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

Origins Available: English, Irish

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

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


Individual scribes in the Ireland during the Middle Ages would often record a person's name various ways. How the name was recorded depended on what that particular scribe believed the proper spelling for the name pronounced to him was. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origin of the Shinn family name include Shanahan, O'Shanahan, Shahan, Shannon, Gilshenan and many more.

First found in County Clare (Irish: An Clįr) located on the west coast of 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 Shinn research. Another 409 words(29 lines of text) covering the years 1318, 1802, 1863, and 1877 are included under the topic Early Shinn History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


The English-ruled Ireland of the late 18th and 19th centuries featured a rapidly increasing population and an agricultural-based economy. This combination proved to be disastrous in the 1840s after a couple of failed potato harvests. Thousands died of disease and starvation, and thousands more left the country, often bound for North America. Those that survived the journey to North America were put to work building the bridges, canals, roadways, and railways needed for the development of an industrial society. Those Irish, although often despised by those already established in North American cities and towns, played an instrumental role in making Canada and the United States the powerful and wealthy nations that they are today. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has shown many immigrants bearing the name Shinn:

Shinn Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Shinn, who landed in New Jersey in 1678


  • David H. Shinn (b. 1940), American diplomat and professor, 19th United States Ambassador to Ethiopia (1996-1999)
  • Anne O'Hagan Shinn (1869-1933), American suffragist, journalist, and writer of short stories
  • Everett Shinn (1876-1953), American realist painter and member of the Ashcan School
  • Lieutenant Commander Conrad "Gus" S. Shinn, U.S. Navy pilot who made the first plane landing at the geographic South Pole, eponym of Mount Shinn, Antarctica
  • Moses Franklin Shinn (1809-1885), American pioneer Methodist Episcopal Church minister in Omaha, Nebraska
  • William Norton Shinn (1782-1871), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey (1833-1837)
  • Christopher Shinn (b. 1975), American OBIE Award (2005) and Guggenheim Fellowship in Playwriting (2005) winning playwright, a Pulitzer Prize finalist (2008)
  • Milicent Washburn Shinn (1858-1940), American child psychologist, the first woman to receive a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley
  • George Shinn (b. 1941), American former owner of the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets, the Charlotte Knights and the Gastonia Rangers
  • Larry Shinn (b. 1942), American academic, President of Berea College, Kentucky, from 1994 to 2012



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Shinn Framed Surname History and Coat of ArmsShinn Framed Surname History and Coat of Arms
More Family Crest Products


  1. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  2. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  3. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  4. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  5. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  6. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  7. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  10. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  11. ...

The Shinn Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Shinn 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 26 July 2015 at 17:11.

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