MacCan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
Throughout history, very few Irish surnames have exclusively maintained their original forms. Before being translated into English, MacCan appeared as Mac Cana, which is derived from the word cana, which means wolf cub.
Early Origins of the MacCan family
The surname MacCan 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" 
Early History of the MacCan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacCan research. Another 38 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1155, 1598 and 1718 are included under the topic Early MacCan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacCan Spelling Variations
Just like the English language, the Gaelic language of Ireland was not standardized in the Middle Ages. Therefore, one's name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origins of the MacCan family name include MacCann, MacCanna, MacCan, MacAnn, MacAn and others.
Early Notables of the MacCan family
Prominent amongst the family at this time was
- Amhlaibh MacCann (d. 1155), leader of the Clann Owen, a huge consortium of Clanns
Migration of the MacCan family
Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North America. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name MacCan: Arthur, Bernard, Charles, Edward, Francis, Henry, Hugh, James, John, Mary, Michael, Owen, Patrick, Peter, Roger, Thomas and William MacCann, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.
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.
- MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)