Show ContentsShunnagh History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Shunnagh surname originally appeared in Gaelic as O Sionnaigh, which is derived from "sionnach," which means "fox." [1]

Early Origins of the Shunnagh family

The surname Shunnagh was first found in County Mayo (Irish: Maigh Eo) located on the West coast of the Republic of Ireland in the province of Connacht, where they held a family seat. This most ancient Irish surname is derived from Sionnach, the Fox, an epithet used by the Chief of the Irish Cathernaigh Clann, a branch of the northern Ui Fiachrach.

However, some of the family were found in England in early days and there, the name was an occupational name for a Shinner or Skinner from the Old English word "scinn" meaning "skin." [2] There we found John le Scinner in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1279 in Cambridgeshire; Geoffrey le Schinner in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296; and John Schynnere in Hampshire in 1305. [2]

The shortened form of the name Shinn or Shynn was first found in Suffolk in the Pipe Rolls of 1165 where Herveus Schinn was listed. Hugo Scin was later found in the Pipe Rolls for Herefordshire in 1190. [2]

Early History of the Shunnagh family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shunnagh research. Another 98 words (7 lines of text) covering the year 1845 is included under the topic Early Shunnagh History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Shunnagh Spelling Variations

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 Shunnagh family name include Shiner, Shinner, Shunny, Shunagh, Shunnagh, Shinnick, Shinnock, Shinick and many more.

Early Notables of the Shunnagh family

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

Migration of the Shunnagh family

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 Shunnagh: L. Shiner who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1754; followed by John A. Shiner in 1868; W.S. Shinner who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1820.



  1. O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)


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