Last name: Ryan
This fine Irish surname, chiefly recorded in the Munster counties of Tipperary and Limerick, is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "O'Maoilriain", descendant of Maolriain, a male given name, the first element of which has two possible interpretations. Firstly, "maol" may derive from the pagan Irish "mal", chief, related to the Welsh "mail", hero, and secondly, it may stem from "maol", literally meaning "bald, tonsured, but probably used here in the transferred sense of "devotee". The second element "rian" is so ancient that its meaning is obscure, however, it is believed to come from "rian", an Old irish word for "water", thus connecting the name with the cult of a water deity; hence, "heroes of Rian", or, "worshippers of Rian". The "O'Maoilriain" sept was located in Owney, formerly called Owney O'Mulryan, which forms two modern baronies on the borders of Counties Limerick and Tipperary. Mulryan and Ryan are now usually written as "O'Riain" in Gaelic, however, this is more accurately the name of a Leinster sept who descend from Lathaoir Mor, 2nd Century King of Leinster; the chief of this sept was lord of Ui Drone in County Carlow. The Ryan (O'Mulryan) Coat of Arms is a red shield with three silver griffins' heads erased. On September 1st 1865, the birth of Cornelius, son of John and Mary Ryan, was registered at Inishannon, County Cork. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O'Maoilriain, which was dated circa 14th Century, in "Medieval Records of County Tipperary", during the reign of Gerald, Earl of Desmond, 1369 - 1374. 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
i'm second generation canadian, my grandparents came from ireland, my grandad Jim Ryan comes from clare and i have alot Ryan family in clare and tipperary.
My grandfather tells me we came from Tuam Ireland... not sure of any details he wasn't very helpful in that department. :(
I'm native irish and I'm a Ryan. A national initiave at the minute is to have 'Gatherings'. Any excuse will do to be honest. Someone has come up with the idea of a Ryan Gathering, and sure Why Not! Link and details in my previous comment. See ye in Ireland! Willie
My grandfather's grandfather was born in delaware USA on or about 1830. James Ryan's parents are not on record where I have searched. It would be cool to find out if they were the original immigrants or which generation was.....still searching
my grandfather name was james he came from upperchurch and came to Glasgow in 18.00s
My Dad's name was James Patrick Ryan, and he was from Dublin. But his ancestry went back to Limerick. I don't doubt this is the clan I've been searching for.
Sue I Ryan
Does anyone know of Bruce Lyle Ryan, served in US army, Married Mary Hughes and emigrated to Canada in the early 50's