • James H. Kiernan, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Rhode Island, 1928, 1936, 1940, 1944, 1948; Speaker of the Rhode Island State House of Representatives, 1937-39 [6]
  • James F. Kiernan, American Democratic Party politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Kings County 16th District, 1923 [6]
  • Greta Kiernan, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Jersey, 1988 [6]
  • ... (Another 15 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. John Joseph Kiernan (d. 1912), aged 24, American Third Class passenger from Jersey City, New Jersey who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [7]
  • Mr. Philip Kiernan (d. 1912), aged 22, Irish Third Class passenger from Aughnacliffe, Longford who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [7]


  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ 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)
  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. 38)
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MARY DUGDALE 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840MaryDugdale.gif
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) TRAFALGAR 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850Trafalgar-March.htm
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 6) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  7. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


Houseofnames.com on Facebook