O'Flanagen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish name O'Flanagen 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'Flanagen family

The surname O'Flanagen 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'Flanagen family

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

O'Flanagen Spelling Variations

A name was often recorded during the Middle Ages under several different spelling variations during the life of its bearer because literacy was rare there was no real push to clearly define any of the languages found in the British Isles at that time. Variations found of the name O'Flanagen include Flanagan, Flanaghan, Flanagen, Flannagan, Flannagen, Flanigan, Flannigan, Flanigen, Flannigen, Flanagin, Flannagin and many more.

Early Notables of the O'Flanagen family (pre 1700)

Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Flanagen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the O'Flanagen family

In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the O'Flanagen family came to North America quite early: Brian, Charles, Dennis, Hugh, James, John, Joseph, Michael, Patrick, Robert, Thomas and William Flanagan all arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1860.



The O'Flanagen 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)


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