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GAVIGAN Family History

Recorded in several spelling forms including Gaughan, Gavan, Gavaghan, Gavigan, Gavahan, Gavaran, and even Gahan, this notable surname is Irish. Originally it was exclusive to the province of Connacht, and specifically County Mayo, which remains the epi-cntre of the name. The derivation is from the pre 10th century Old Gaelic O'Gaibhtheachain, meaning the male descendant of the fierce warrior! Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the first chief of the tribe, who was usually an illustrious warrior, literally the case here. The first recorded spelling of this family name is in the ancient population group of Ui Fiachrach, located in north Mayo and Sligo, where they possessed territory in the Crossmolina area of County Mayo...

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John Baker

My grandfather (on dad's side) was William Gavigan; I have the family tree going back to the late 18th century from which it is clear the family converted to Protestants (possibly after 1690) and moved to West Meath. Many Irish people commented on his colouring (swarthy) and straight jet black hair as typical west Coast. For some reason he also believed he had Spanish ancestry and that is not unusual there. He achieved much in life (and became a close personal friend of Sean MacBride) but never chose to make a song and dance about it.


My mother-in law was Lucy Gavigan. She married Edward O'Connell from Claregalway. He fought in the second world War as a driver in North Africa. I am from Tyrone and my husband was born in England. They were hard-working people. We are domiciled in China but my husband has nothing to do with his family. I'd like to learn more for him.


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