McAnn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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

Early Origins of the McAnn family

The surname McAnn 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 McAnn family

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

McAnn Spelling Variations

The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name McAnn were encountered in the archives: MacCann, MacCanna, MacCan, MacAnn, MacAn and others.

Early Notables of the McAnn family (pre 1700)

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


Australia McAnn migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

McAnn Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John McAnn, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Florentia" on 11th August 1830, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [2]


The McAnn 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)
  2. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th October 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/florentia


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