Show ContentsO'Flanagan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish name O'Flanagan was originally written in a Gaelic form as "O Flannagain," from the word "flann," which means "red" or "ruddy." Collectively the name means "descendants of the red-complexioned man." [1]

Early Origins of the O'Flanagan family

The surname O'Flanagan was first found in County Roscommon, where they claim descent from the O'Connors as shown by the similarities of the Coat of Arms. Today the surname is more frequently found in County Roscommon, Mayo, Galway and Clare, no doubt branches from their ancestral roots. [2]

Sources agree that Roscommon and the aforementioned counties on the western seaboard is where the lion's share of the family originate. However, as there are at least five distinct branches of the family: Ely O'Carroll; Connaught; Fermanagh; Orgiall; and Uactar Tire ("Upperthird", in the northwest of the county of Waterford.) "The O'Flanagans of the Upperthird were dispossessed shortly after the English [Strongbow] invasion by the family of Le Poer (now 'Power'), who still possess a large portion of that territory." [1]

The O'Flanagan, of Ely O'Carroll branch claim descent from O'Flannagain Ele, a direct descendant on the O'Carroll Ely pedigree. O'Flanagan, Chiefs of Kinelargy in Ely O'Carroll similarly claim descent through the O'Carroll Ely pedigree. Note: Kinelargy is an ancient territory the corresponds with the present barony of Balllybrit, in the King's County. Both of these branches claim descent through the Heber line of Irish kings. [1]

The O'Flanagans of Fermanagh claim descent through Niall of the Nine Hostages, the 126th Monarch of Ireland and the O'Flanagans of Orgiall similarly claim a similar descent. These latter two branches claim descent through the Heremon line of ancient Kings of Ireland. [1]

Early History of the O'Flanagan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Flanagan research. Another 90 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1172 and 1308 are included under the topic Early O'Flanagan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'Flanagan Spelling Variations

The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name O'Flanagan were encountered in the archives: Flanagan, Flanaghan, Flanagen, Flannagan, Flannagen, Flanigan, Flannigan, Flanigen, Flannigen, Flanagin, Flannagin and many more.

Early Notables of the O'Flanagan family

Notable amongst the family name at this time was

  • Donnough O'Flanagan (d. 1308), Bishop of Elphin who was famous abroad as well, known for his hospitality and devotion[2]...

United States O'Flanagan 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 O'Flanagan name:

O'Flanagan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Daniel O'Flanagan, aged 45, who settled in America, in 1894
O'Flanagan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Michael O'Flanagan, aged 32, who landed in America from Clomfower, Loughglynn, Ireland in 1908
  • Kelly John O'Flanagan, aged 22, who settled in America from Dublin, Ireland, in 1910
  • Michael O'Flanagan, aged 34, who landed in America from Wexford, Ireland, in 1918
  • Michael O'Flanagan, aged 45, who immigrated to America from Roscommon, Ireland, in 1921
  • Joseph O'Flanagan, aged 31, who immigrated to the United States, in 1922
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada O'Flanagan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

O'Flanagan Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Martin O'Flanagan, aged 69, who settled in St John's, Newfoundland in 1920

Australia O'Flanagan migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

O'Flanagan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Pat. O'Flanagan, aged 38, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Sultana" [3]
  • Patrick O'Flanagan, aged 38, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sultana" in 1851 [3]
  • Mary O'Flanagan, aged 35, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sultana" in 1851 [3]
  • James O'Flanagan, aged 18, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sultana" in 1851 [3]
  • Thomas O'Flanagan, aged 16, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sultana" in 1851 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name O'Flanagan (post 1700) +

  • Sheila O'Flanagan, Irish fiction writer and journalist who currently writes for the Irish Times
  • Patrick O'Flanagan (b. 1947), Irish geographer and academic
  • Mick O'Flanagan (b. 1922), Irish former soccer and rugby union international
  • Michael O'Flanagan (1876-1942), Irish Republican and Roman Catholic priest
  • Kevin Patrick O'Flanagan (1919-2006), Irish former sportsman, physician and sports administrator

The O'Flanagan 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: Certavi et vici
Motto Translation: I have fought and conquered.

  1. O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  2. MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  3. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SULTANA 1851. Retrieved on Facebook