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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

In its ancient Gaelic form, the Irish name Mahan was written Mac Mathghamhna, which later became Mac Mathuna. Both names are derived from the word "mathghamhan," which means "bear."


The surname Mahan was first found in County Clare (Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where the MacMahons were lords of Corca Baisgin; and possessed the greater part of the baronies of Moyarta and Clonderlaw.

The scribes who created documents long before either the Gaelic or English language resembled their standardized versions of today recorded words as they sounded. Consequently, in the Middle Ages the names of many people were recorded under different spellings each time they were written down. Research on the Mahan family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including MacMahon, MacMann, MacMahan, MacMohan and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mahan research. Another 219 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1119, 1715, 1780, 1519, 1606, 1644, 1600, 1650, 1643, 1650, 1660, 1737, 1707, 1715, 1715, 1737, 1680, 1747, 1727, 1737, 1737 and 1747 are included under the topic Early Mahan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Notable amongst the family name at this time was Séamus mac Pilib Mac Mathghamhna (died 1519), was Bishop of Derry. Hugh Oge MacMahon (1606-1644), was an Irish conspirator, was probably of Sir Brian MacHugh Oge MacMahon, Lord of the Dartree in the county of Monaghan. Herber MacMahon (1600-1650), Bishop of Clogher...

Another 67 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Mahan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Irish immigrants began to leave the English-controlled Ireland in sizable numbers during the late 18th century. Many of these Irish immigrated to British North America or the United States in the hopes of gaining their own tract of farmland. This pattern of migration grew steadily until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine caused a great exodus of immigrants to North Ameri ca. These immigrants differed from their predecessors in that they were desperately fleeing the disease and starvation that plagued their homeland, and many were entirely destitute when they arrived in North America. Although these penniless immigrants were not warmly welcomed when they arrived, they were critical to the rapid development of the United States and what would become known as Canada. Many went to populate the western frontiers and others provided the cheap labor the new manufacturing sector and the building of bridges, roads, railways, and canals required. A thorough examination of immigration and passenger lists has revealed some of the earliest people to arrive in North America with name Mahan or one of its variants:

Mahan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • James Mahan, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745
  • Cornelius Mahan, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1765

Mahan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Sarah Mahan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Pat Mahan, aged 34, arrived in New York in 1812
  • John Mahan, who landed in Albany, NY in 1834
  • Thomas Mahan, who arrived in Tippecanoe County, Ind in 1842
  • Thomas Mahan, aged 10, landed in New York, NY in 1850
  • ...

Mahan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • John Mahan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1822
  • Jane Mahan, aged 27, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Neptune" in 1834
  • J Mahan, who arrived in Victoria, British Columbia in 1862

Mahan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Bedelia Mahan, aged 22, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "James Jardine"
  • Daniel Mahan, aged 1, arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "James Jardine"

  • Larry Mahan (b. 1943), American rodeo champion, inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1979
  • Sean Christopher Mahan (b. 1980), former American NFL football center who played from 2003-2009
  • Edward William "Eddie" Mahan (1892-1975), American football halfback for Harvard, inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951
  • Kerrigan Mahan (b. 1955), American voice actor
  • Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914), American naval flag officer, eponym of four ships
  • Dennis Hart Mahan (1802-1871), noted American military theorist and professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point from 1824-1871
  • Asa Mahan (1800-1889), American first president of Oberlin College
  • Armand Mahan (b. 1983), Ivorian professional football player

  • Genealogy of the Bennington Family by William Kearney Hall.
  • Mahan and Allied Families by Denise Kay Mahan Moore.

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: Sic nos sic sacra tuemur
Motto Translation: Thus we guard our sacred rights.


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    Other References

    1. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
    2. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
    3. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
    4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    5. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
    6. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
    7. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
    8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    9. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
    10. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
    11. ...

    The Mahan Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Mahan Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

    This page was last modified on 18 March 2016 at 08:07.

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