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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Where did the Irish O'Callaghan family come from? What is the Irish O'Callaghan family crest and coat of arms? When did the O'Callaghan family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the O'Callaghan family history?

Before Irish names were translated into English, O'Callaghan had a Gaelic form of O Ceallachain, possibly from "ceallach", which means "strife". The family is descended from Ceallachan (Callaghan), the 10th century King of Munster from whom their surname is derived, and as such, the name O'Callaghan is a patronymic name.

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The general population of Ireland, like those of Europe and Britain during the Middle Ages, scribes recorded people's names as they saw fit. As a result, surnames often had many spelling variations. For O'Callaghan some of these variations included: Callaghan, Callahan, O'Callaghan, O'Callahan, Calahan, Cellaghan, Kalahan, Kallaghan, Kallahan, O'Kallaghan, Kellaghan, Kelleghan, Kellahan, Kelahan, Ceilahan, Ceilaghan, Callachan, Calachan, Callagan, Calagan, Kelagan, Callighan and many more.

First found in Munster. The earliest mention of the name O'Callaghan placed them in the barony of Kinlea, in County Cork, yet the family lost most of their original lands in the barony of Kinelea during the Anglo- Norman Conquest under Strongbow. They relocated to an area near Mallow, in the north of the county, and remained there until forced off their lands once again during the Cromwellian Invasion of the 17th century. The head family migrated to the east of County Clare and flourished, giving their name to the village of Callaghan's Mills. The resumption of the often-discarded prefix "O" has been widespread during the late twentieth century, but in the early twentieth century, Callaghans greatly outnumbered O'Callaghans, but such is no longer the case. The O'Callaghans are one of the few Irish families to still have a chief, certified by the Genealogical Office. [1]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Callaghan research. Another 403 words(29 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1640, 1738, 1807, 1797, 1883, 1605, 1654, 1839 and 1909 are included under the topic Early O'Callaghan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 53 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Callaghan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

O'Callaghan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Thomas O'Callaghan, aged 21, a farm labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Joseph Soames"
  • Johanna O'Callaghan, aged 23, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Joseph Soames"
  • Margaret O'Callaghan, aged 18, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Joseph Soames"
  • John O'Callaghan, aged 21, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Sir Thomas Gresham"
  • Patrick O'Callaghan, aged 27, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Sir Thomas Gresham"


O'Callaghan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • W. P. G. O'Callaghan arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Beauty" in 1863
  • Arthur O'Callaghan arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Talbot" in 1864
  • Arthur O'Callaghan arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Glendevon" in 1864
  • Margaret O'Callaghan, aged 27, a housemaid, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Gainsborough" in 1878
  • Jeremiah O'Callaghan, aged 20, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1878


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  • Sergeant John O'Callaghan (1868-1870), American soldier, Medal of Honor recipient
  • David O'Callaghan, Irish hurler and former Gaelic football player
  • Gareth O'Callaghan, Irish author, radio presenter and former television presenter
  • Professor Kathleen "Kate" O'Callaghan (1888-1961), Irish Sinn Féin politician and academic
  • Eugene O'Callaghan (1888-1973), Irish priest in the Archdiocese of Armagh
  • Conor O'Callaghan (b. 1968), Irish poet
  • Lt-General William O'Callaghan DSM, Irish Army officer, Commanding Officer of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
  • Tony O'Callaghan (b. 1956), British television actor
  • Denis O'Callaghan (b. 1949), former Australian rules footballer
  • Jamie O'Callaghan (b. 1990), English professional rugby league footballer

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  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)

Other References

  1. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  5. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  6. 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).
  7. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  8. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  9. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  10. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  11. ...

The O'Callaghan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The O'Callaghan 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 23 February 2015 at 15:44.

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