Last name: Keoghan

Recorded in several forms including MacKeoghane, Keoghan, Keoghane, Keohane, and Kohane, this is a very interesting and unusual Irish surname. According to the famous Irish etymologist, the late Edward MacLysaght, it is one that is (quote) "peculiar to West Cork", however he offers no explanation as to its probable meaning. Our research suggests that the name is a variant of something else, which may be the surnames Kinnane, Kinneen, or Keenan. These surnames are believed to derive from the ancient Gaelic word "cano" meaning wolf cub, although there are some who suggest that it is from "coinin" meaning rabbit. Irish surnames traditionally originate from a nickname for the first nameholder, and it is much more likely that the chief would be called wolf than rabbit! In this case, although many Irish records were lost when the IRA in a fit of madness blew up the Dublic Records Office in 1922, we have found examples of the name recording in the Port of New York lists for the Irish Famine period of 1846 - 1848. One of the first of the emigrants to that city was Michael Keoghan, who left on the sadly but appropriately named ship "Orphan" on May 1st 1846 bound for New York, whilst about one year later Patrick Keohane embarked on the ship "Constitution", leaving Liverpool on May 15th 1847.

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