McClanahan 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 McClanahan, 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 McClanahan family originally lived in the settlement of Llanaghan, which is in the Welsh county of Brecon.

Early Origins of the McClanahan family

The surname McClanahan 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 McClanahan family

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

McClanahan Spelling Variations

Church officials and medieval scribes often spelled early surnames as they sounded. This practice often resulted in many spelling variations of even a single name. Early versions of the name McClanahan included: Lanigan, Lanahan, Lenaghan, Lanaghan, Linehan and many more.

Early Notables of the McClanahan family (pre 1700)

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


United States McClanahan migration to the United States +

Ireland went through one of the most devastating periods in its history with the arrival of the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. Many also lost their lives from typhus, fever and dysentery. And poverty was the general rule as tenant farmers were often evicted because they could not pay the high rents. Emigration to North America gave hundreds of families a chance at a life where work, freedom, and land ownership were all possible. For those who made the long journey, it meant hope and survival. The Irish emigration to British North America and the United States opened up the gates of industry, commerce, education and the arts. Early immigration and passenger lists have shown many Irish people bearing the name McClanahan:

McClanahan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John McClanahan, aged 25, who arrived in New York in 1812 [1]
McClanahan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Rose McClanahan, aged 32, who landed in America, in 1905
  • William McClanahan, aged 36, who landed in America, in 1905
  • Nellie McClanahan, aged 45, who landed in America, in 1907
  • Henry M McClanahan, aged 50, who immigrated to the United States, in 1907
  • Nettie Braiden McClanahan, aged 45, who immigrated to the United States, in 1908
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McClanahan (post 1700) +

  • Rob McClanahan (b. 1958), American former professional NHL ice hockey player
  • Rue McClanahan (1934-2010), American Emmy award winning actress, best known for her work in Maude and the Golden Girls
  • Ed McClanahan (b. 1932), American novelist, essayist, and professor
  • Brent McClanahan (b. 1951), former professional American football for the Minnesota Vikings
  • Rebecca McClanahan (b. 1951), former Democratic Representative of the second district of the Missouri
  • David McClanahan Hickman, American politician, Delegate to Missouri State Constitutional Convention 12th District, 1845-46


The McClanahan 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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