Shan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

All Irish surnames have a unique and often romantic meaning. The name Shan originally appeared in Gaelic as Mac Seain, which translates as son of John.

Early Origins of the Shan family

The surname Shan was first found in County Kerry (Irish:Ciarraí) part of the former County Desmond (14th-17th centuries), located in Southwestern Ireland, in Munster province, where they were granted lands by Strongbow when he invaded Ireland in 1172.

Early History of the Shan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shan research. Another 97 words (7 lines of text) covering the year 1750 is included under the topic Early Shan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Shan Spelling Variations

Names during the Middle Ages were often recorded under several different spelling variations during the life of their bearers. Literacy was rare at that time and so how a person's name was recorded was decided by the individual scribe. Variations of the name Shan include McShane, McShain, McShaen, MacShane, MacShain, MacShaen, MacCheyne, McCheyne, McSheyne, MacSheyne, McCheine, McChain, MacCheine, MacChain, McChein, McShaney, McShanie and many more.

Early Notables of the Shan family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Shan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Shan migration to the United States +

Irish families began to immigrate to British North America and the United States in the 18th century, but the greatest influx of Irish immigrants came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. The earlier settlers came to North America after a great deal of consideration and by paying relatively high fees for their passage. These settlers were primarily drawn by the promise of land. Those later settlers that came during the 1840's were trying to escape the conditions of poverty, starvation, disease, and death that had stricken Ireland. Due to the enormity of their numbers and the late date of their arrival, these immigrants primarily became hired laborers instead of homesteading settlers like their predecessors. An exhaustive search of immigration and passenger lists has revealed many Irish immigrants North America bearing the name Shan:

Shan Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Shan, who landed in Maryland in 1659 [1]
Shan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hans Georg Shan, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1750 [1]


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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