Shannahan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Shannahan is originally a name that appeared in Gaelic as O Seanachain, which is derived from the word "sean," meaning "old."

Early Origins of the Shannahan family

The surname Shannahan was first found in County Clare (Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

Early History of the Shannahan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shannahan research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1318, 1802, 1863, and 1877 are included under the topic Early Shannahan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Shannahan Spelling Variations

The archives that survive today demonstrate the difficulty experienced by the scribes of the Middle Ages in their attempts to record these names in writing. Spelling variations of the name Shannahan dating from that time include Shanahan, O'Shanahan, Shahan, Shannon, Gilshenan and many more.

Early Notables of the Shannahan family (pre 1700)

Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Shannahan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Shannahan migration to the United States +

In the 18th and 19th centuries, thousands of Irish families fled an Ireland that was forcibly held through by England through its imperialistic policies. A large portion of these families crossed the Atlantic to the shores of North America. The fate of these families depended on when they immigrated and the political allegiances they showed after they arrived. Settlers that arrived before the American War of Independence may have moved north to Canada at the war's conclusion as United Empire Loyalists. Such Loyalists were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Those that fought for the revolution occasionally gained the land that the fleeing Loyalist vacated. After this period, free land and an agrarian lifestyle were not so easy to come by in the East. So when seemingly innumerable Irish immigrants arrived during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s, free land for all was out of the question. These settlers were instead put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Whenever they came, 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 Shannahan or a variant listed above, including:

Shannahan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Shannahan, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1765 [1]

Canada Shannahan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Shannahan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Shannahan, aged 24, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Ann & Mary" from Cork, Ireland
  • John Shannahan, aged 22, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Ann & Mary" from Cork, Ireland
  • Simon Shannahan, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843

Australia Shannahan migration to Australia +

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

Shannahan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary Shannahan, (Shanahan), (b. 1807), aged 19, Irish laundress who was convicted in Cork, Ireland for 7 years for receiving stolen goods, transported aboard the "Brothers" on 3rd October 1826, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [2]

New Zealand Shannahan migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Shannahan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Johanna Shannahan, aged 36, a laundress, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Adamant" in 1874 [3]
  • Sarah A. Shannahan, aged 15, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Adamant" in 1874 [3]
  • Julia Shannahan, aged 9, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Adamant" in 1874 [3]


  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)
  2. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/brothers
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


Houseofnames.com on Facebook