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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

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

Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name Scanlon originally appeared in Gaelic as O Scannlain or Mac Scannlain, which are both derived from the word "scannal," which means "contention."


Before widespread literacy came to Ireland, a name was often recorded under several different variations during the life of its bearer. Accordingly, numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name Scanlon family name. Variations found include Scanlan, O'Scannell, O'Scanlan, O'Scanlon, MacScanlan, Scanlin and many more.

First found in County Louth (Irish: Lú) the smallest county in Ireland, located on the East coast, in the Province of Leinster. "The Mac Scanlans were a sept of Louth, from whom the ancient locality of Bally Mac Scanlan took its name. The first of the family mentioned by D'Alton is Patrick O'Scanlan, who was made archbishop or Armagh in 1261. " [1] According to O'Hart, the family claim descent from the Heremon Kings of Ireland, more specifically through the O'Shaughnessey pedigree as Tuadan, brother of Duach was the ancestor of O'Scannla which is Anglicized as Scanlan. [2] However, MacLysaght claims that there are two quite distinct septs; the O Scannlain of Munster and MacScannlain of Louth. The latter claimed Bally Mac Scanlan (Ballymacscanlan) as their ancient homeland. He continues pointing out that there are six places names Ballymacscanlan throughout Ireland eluding to the family's widespread distribution. [3]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Scanlon research. Another 155 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 127 and 1272 are included under the topic Early Scanlon History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Scanlon Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, thousands of Irish left their homeland in the 19th century. These migrants typically settled in communities throughout the East Coast of North America, but also joined the wagon trains moving out to the Midwest. Ironically, when the American War of Independence began, many Irish settlers took the side of England, and at the war's conclusion moved north to Canada. These United Empire Loyalists, were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Other Irish immigrants settled in Newfoundland, the Ottawa Valley, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, however, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America and Australia. Many of those numbers, however, did not live through the long sea passage. These Irish settlers to North America were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Irish settlers made an inestimable contribution to the building of the New World. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name Scanlon or a variant listed above, including:

Scanlon Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Peter Scanlon, who landed in America in 1810
  • Brien Scanlon, who landed in New York, NY in 1812
  • Mancy Scanlon, who landed in New York, NY in 1816
  • Maney Scanlon, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • John, Patrick and William Scanlon arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870

Scanlon Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Henry Scanlon, who arrived in Arkansas in 1905

Scanlon Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Owen Scanlon, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1802
  • Honora Scanlon, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1832

Scanlon Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Michael Scanlon arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Birman" in 1840
  • Mary Scanlon arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Birman" in 1840
  • Patrick Scanlon arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Birman" in 1840
  • Winny Scanlon, aged 26, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Constance"
  • Michael Scanlon, aged 39, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Sibella"

Scanlon Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • David Scanlon landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1843
  • Margaret Scanlon, aged 21, a servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1872
  • Eliza Scanlon, aged 21, a servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cartvale" in 1874


  • Brigadier-General Martin Francis Scanlon (1889-1980), American President of the Army Air Force Evaluation Board (1944-1946)
  • Thomas E. Scanlon (1896-1955), American politician, Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1941 to 1945)
  • James Patrick Scanlon (b. 1952), American former Major League Baseball third baseman
  • Patrick J. "Pat" Scanlon (1861-1913), Canadian-born, American Major League Baseball outfielder
  • Michael Scanlon (1843-1929), Irish-born, American Major League Baseball manager (1884 to 1886)
  • Joseph Scanlon (1970-1969), American Democratic politician who served in the Pennsylvania State Senate (1969 to 1970)
  • Dewey Scanlon (1899-1924), American football head coach in the National Football League (1924 to 1929)
  • Bill Scanlon (b. 1956), retired American tennis player, the only professional ever to achieve a golden set
  • Bethany Kennedy Scanlon (b. 1975), American Christian author and speaker
  • Thomas Michael "Tim" Scanlon (b. 1940), Harvard philosopher



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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  3. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)

Other References

  1. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  2. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  3. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  4. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  5. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  6. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  9. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  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 Scanlon Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Scanlon 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 15 December 2015 at 14:40.

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