MacScanlen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name MacScanlen originally appeared in Gaelic as O Scannlain or Mac Scannlain, which are both derived from the word "scannal," which means "contention."
Early Origins of the MacScanlen family
The surname MacScanlen was first found in County Louth (Irish: Lú) the smallest county in Ireland, located on the East coast, in the Province of Leinster. "The Mac Scanlans were a sept of Louth, from whom the ancient locality of Bally Mac Scanlan took its name. The first of the family mentioned by D'Alton is Patrick O'Scanlan, who was made archbishop or Armagh in 1261. "  According to O'Hart, the family claim descent from the Heremon Kings of Ireland, more specifically through the O'Shaughnessey pedigree as Tuadan, brother of Duach was the ancestor of O'Scannla which is Anglicized as Scanlan.  However, MacLysaght claims that there are two quite distinct septs; the O Scannlain of Munster and MacScannlain of Louth. The latter claimed Bally Mac Scanlan (Ballymacscanlan) as their ancient homeland. He continues pointing out that there are six places names Ballymacscanlan throughout Ireland eluding to the family's widespread distribution. 
Early History of the MacScanlen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacScanlen research. Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 127 and 1272 are included under the topic Early MacScanlen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacScanlen Spelling Variations
Irish names were rarely spelled consistently in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations of the name MacScanlen dating from that time include Scanlan, O'Scannell, O'Scanlan, O'Scanlon, MacScanlan, Scanlin and many more.
Early Notables of the MacScanlen family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early MacScanlen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacScanlen family
The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute due to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United States and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the MacScanlen family relocated to North American shores quite early: Anne, Charles, Daniel, Denis, Edward, James, John, Michael, Patrick, Peter, Thomas, Timothy and William Scanlan, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1800 and 1870.
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- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
- ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)