McKeigan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Hundreds of years ago, the Gaelic name used by the McKeigan 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 McKeigan family

The surname McKeigan 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 McKeigan family

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

McKeigan 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 McKeigan that are preserved in archival documents are Egan, Eagan, Keegan, MacEgan, Kegan, Keagan and many more.

Early Notables of the McKeigan family (pre 1700)

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


United States McKeigan migration to the United States +

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 McKeigan name:

McKeigan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Neal McKeigan, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1834 [4]

New Zealand McKeigan 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:

McKeigan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Charles McKeigan, aged 45, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • Margaret McKeigan, aged 39, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • James McKeigan, aged 10, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • Catherine McKeigan, aged 8, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • Eliza McKeigan, aged 6, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The McKeigan 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.
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


Houseofnames.com on Facebook