MacGan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Throughout history, very few Irish surnames have exclusively maintained their original forms. Before being translated into English, MacGan appeared as Mac Cana, which is derived from the word cana, which means wolf cub.
Early Origins of the MacGan family
The surname MacGan 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 MacGan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacGan research. Another 38 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1155, 1718 and 1598 are included under the topic Early MacGan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacGan Spelling Variations
Many spelling variations of the surname MacGan can be found in the archives. One reason for these variations is that ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. The different spellings that were found include MacCann, MacCanna, MacCan, MacAnn, MacAn and others.
Early Notables of the MacGan family (pre 1700)
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacGan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacGan family
Irish families left their homeland in astonishing numbers during the 19th century in search of a better life. Although individual reasons vary, most of these Irish families suffered from extreme poverty, lack of work opportunities, and exorbitant rents in their homeland. Many decided to travel to Australia or North America in the hopes of finding greater opportunities and land. The Irish immigrants that came to North America initially settled on the East Coast, often in major centers such as Boston or New York. But like the many other cultures to settle in North America, the Irish traveled to almost any region they felt held greater promise; as a result, many Irish with gold fever moved all the way out to the Pacific coast. Others before that time left for land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula, or the Maritimes as United Empire Loyalists, for many Irish did choose to side with the English during the American War of Independence. The earliest wave of Irish migration, however, occurred during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the MacGan name: 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.
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The MacGan 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.
- ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)