Show ContentsMcClenahan 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 McClenahan, 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 McClenahan family originally lived in the settlement of Llanaghan, which is in the Welsh county of Brecon.

Early Origins of the McClenahan family

The surname McClenahan 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 McClenahan family

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

McClenahan 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 McClenahan family

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

United States McClenahan 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 McClenahan:

McClenahan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John N. McClenahan, aged 24, who immigrated to the United States from Belfast, in 1897
McClenahan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Infant McClenahan, aged 0, who landed in America, in 1904
  • Robert McClenahan, who immigrated to America from Coleraine, in 1905
  • Wm. L. McClenahan, aged 38, who landed in America from Alexandria, in 1906
  • Robert McClenahan, aged 35, who landed in America from Derry, Ireland, in 1907
  • Flora McClenahan, aged 54, who landed in America, in 1907
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia McClenahan migration to Australia +

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

McClenahan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Sally McClenahan, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Glentanner" [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name McClenahan (post 1700) +

  • Charles A. McClenahan (1941-2017), American politician, Member of the Maryland House of Delegates (1992-2003)
  • Robert McClenahan (b. 1962), American professional football player
  • Brian Mcclenahan (b. 1982), American rugby union player
  • Trent McClenahan (b. 1985), Australian footballer

The McClenahan 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. South Australia Passengerlists (Retrieved 10th November 2010). Retrieved from on Facebook