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

Early Origins of the McClenahen family

The surname McClenahen 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 McClenahen family

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

McClenahen Spelling Variations

It was found during an investigation of the origins of the name McClenahen that church officials and medieval scribes often spelled the name as it sounded. This practice lead to a single person's being documented under many spelling variations. The name McClenahen has existed in the various shapes: Lanigan, Lanahan, Lenaghan, Lanaghan, Linehan and many more.

Early Notables of the McClenahen family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the McClenahen family

Irish immigration to North American began in the late 18th century as many Irish families desired to own their own land. This pattern of immigration grew slowly yet steadily until the 1840s. At that time, a failed crop and a growing population in Ireland resulted in the Great Potato Famine. Poverty, disease, and starvation ravaged the land. To ease their pain and suffering the Irish often looked upon North America as a solution: hundreds of thousands undertook the voyage. Their arrival meant the growth of industry and commerce for British North America and the United States. For the individual Irishman, it meant survival and hope, and the opportunity for work, freedom, and ownership of land. The early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name McClenahen: Michael Lanagan, who came to Newfoundland in 1814; Edward Lanaghan, who arrived at St. John, New Brunswick in 1834; Cornelius, Biddy and George Lanagan, who all arrived in Philadelphia in 1828.


Contemporary Notables of the name McClenahen (post 1700) +

  • Allen S. McClenahen (b. 1871), American politician, Mayor of Wyandotte, Michigan, 1920-22 [1]


The McClenahen 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. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 3) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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