Last name: Mahon
This noble and distinguished Irish surname recorded in the spellings of MacMahon, McMahon, Mahon and Mahan, is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "Mac Mathghamha", meaning "son of the Bear". Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, or from some illustrious warrior, and are usually pre-fixed by "O", grandson, male descendant of, or "Mac", denoting "son of". Two distinct septs of this name exist in Ireland. The first belong to County Clare, and are descended from Mahon, son of Murtagh Mor O'Brien, King of Ireland (deceased 1119). Their territory was Corcabaskin in West Clare where the name is still most numerous. The last inaugurated Chief of the Name fell at the Battle of Kinsale in 1602. The second great sept of M(a)cMahon became lords of Oriel in the 13th Century, Oriel being an ancient territory comprising Counties Armagh, Monaghan and parts of South Down, Louth and Fermanagh. Today, M(a)cMahon holds third place on the list of most popular County Monaghan surnames. Many namebearers, including Bernard MacMahon (1680 - 1747), were Archbishops of Armagh, having previously been bishops of their native Clogher. The most outstanding MacMahon was Edmond Patrice, Compte de MacMahon (1808 - 1893), Marshal of France, and President of the Third Republic for six years. The family Coat of Arms is a silver shield with three red lions passant reguardant in pale, armed and langued azure. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of MacMahon (the name adopted by Reginald FitzUrse when he fled to Ireland following the murder of Thomas a Beckett), which was dated 1170, in the "Early Medieval Records of Ireland", during the reign of Rory O'Connor, Last native High King of Ireland, 1166 - 1175. 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 www.surnamedb.com 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
We are currently experiencing a technical fault with our comments system we hope to have it working again shortly, sorry for any inconvenience. (19th of May 2015)
Mary Mahon Lynn
We're you aware that the capital of the island of Menorca, Spain in the Balerica Islands in the Mediterranean is MAHON? I think we may all have some Spanish in us, after all in ancient times people were being forced out of homelands for political and religious reasons.
Sinéad Nic Mhathúna
@James.b ...no not really, it depends on from which clan your Mahon variant name comes from - either the kingdom of Oriel (now Monaghan and surrounding counties to the north) or from Thomond (now the Clare, limerick & Tipperary counties in the south west)
@Sardar Bilal ...you would need to do a geneology search to be sure, but it would have most likely occurred some time after the "Flight of the Earls" (circa 1600), or in any of the waves of emigration since. Mahons were pretty extensive in their scattering over the centuries!
On the translation of the name, Mahon (spelt in old Irish as: Mathghamhain) is often reported as meaning "Bear" or "Calf", however, it has also been proposed that "Math ghAmhain" or "The Good One" is the real meaning. It is suggested that the term 'the good one' could have also been what the bear was referred to in ancient times out of superstition, or to the calf out of reverence (cattle were the measure of wealth in celtic times).
I am also from the West Indies, specifically Jamaica and my last name is Mahon. People of Irish descent are the second largest ethnic group in Jamaica.
cool stuff! We Irish rock!!
"FitzUrse"? This is strikingly connected with the gaelic meaning of Mac Mathghamha, "son of the bear", since , as far as I know, fitz = "fils de " in French, "son of", and Urse is certainly "ours", bear in French. I suppose Reginald was a knight of Norman origin, hence his French name. Maybe he was very strongly built? Then , when the family went to France, it was a funny looping of the loop!
All Mahon's should have a stake of the Mahon Castle.
umm im from the west indies and my last name is mahon
Does anyone know what the coat of arms represents??
Its nice to find out history about the past.