The Clan/Sept History
Throughout history, very few Irish surnames have exclusively maintained their
original forms. Before being translated into English, MacCan appeared as Mac
Cana, which is derived from the word cana, which means wolf cub.
Just like the English language, the Gaelic language of Ireland was not
standardized in the Middle Ages. Therefore, one's name was often recorded under
several different spellings during the life of its bearer. Spelling variations
revealed in the search for the Origins of the MacCan family name include
MacCann, MacCanna, MacCan, MacAnn, MacAn and others.
First found in county Armagh, where they held a family seat from ancient times.
Ireland became inhospitable for many native Irish Families in the 19th
centuries. Poverty, lack of opportunities, high rents, and discrimination forced
thousands to leave the island for North America. The largest exodus of Irish
settlers occurred with the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For these
immigrants the journey to British North America and the United States was long
and dangerous and many did not live to see the shores of those new lands. Those
who did make it were essential to the development of what would become two of
the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world. These Irish immigrants
were not only important for peopling the new settlements and cities, they also
provided the manpower needed for the many industrial and agricultural projects
so essential to these growing nations. Immigration and passenger lists have
documented the arrival of various people bearing the name MacCan to North
America: Arthur, Bernard, Charles, Edward, Francis, Henry, Hugh, James, John,
Mary, Michael, Owen, Patrick, Peter, Roger, Thomas and William MacCann, who all
arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.
Motto Translated: Virtue thrives under oppression.
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