McCann History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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

Early Origins of the McCann family

The surname McCann 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 McCann family

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

McCann Spelling Variations

Before widespread literacy came to Ireland, a name was often recorded under several different variations during the life of its bearer. Accordingly, numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name McCann family name. Variations found include MacCann, MacCanna, MacCan, MacAnn, MacAn and others.

Early Notables of the McCann family (pre 1700)

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

McCann World Ranking

In the United States, the name McCann is the 1,084th most popular surname with an estimated 27,357 people with that name. [2] However, in Canada, the name McCann is ranked the 979th most popular surname with an estimated 5,513 people with that name. [3] And in Australia, the name McCann is the 616th popular surname with an estimated 6,333 people with that name. [4] The United Kingdom ranks McCann as 448th with 14,523 people. [5]


United States McCann migration to the United States +

Thousands of Irish families left for North American shores in the 19th century. These people were searching for a life unencumbered with poverty, hunger, and racial discrimination. Many arrived to eventually find such conditions, but many others simply did not arrive: victims of the diseased, overcrowded ships in which they traveled to the New World. Those who lived to see North American shores were instrumental in the development of the growing nations of Canada and the United States. A thorough examination of passenger and immigration lists has disclosed evidence of many early immigrants of the name McCann:

McCann Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Bryan McCann, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745 [6]
  • Francis McCann, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745 [6]
McCann Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George McCann, who landed in New York in 1801 [6]
  • Hannah McCann, aged 16, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803 [6]
  • James McCann, aged 25, who landed in New York, NY in 1803 [6]
  • Mary McCann, aged 14, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803 [6]
  • Nelly McCann, aged 37, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
McCann Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • William McCann, who landed in Arkansas in 1903 [6]
  • Miss Louis Mccann, (b. 1894), aged 11, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "New York" arriving at Ellis Island, New York in 1905 en route to Butte, Montana, USA [7]
  • Edward McCann, who landed in Wisconsin in 1912 [6]

Canada McCann migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McCann Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Andrew McCann U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [8]
McCann Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Sarah McCann, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1823
  • Mary McCann, aged 45, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Thomas Hanford" from Cork, Ireland
  • William McCann, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Thomas McCann, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast, Ireland
  • James McCann, aged 28, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast, Ireland
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia McCann migration to Australia +

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

McCann Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
  • Miss Sarah McCann, (Lloyd, Bevan), English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years , transported aboard the "Britannia III" on 18th July 1798, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
McCann Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Michael McCann, Irish convict who was convicted in Queen's County, Ireland for life, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 29th November 1801, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Mr. Thomas McCann, British Convict who was convicted in Gibralter for life , transported aboard the "Commodore Hayes" in April 1823, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • Mr. Andrew Mccann, (b. 1812), aged 19, Irish labourer who was convicted in County Meath, Ireland for 7 years for assault, transported aboard the "Captain Cook" on 5th November 1831, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1879 [12]
  • Mr. John McCann, English convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for life, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 3rd November 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • Robert James McCann, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Eden" in 1838 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand McCann migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

McCann Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Henry McCann, aged 27, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Jean McCann, aged 25, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Sarah McCann, aged 3, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Jean McCann, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Mr. John Mccann, (b. 1832), aged 30, British ploughman travelling from London aboard the ship "Echunga" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 24th December 1862 [15]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McCann (post 1700) +

  • Tatum Danielle McCann, American Young Artist Award nominated child actress
  • Chuck McCann (1934-2018), American comedian, radio, stage, television, and film actor, voice artist, known for his program "The Chuck McCann Show"
  • Charles J. McCann (1926-2015), American academic, 1st President of The Evergreen State College (TESC) in Olympia, Washington
  • Tim McCann (b. 1968), American film director
  • James McCann, American entrepreneur who founded 1-800-Flowers
  • Bob McCann (b. 1964), American basketball player
  • Fergal McCann (1973-2021), Irish Gaelic football coach and trainer for Tyrone (2005-2014)
  • James "Jim" McCann (1944-2015), Irish entertainer and folk musician
  • Christopher John "Chris" McCann (b. 1987), Irish footballer from Dublin
  • Grant McCann (b. 1980), Irish footballer
  • ... (Another 13 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. T  McCann (1873-1917), Scottish Boatswain aboard the SS Curaca from Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom who died in the explosion [16]
Pemberton Mill
  • Miss Mary McCann, factory worker in the Pemberton Mill on 10th January 1860 when the mill collapsed trapping 900 workers as rescue attempts continued into the night, an oil lantern was knocked over further engulfing the trapped workers in fire, she died
RMS Lusitania


The McCann 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.


Suggested Readings for the name McCann +

  • James McCan and Sarah S. Viser by Karen McCann Hett.

  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  5. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  6. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  8. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/Britannia
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  11. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 4th March 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/commodore-hayes)
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/captain-cook
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  14. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) EDEN 1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1838Eden.htm
  15. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  16. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  17. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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