McClanaghan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo- Norman Conquest of Ireland lead by Strongbow introduced the first non-Gaelic elements into Irish nomenclature. These Anglo- Normans brought some traditions to Ireland that were not readily found within Gaelic system of hereditary surnames. One of the best examples of this is the local surname. Local surnames, such as McClanaghan, were taken from the name of a place or a geographical feature where the person lived, held land, or was born. These surnames were very common in England, but were almost non-existent within Ireland previous to the conquest. Originally, these place names were prefixed by "de," which means "from" in French. This type of prefix was eventually either made a part of the surname, if the place name began with a vowel, or was eliminated entirely. The McClanaghan family originally lived in the settlement of Llanaghan, which is in the Welsh county of Brecon.

Early Origins of the McClanaghan family

The surname McClanaghan was first found in County Roscommon (Irish: Ros Comáin) located in central Ireland in the province of Connacht, where they were granted lands by Strongbow after his invasion of Ireland in 1172.

Early History of the McClanaghan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McClanaghan research. Another 85 words (6 lines of text) covering the year 1249 is included under the topic Early McClanaghan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McClanaghan Spelling Variations

During the lifetime of an individual person, his name was often spelt by church officials and medieval scribes the way it sounded. An examination of the many different origins of each name has revealed many spelling variations for the name: Lanigan, Lanahan, Lenaghan, Lanaghan, Linehan and many more.

Early Notables of the McClanaghan family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early McClanaghan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McClanaghan migration to the United States +

In the mid-19th century, Ireland experienced one of the worst periods in its entire history. During this decade in order to ease the pressure of the soil, which was actually depleted by the effects of the previous years' grain crops, landowners forced tenant farmers and peasants onto tiny plots of land that barely provided the basic sustenance a family required. Conditions were worsened, though, by the population of the country, which was growing fast to roughly eight million. So when the Great Potato Famine of the mid-1840s hit, starvation and diseases decimated the population. Thousands of Irish families left the country for British North America and the United States. The new immigrants were often accommodated either in the opening western frontiers or as cheap unskilled labor in the established centers. In early passenger and immigration lists there are many immigrants bearing the name McClanaghan:

McClanaghan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John McClanaghan, who landed in America in 1805 [1]
  • Anthony McClanaghan, who arrived in New York in 1827 [1]
  • John McClanaghan, aged 68, who immigrated to the United States from Randalitown, in 1895
McClanaghan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mrs. McClanaghan, aged 40, who immigrated to the United States from Merida, in 1903
  • Neal McClanaghan, aged 25, who landed in America from Donegal, in 1905
  • Wm. McClanaghan, aged 30, who immigrated to America, in 1908
  • Mary McClanaghan, aged 10, who settled in America, in 1908

Contemporary Notables of the name McClanaghan (post 1700) +

  • Jen McClanaghan, American poet, winner of the 2009 Georgetown Review Prize


The McClanaghan 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: Patriae infelici fidelis
Motto Translation: Faithful to an unhappy country.


  1. ^ 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)


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