81,501 MCCANN members around the world
Stay informed about MCCANN Family online & offline events!
See one of our recent Ireland101 Tribe Gatherings
MCCANN Family HistoryMac Cana- anglicised M(a)cCann, earlier M'Canna. The root is most probably 'cano' meaning wolf cub, possibly in the sense of young warrior. This is the derivation generally agreed today, and which you may find in MacLysaght's 'Surnames of Ireland', 1985. Howvere, Woulfe in 'Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall', 1923, gives the derivation as 'son of Annadh', i.e. the root being Annadh.
An early figure is one Cano mac Gartnáin, a king of the 7th century, who held territory in both Scotland and Ireland. The McCanns were lords of Clann Breasail or Clanbrassil, whose territory lay on the south shore of Lough Neagh in modern Co Armagh. An early reference to the sept in the Annals of Ulster in 1155 appears thus: 'Amlaim Mac Canai (steward of Cenel-[O]engusa), tower of the championship and activity of all Cenel Eogain, died'.
By the time of the 1659 'Census' undertaken by Commonwealth surveyor, Sir William Petty, the name is listed as a 'Principal Irish Name' in Co Armagh:
Lower Fewes Barony, McCane, 10 families; ONeyland Barony, Charlemount, McCann, 28 families.
By the mid 19th century the name had spread into many counties. Griffith's 'Primary Valuation' (1847-64) has most McCann households in counties Armagh 333, Tyrone 212, Antrim 146 + 94 Belfast, Down 140 and Derry 95.
The Registrar General's 'Special Report on Surnames...in Ireland' (R.E. Matheson, 1894) , based on the birth figures for 1890, shows most McCann registrations in counties Antrim, Armagh, Dublin and Tyrone. The total number was 175.
Two Notable McCanns:
Michael Joseph McCann (1824-1883) poet who wrote the stirring poem 'O'Donnell Abu!' originally called 'The Clanconnell War Song' (1843):
'Proudly the note of the trumpet is sounding,
Loudly the war cries arise on the gale.'
Joe McCann (1947-1972) born in Belfast. Official I.R.A. volunteer, immortalised in the famous photograph where he kneels on one knee, rifle in hand, against the background of a burning building. Caught up in the early fighting, where Catholic areas were at the mercy of Loyalist gangs, indifferent and often hostile policing, and British Army intervention, he became an icon of resistance and a hate figure for the authorities. He was gunned down, unarmed, in the street by a team of R.U.C. Special Branch and British Army in April 1972.
Who have we missed?
Tell us about any famous MCCANN (or surname variant) you think we should add here. We will get our genealogists to check them out and add them to the list. Thanks!
Join the conversation with the MCCANN tribe
- Find your MCCANN ancestor
- Tell us about your MCCANN Family
- Tell us about your MCCANN ancestors
- Ask a question about the MCCANN history
- Leave a message for MCCANN family members
Areas of Origin for MCCANN
Invite more MCCANN family members!
Write an email address and click 'Invite' to share this page with more members of the MCCANN tribe.
Family Coat of Arms Generator
Why not see what your family crest could look like based on your own family characteristics?Create Crest