In its ancient Gaelic form, the Irish name McMahen was written Mac Mathghamhna, which later became Mac Mathuna. Both names are derived from the word "mathghamhan," which means "bear."
Early Origins of the McMahen family
The surname McMahen was first found in County Clare
(Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland
in the province of Munster
, where the MacMahons were lords of Corca Baisgin; and possessed the greater part of the baronies of Moyarta and Clonderlaw.
Early History of the McMahen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McMahen research.Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1119, 1715, 1780, 1519, 1606, 1644, 1600, 1650, 1643, 1650, 1660, 1737, 1707, 1715, 1715, 1737, 1680, 1747, 1727, 1737, 1737 and 1747 are included under the topic Early McMahen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McMahen Spelling Variations
One explanation for the many variations is that scribes and church officials frequently spelled the name as it sounded: an imprecise method at best. Understandably then, various spellings of the surname McMahen were found in the many archives researched. These included MacMahon, MacMann, MacMahan, MacMohan and others.
Early Notables of the McMahen family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family name at this time was Séamus mac Pilib Mac Mathghamhna (died 1519), was Bishop of Derry. Hugh Oge MacMahon (1606-1644), was an Irish conspirator, was probably of Sir Brian MacHugh Oge MacMahon, Lord of the Dartree in the county of Monaghan
. Herber MacMahon (1600-1650), Bishop of Clogher in 1643, a Catholic leader, commanded the Ulster... Another 59 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McMahen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the McMahen family to the New World and Oceana
Many Irish families
boarded ships bound for North America in the middle of 19th century to escape the conditions of poverty and racial discrimination at that time. Although these immigrants often arrived in a destitute state, they went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. An inquiry into many immigration and passenger lists has revealed many early immigrants to North America bearing the McMahen family name: Bernard, Francis, James, John, Michael, Patrick MacMahan, who all arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1860; Mary McMahan settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1849.
Contemporary Notables of the name McMahen (post 1700)
- Ryan McMahen (b. 1982), American former soccer player from Munster, Indiana who played from 2004 to 2009
- Royce Lafayette "Doc" McMahen (1923-1999), American sheriff and veterinarian from Magnolia, Columbia County, Arkansas, Sheriff of Webster Parish, Louisiana (1980-1996)
- Noel McMahen (b. 1926), former Australian rules footballer and coach; he played for Melbourne in 1948, 1955 and 1956 and coached South Melbourne in 1962
The McMahen 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: Sic nos sic sacra tuemur
Motto Translation: Thus we guard our sacred rights.
McMahen Family Crest Products