Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name McGavanagh is Caomhanach, an adjective denoting association with St. Caomhan. The first Kavanagh, Donal, the son of Dermot MacMurrough, was fostered by a successor of this saint.
Early Origins of the McGavanagh family
The surname McGavanagh was first found in County Carlow
(Irish: Cheatharlach) a small landlocked area located in the province of Leinster
in the South East of Ireland
, where they held a family seat
from very ancient times. The Kavanaghs (Cavanaghs) were descended from the MacMorough stem and were Lords of Leinster
. Donoch McMorough was the King of Leinster
, son of Dermod and it was from Donoch from which the Cavanaghs sprang. They were descended directly from the Heremon
Line of Irish Kings. Donell, son of Dermot MacMurrough acquired the name Caomhanach, or Cavanagh. His sister Eva married Strongbow
, Earl of Pembroke, the leader of the English invasion of Ireland
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
Early History of the McGavanagh family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGavanagh research.Another 193 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1889, 1667 and 1739 are included under the topic Early McGavanagh History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McGavanagh Spelling Variations
People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations
of the surname McGavanagh that are preserved in archival documents are Cavanagh, Kavanagh, Kavanah, Cavanaugh, Keevan, Cavanaw, Kavanaw, Cavenaugh, Cavanough, Cavaneagh, Cavana, Cavena, Cavinaugh, Kavina, Kavena, Kavanaugh, Cavanach, Kavanach, Cabenagh, O'Cavanagh, O'Kavanagh, Keaveney, Geaveney, M'Cavanna and many more.
Early Notables of the McGavanagh family (pre 1700)
Prominent amongst the family at this time was Christian Davies (1667-1739), born Christian Cavanagh in Dublin
, also known as Kit Cavanagh and Mother Ross was a... Another 26 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McGavanagh Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the McGavanagh family to the New World and Oceana
A great mass of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century, seeking relief from various forms of social, religious, and economic discrimination. This Irish exodus was primarily to North America. If the migrants survived the long ocean journey, many unfortunately would find more discrimination in the colonies of British North America and the fledgling United States of America. These newly arrived Irish were, however, wanted as a cheap source of labor for the many large agricultural and industrial projects that were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the western world. Early immigration and passenger lists indicate many people bearing the McGavanagh name: Charles, Dudley, James, John, Joseph, Michael, Nicholas, Peter, Robert, Thomas and William Cavanagh, who all arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1813 and 1880.