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Pronunciation  McClanahan
Region of origin  Gaelic
Meaning  derived from Mac Lennacháin, "The son of he who owns mantles," or Mac Gille Onchon, "The son of the servant of Oncho"
Related names  MacClannachan, MacClenaghan, M'Clenaghan, McClenaghan, McClanaghan

McClanahan is an Irish surname that is derived from several anglicized forms of the gaelic surname Mac Lennacháin or Mac Gille Onchon.



The New Dictionary of American Family Names translates Mac Lennacháin as "the son of little Leannach" and Mac Gille Onchon as "The Son of the servant of Oncho." Leanach means "possessing mantles". Mac Lennacháin is sometimes written as MacClannachan, with variations including MacClenaghan, McClenaghan, M'Clenaghan. Gille is a Gaelic word meaning "servant", more specifically a professional guide for sportsmen, especially in fishing and deerstalking. Onchu, meaning "Mighty Hound", was an Irish warrior who participated in the Irish battle of Cuil Corra in 649 CE.

Family motto

The family motto, as recorded in the McClanahan Coat of Arms, is "Virtue Is My Honor."

Points of origin

The McClanahan name is also "Orange" or Protestant Irish, mostly coming from the Ulster area. It is quite possible that the McClanahan family are Scotch-Irish, descended from those whose blood is a mixture of the native Irish and the Scots who came to Ireland in the plantation of Ulster. It is quite possible that they came to Ireland among the Scot-Presbyterian settlers, but it is certain that they lived in both counties long before the implantation. It is quite possible that this particular branch may have been native to Ireland. They are of Gaelic origin and have the bloodlines of both the Gaels of Erin and the Gaels of Albin.

American History

  • Capt. William McClanahan,
  • "Reverend William McClanahan born in Westmoreland Colunty, Virginia, about 1738, married in 1758, Mary Marshall. He raised a company of Baptist Volunteers in Culpeper County during the Revolution and they were called 'the fighting Baptists'. Their family removed to Greenville District, South Carolina. He had a son Thomas McClanahan, who was a noted Indian fighter. His will was made May 15, 1802 and date of proof not given, but he died 1802". ( Historical Atlas of Westmoreland County, Virginia, David W. Eaton, The Dietz Press, Richmond, 1942, p. 38, FHL, Salt Lake City, microfilm #323777). Also a member of the Culpeper Minutemen and one of the first 30 justices to swear allegiance to the United States.

    The arts

  • Rue McClanahan, Emmy award winning actress best known for her work in Maude and as Blanche on the Golden Girls.
  • Ed McClanahan, an American novelist, essayist, and professor.
  • Jeffrey McClanahan, an American novelist
  • Kim McClenaghan, a South African poet.
  • Roy McClanahan, an American award-winning graphic designer.
  • Mason McClanahan, An American Musician best known for Guitar playing
  • Preston Moore McClanahan, Jr. !904-1954, Actor, Journalist Preston Moore McClanahan, III 1933 - Artist, Exhibited MoMa, The Whitney, et al.; Professor Emeritus RI School of Design.


  • Rebecca McClanahan, current Democratic Representative of the second district of the Missouri House of Representatives.
  • Sports

  • Brent McClanahan, former professional American football for the Minnesota Vikings.
  • Rob McClanahan, former American professional ice hockey player.
  • Sciences

  • Timothy R. McClanahan, American biologist and conservationist, specialist of coral reefs ecology.
  • References

    McClanahan Wikipedia

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