Last name: Brennan

This is an Anglicized form of two distinct Gaelic Irish surnames:-O'Braonain and MacBranan. The gaelic prefix "O" indicated "male descendant of", plus "braon", a "tear" or "drop", possibly meaning "sorrow" in this case. "Mac" means "son of", plus "bran", a raven, referring to one with coal black hair. The diminutive suffix "A(i)n" is attached to both names. The chief O' Braonain (Brennan) sept belonged to Leinster where they held considerable estates in Co. Kilkenny prior to the 17th Century, after which several clan members became "highwaymen". The MacBrennans belonged to Co. Roscommon and their chiefs held sway here from 1159 - 1488. Present day namebearers in counties Roscommon, Mayo and Sligo were originally Mac Branans. Edward, son of John and Hannah Brennan, was christened on August 29th 1799 at Lying in Hospital, Eddell Street, London. One Christe Brenann, aged 20 yrs., a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the Pacific bound for New York on May 28th 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mac Branain, chief of County Roscommon, which was dated 1159, "The Annals of the Four Masters", during the reign of High Kings of Ireland "with opposition", 1022 - 1166. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2015

Want to dig deeper into your family history? Take a look at our page on building a Family Tree. Or get scientific and enter the exciting world of Ancestral DNA!

Surname Scroll

Enjoy this name printed onto our colourful scroll, printed in Olde English script. An ideal gift. View Details.
PayPal Acceptance Mark
Surname Scroll

John Stuart Brennan

from Elphin, Co. Roscommon ('Mac Branain'..!)


Proud to be a Brennan from Chicago

Barry Brennan
anyone who is familiar with the Gaelic knows that there is no Hard "B" so the name more likely relates to O'Vernaan, Sons of Vernon or Vern, the demiurge of the forest :)

Proud to be Irish

Proud to be Brennan

Ciaran Ian Francis Brennan The 2nd
Proud to be Ciaran Brennan!

being a brennan is epic

Eilidh Brennan-Davies
Its really interesting finding about the origin of the name im amazed at what i have found!

Sophie Elizabeth Brennan
Proud to be a Brennan =)

William Riley
Why is an Irish surname printed on paper with a Scottish and English flag and thistles.....Scotlands national flower. there is nothing Irish on there!

Paul Brennan
Yeah, that's a bit strange. Actually my mother was English and my father Scottish, so in my case it kind of works out perfectly :-) But obviously the name was, and still is, Irish.

Looking for information on the Brennan family from Knockbridge, County Louth Ireland.