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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

While the Anglicized versions of Irish names are familiar to most people, all Irish names have a long and proud Gaelic heritage that is often unknown. The original Gaelic form of the name McColgan is "O Cuileagain."


The surname McColgan was first found in County Londonderry (Irish: Doire), a Northern Irish county also known as Derry, in the province of Ulster, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

The archives that survive today demonstrate the difficulty experienced by the scribes of this period in their attempts to record these names in writing. Spelling variations of the name McColgan dating from that time include Culligan, Colligan, Quilligan, O'Quilligan, O'Culligan, O'Colligan, Coligan, Culigan, Colgan and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McColgan research. Another 429 words (31 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McColgan History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early McColgan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Thousands of Irish left in their homeland in the 18th and 19th centuries to escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, and in the search of a plot of land to call their own. These immigrants arrived at the eastern shores of North America, early on settling and breaking the land, and, later, building the bridges, canals, and railroads essential to the emerging nations of United States and Canada. Many others would toil for low wages in the dangerous factories of the day. Although there had been a steady migration of Irish to North America over these years, the greatest influx of Irish immigrants came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name McColgan or a variant listed above:

McColgan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Bernard McColgan, aged 23, landed in Pennsylvania in 1837
  • John McColgan, aged 22, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1841
  • Thos P McColgan, aged 30, landed in Mobile, Ala in 1872

McColgan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Susan McColgan, aged 19, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
  • Mary McColgan, aged 26, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Trial" in 1833
  • Anne McColgan, aged 21, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Trial" in 1833
  • Daniel McColgan, aged 18, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Trial" in 1833
  • James McColgan, aged 13, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Bartley" in 1833

McColgan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William McColgan, Scottish convict from Glasgow, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on April 16, 1855, settling in Western Australia


  • Sarah McColgan, American fashion photographer
  • Peter McColgan (b. 1963), former Northern Irish steeplechaser
  • Aileen McColgan, English Professor of Law at King's College, London
  • Liz McColgan (b. 1964), Scottish long distance track and road running athlete, gold medal winner in the 1991 World Championships, silver medalist in the Seoul Olympics in 1988


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: Virtus probata florescit
Motto Translation: Tried virtue flourishes.


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  1. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  4. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  5. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  6. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  9. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  10. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  11. ...

The McColgan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McColgan Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 14 March 2016 at 15:51.

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