MacGann History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Throughout history, very few Irish surnames have exclusively maintained their original forms. Before being translated into English, MacGann appeared as Mac Cana, which is derived from the word cana, which means wolf cub.

Early Origins of the MacGann family

The surname MacGann 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" [1]

Early History of the MacGann family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacGann research. Another 38 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1155, 1718 and 1598 are included under the topic Early MacGann History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacGann Spelling Variations

Within the archives researched, many different spelling variations of the surname MacGann were found. These included One reason for the many variations is that scribes and church officials often spelled an individual's name as it sounded. This imprecise method often led to many versions. MacCann, MacCanna, MacCan, MacAnn, MacAn and others.

Early Notables of the MacGann family (pre 1700)

Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacGann Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the MacGann family

A massive amount of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century for North America and Australia in hopes of finding more opportunities and an escape from discrimination and oppression. A great portion of these migrants arrived on the eastern shores of the North American continent. Although they were generally poor and destitute, and, therefore, again discriminated against, these Irish people were heartily welcomed for the hard labor involved in the construction of railroads, canals, roadways, and buildings. Many others were put to work in the newly established factories or agricultural projects that were so essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the world. The Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s initiated the largest wave of Iris immigration. Early North American immigration and passenger lists have revealed a number of people bearing the name MacGann or a variant listed above: 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 MacGann 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.


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)


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