O'Kavanaughs History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name O'Kavanaughs is Caomhanach, an adjective denoting association with St. Caomhan. The first Kavanagh, Donal, the son of Dermot MacMurrough, was fostered by a successor of this saint.
Early Origins of the O'Kavanaughs family
The surname O'Kavanaughs was first found in County Carlow (Irish: Cheatharlach) a small landlocked area located in the province of Leinster in the South East of Ireland, where they held a family seat from very ancient times. The Kavanaghs (Cavanaghs) were descended from the MacMorough stem and were Lords of Leinster. Donoch McMorough was the King of Leinster, son of Dermod and it was from Donoch from which the Cavanaghs sprang. They were descended directly from the Heremon Line of Irish Kings. Donell, son of Dermot MacMurrough acquired the name Caomhanach, or Cavanagh. His sister Eva married Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, the leader of the English invasion of Ireland. 
Early History of the O'Kavanaughs family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Kavanaughs research. Another 96 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1889, 1554, 1538, 1540, 1541, 1543, 1667 and 1739 are included under the topic Early O'Kavanaughs History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Kavanaughs 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 because the general population had to rely on local official's understanding of how their name should be spelt, hence spellings in records often changed through a person's lifetime. The following variations for the name O'Kavanaughs were encountered in the archives: Cavanagh, Kavanagh, Kavanah, Cavanaugh, Keevan, Cavanaw, Kavanaw, Cavenaugh, Cavanough, Cavaneagh, Cavana, Cavena, Cavinaugh, Kavina, Kavena, Kavanaugh, Cavanach, Kavanach, Cabenagh, O'Cavanagh, O'Kavanagh, Keaveney, Geaveney, M'Cavanna and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Kavanaughs family (pre 1700)
Prominent amongst the family at this time was Cahir Mac Art Kavanagh, Lord of St. Molyns, Baron of Ballyann (d. 1554), the eldest son of Art Kavanagh of St. Molyns (Teach Molyns), and Chief of his Sept. He took part in the rebellion of the Leinster Geraldines, but submitted to Lord Leonard Grey in 1538. "He renewed his submission to Sir Anthony St. Leger in November 1540, and preferred a request to be allowed to hold his land in feudal tenure. He was anxious, he declared, to imitate his ancestor, Dermot Mac Murrough, king of Leinster, who had introduced the English...
Another 141 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Kavanaughs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Kavanaughs family
Ireland became inhospitable for many native Irish families in the 19th centuries. Poverty, lack of opportunities, high rents, and discrimination forced thousands to leave the island for North America. The largest exodus of Irish settlers occurred with the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For these immigrants the journey to British North America and the United States was long and dangerous and many did not live to see the shores of those new lands. Those who did make it were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world. These Irish immigrants were not only important for peopling the new settlements and cities, they also provided the manpower needed for the many industrial and agricultural projects so essential to these growing nations. Immigration and passenger lists have documented the arrival of various people bearing the name O'Kavanaughs to North America: Charles, Dudley, James, John, Joseph, Michael, Nicholas, Peter, Robert, Thomas and William Cavanagh, who all arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1813 and 1880.
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- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.