McKeegan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Hundreds of years ago, the Gaelic name used by the McKeegan family in Ireland was Mac Aodhagain, which means "son of Aodh, son of fire," a personal name usually Anglicized as Hugh. A Brehon family originally of Uí Maine, which settled in Ormond. [1]

The family claim descent from Saint and Bishop Eoghan (d. 618), "of Ardsratha, now Ardstraw, in the county of Tyrone and diocese of Derry. Descended from Ugaine Mor on the father's side he was thus connected by kindred with the chieftains of Leinster, while through his mother, Muindech, he claimed relationship with the Ulster families." [2]

Another source confirms the name descends from "the cineal Eoghain, [who] were the ' genus' or progeny of Eoghan, a great Irish chief contemporary with St. Patrick. The name is Anglicized to Owen and Eugene. " [3]

Early Origins of the McKeegan family

The surname McKeegan was first found in County Tipperary (Irish: Thiobraid Árann), established in the 13th century in South-central Ireland, in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

The ancient Egans were lawyers of Ui Maine, a region which is today called Galway, Roscommon and Offaly. The earliest surviving Irish law manuscript, In Senchas Már, was written prior to 1350 at a school (patronized by Mac Aodhagain) at Duniry, near Loughrea.

Early History of the McKeegan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McKeegan research. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1172 and 1740 are included under the topic Early McKeegan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McKeegan Spelling Variations

Before widespread literacy came to Ireland, a name was often recorded under several different variations during the life of its bearer. Accordingly, numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name McKeegan family name. Variations found include Egan, Eagan, Keegan, MacEgan, Kegan, Keagan and many more.

Early Notables of the McKeegan family (pre 1700)

Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McKeegan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McKeegan migration to the United States +

During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the McKeegan family in North America:

McKeegan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Hugh McKeegan, aged 32, who settled in America, in 1896
McKeegan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Cathrine McKeegan, aged 22, who landed in America from Derry, in 1900
  • Daniel McKeegan, who settled in America from Antrim, in 1900
  • Daniel McKeegan, aged 23, who landed in America from Antrim, in 1906
  • Hugh McKeegan, aged 22, who immigrated to America from Mushebdall, Ireland, in 1909
  • Enias McKeegan, aged 19, who immigrated to the United States from Cushendall, Ireland, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McKeegan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McKeegan Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Hugh McKeegan, aged 38, who settled in Bridge, Ontario, Canada, in 1910

New Zealand McKeegan migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

McKeegan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mary McKeegan, aged 12, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873

Contemporary Notables of the name McKeegan (post 1700) +

  • Leonard McKeegan (b. 1963), Irish former hurler who played as a midfielder for the Antrim senior team (1985-1992)
  • Karl McKeegan (b. 1978), Irish hurler, former captain of Antrim's hurling team
  • Michael Robert McKeegan (b. 1971), Irish bassist with the rock band, Therapy?
  • Tim McKeegan (1877-1939), Australian rules footballer who played with South Melbourne in 1900 and Geelong (1901-1902)


The McKeegan 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: Fortitudine et prudentia
Motto Translation: With fortitude and prudence.


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.


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