Throughout history, very few Irish surnames have exclusively maintained their original forms. Before being translated into English, MacAn appeared as Mac Cana, which is derived from the word cana, which means wolf cub.
Early Origins of the MacAn family
The surname MacAn was first found in County Armagh
(Irish: Ard Mhacha) located in the province of Ulster
in present day Northern Ireland
, at Clanbrasil, a region on the southern shore of Lough Neagh. The family supplanted the O'Graveys at the time of Strongbow's Anglo- Norman invasion
in 1172 as lords of this area and became known as the Lords of Clanbrassil. One of the earliest records of the name was Amhlaibh Mc Canna (died 1155), described by the Four Masters as "pillar of chivalry and vigour of Cinel Eoghin" CITATION[CLOSE]
MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
Early History of the MacAn family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacAn research.Another 75 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1155, 1718 and 1598 are included under the topic Early MacAn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacAn 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 MacAn include MacCann, MacCanna, MacCan, MacAnn, MacAn and others.
Early Notables of the MacAn family (pre 1700)
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacAn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacAn family to the New World and Oceana
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 MacAn family came to North America quite early:
MacAn Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- Jacques Macan, who arrived in Virginia in 1700 CITATION[CLOSE]
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)
The MacAn 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: Crescit sub pondere virtus
Motto Translation: Virtue thrives under oppression.