The Clan/Sept History
The English Mc Mahon comes from the Gaelic Mac Mathghamha, from "mathghamquain" meaning 'bear'. There were two different septs of the clan in Ireland, one in Corbaskin in west County Clare who were part of the Dal gCáis tribal grouping. The other sept was located in the Barony of Truagh in Co. Monaghan, and were rulers of the kingdom of Oriel from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century. The name is ranked today as sixty fourth most numerous in Ireland, and remains strong in its original homelands of Clare and Monaghan.
In its ancient Gaelic form, the Irish name MacMahon was written Mac Mathghamhna,
which later became Mac Mathuna. Both names are derived from the word
"mathghamhan," which means "bear."
Within archives, many different spelling variations exist for the surname
MacMahon. Ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were
pronounced, often resulting in the name of the single person being recorded
under several different spellings. Different spellings that were found include
MacMahon, MacMann, MacMahan, MacMohan and others.
First found in county Clare, where they held a family seat from very ancient
North America accepted thousands of Irish immigrants during the 19th century as
their homeland suffered under foreign imperialistic rule. Although settlers from
the early portion of the century came to North America by choice in search of
land, by far the largest influx of Irish immigrants came to North America during
the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Many of these Irish Families left the
country destitute and in some cases suffering from disease. However, those who
survived the long ocean voyage were especially vital to the development of
industry in the United States and what would become known as Canada. Research of
immigration and passenger lists has shown many early immigrants bearing the name
MacMahon: Bernard, Francis, James, John, Michael, Patrick MacMahan, who all
arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1860; Mary McMahan
settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1849.
Motto Translated: Thus we guard our sacred rights.
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