Reagan and Galloway Surnames

This topic has 7 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 5 months ago by Karen Dunn.

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     Charles Reagan

    In advance of a planned trip to Ireland, my wife ( maiden name Galloway) and I have begun a bit of geneological search.  She has a friend working on her name. As for my surname, Reagan, I have traced back to a gg grandfather, Martin Reagan (b. 1832, County Cork, d. Platte, Nebraska +/- 1920) and his wife, Johanna Heffern Reagan (b. 1842, Ireland, d. 1927, Vernon, OK), as well as her mother, Johanna Barron (b. 1825). This trail ended pretty quickly on, so I started from an historical view and right or wrong, found the following general history:

    Reagan, Regan, Reagane and their O’derivitives etc. descended from three clans in Ireland:

    1. Riagain, which emerged around Dublin and Meath in the 6th Century and means angry or impulsive.
    2. Riagan, meaning Son of Little King in Gaelic, was the name given to the nephew of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland in the early 11th century. This family had land grants in Clare, Limerick and Tipperary Counties. The name was changed to O’Riagan after a few generations.
    3. O’Riagain from the County Cork, associated with the McCarthy family. Sir Tiege Mac Shane O’ Regan was knighted for his fighting for James II to regain Britain and Ireland after being overthrown by his daughter and William of Orange.

    All three clans were pushed out of their homelands by Norman invasions in the 1100’s. After Ireland lost the Battle of the Boyne to the Brits in 1690, the three clans lost all of their power and influence.

    The name “Reagan” does not show up in the 1659 census of surnames. The other derivitaves do: Reagane or O’Reagane. Or Regan, O’Regan, O’Regane. In the 17th Century, no Reagans, or derivative thereof, appear to own land anywhere in Ireland. Nor do these names show up on the old map I found on several web sites, but forget its name…  also These surnames are not found in the settlement of Ireland by Brits and Scots in the 17th century (1609 and on). According to one census, no Reagans appear to have left Ireland between 1811 and 1847, when over 7,400 people immigrated to the US.

    Admittedly, I have not spent much time on this, but am hoping someone can point me to relevant resources within this web site.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Charles Reagan, b.1956, Lafayette, LA, resident of Dallas, TX since 1985.

     Karen Dunn

    Hi Charles,

    Where in Cork was Martin Reagan from?  I recently found out that I have Regan ancestors who appear to have come from or around Meelmane (Barryroe), Cork.





     Web Editor

    Hi Charles,

    That’s some details you’ve pulled together on the early history of Regans.

    I think it would be better to approach it the other way around though.

    What do you know about Martin Reagan and Johanna Heffernan? Do you have baptismal records for them? Did they marry in the US or in Ireland? I presume Johanna Barron is with them – is that her birth surname?


     Charles Reagan

    ClaireB and Karen, thank you for your responses. I do not have their birth records. Martin is listed as being born in County Cork. Johanna is listed as being born in Ireland, but I don’t yet have any other detail. I am looking through Cork church records on one of the web sites for a birth or baptism record, but that is a tedious process and will take more time. I will focus on the Barryroe area now though. They were apparently married in the US. There is a ship’s register that has the two Johannas arriving in the US in 1865, I believe. I downloaded the document, but it got corrupted, so I have to go find it again 🙁 . Otherwise I’m just guessing.

    Good news is that through this process I have found a branch of my Reagan family that I did not know existed. They’re 3rd cousins, some living within 15 miles of me in Dallas, TX! Crazy. We’ll be getting together in the next couple of weeks.

     Karen Dunn

    You’re welcome, Charles.  That is great that you will meet your cousins.  Do you know where your ancestors landed?  There could be Naturalization records that show more.  I don’t know if you have this record or not.  At first, I wasn’t sure that it was them based upon the transcription but looking at the record more it appears to be. It is a 1900 US Federal  Census Record; the information on it which includes relatives could help trace where your ancestors were from in Ireland .


     Karen Dunn

    You may want to get a copy of your ancestors’s death certificates especially Martin’s and Johanna’s. In the census, she is referred to as being named Hannah.  With respect to US records, I have found great information in death certificates that have included the names of the parents of the deceased individual which has helped me to locate where my ancestors were from.  Another resource that I have found extremely helpful are Overseer of the Poor records that contain parents, children and grandparents; they also include residential addresses and share when the individuals had landed.

     Charles Reagan

    Excellent info. Thanks! I have the 1880 census that lists them as well, but not this one. I think that ship record identifies where they landed. I’ll go back adf find that. I will also focus on death records here in the states in hopes of finding info on the parents. Overseer of the Poor? I learn something new every day! I’ll put that on the list as well. Thanks so much.

     Karen Dunn

    You’re welcome.  I think that you will be finding some great information about your family.  The meeting with your Reagan family members sounds like it will be exciting.



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