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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

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

The spelling and overall form of Irish names tend to vary widely. The original Gaelic form of the name Shean is O Siodhachain, which may be derived from "siodhach," which means "peaceful."


Many different spelling variations of the surname Shean exist in the archives researched. Ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. Different spellings that were found include Sheehan, Sheeham, Sheahan, O'Sheehan, Sheagan and many more.

First found in County Limerick (Irish: Luimneach) located in Southwestern Ireland, in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shean research. Another 382 words(27 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Shean History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Irish emigration to North America began modestly in the late 18th century. At this time, Irish families made the journey to British North America and the United States by choice and after careful consideration: they were primarily in search of a suitably large stretch of land to call their own. This pattern would change most dramatically during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For example, the years 1825-1845 saw approximately 450,000 heading to British North America and 400,000 to the United States, but in 1847, at the height of the famine, it is estimated that more than 104,000 Irish immigrants went to British North America and more than 119,000 to the United States. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Shean:

Shean Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Elinor Shean, aged 60, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803
  • David Shean, aged 31, landed in New York in 1812
  • Darby Shean, aged 48, arrived in Massachusetts in 1813

Shean Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Patrick Shean, aged 24, who emigrated to the United States from Timleague, Ireland, in 1902
  • William Shean, aged 41, who landed in America, in 1903
  • Mich Shean, aged 35, who landed in America, in 1907
  • Celia Shean, aged 25, who landed in America from London England, in 1907
  • Gertrude Shean, aged 8, who landed in America from Gibralter, England, in 1907

Shean Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Mary Shean, aged 23, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Mallard"


  • David William Shean (1883-1963), American Major League Baseball reserve infielder/outfielder
  • Al Shean (1868-1949), stage name for Abraham Elieser Adolph Schönberg, German-born comedian, half of the vaudeville team Gallagher and Shean, uncle of the Marx Brothers


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  1. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  2. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  3. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  5. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  6. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  10. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  11. ...

The Shean Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Shean 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 17 April 2012 at 08:12.

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