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History of the O'Hearn Clan 

O’Hearn Clan 

Clann Hearn originates as a branch of the Dalcassian group of Thomond which relocated from ancestral territority of Hy Cearnaigh, County Clare in the early 14th century.  The last known Chief was apparently William O'Hahiarn who died in battle in 1309 during the wars for dynastic succession in Thomond, perhaps succeeded by an unnamed chief providing fosterage to the young Dermot O'Brien circa 1317  (Caithréim Thoirdhealbhaigh by Seán mac Ruaidhri Mac Craith).  Dermot's successor  in Thomond was his nephew Maithan  Maonmaigh O'Brien whose epithet according to O'Hart refers to his being fostered near Loughrea in County Galway.

The name itself is Anglo-Norman signifying a heron, originally used as a nickname, and is found in southern Leinster since the early 13th century.

Map of Hy Cearnaigh and Hy-Ainmire by John O'Donovan 1841

"Retinue of James Ii in Ireland in 1690" lists Major Symon o'Houghherne along with the commanding officer Patrick Sarsfield.

Simon O'Haugherne, son of William O'Haugherne, Esq. of Carrigarry, County Clare was allowed a Coat of Arms in 1775.

Henry Hearne was born in Ireland circa 1660 and arrived in Virginia in 1686 and died there in 1718. His son Owen O'Hearn of Virginia was the father of Susannah Hearne (1727-1817) who married William Grubbs, the family moving to Kentucky, and their daughter Anna Mourning Grubbs married Squire Boone III, a nephew of the frontiersman Daniel Boone.

"Burke's "Landed Gentry of Ireland" records the marriage of John Sullivan and Mary Herne of Hernsbrook, county Limerick in 1714 so the Aherns or Herns appear to have been established in that county early in the 18th century. In the mid 19th century Maurice Ahern owned the townland of Hernsbrook, 167 acres in the parish of Killeedy. He died in 1859 aged 88. In the 1870s Charles Ahern of Hernsbrook still owned the same acreage in county Limerick and an estate of 1,240 acres in county Cork. At the time of Griffith's Valuation Maurice Ahern held land in many parishes in county Cork including those in Cork city. A portion of the property known as the "Castle Farm of Monkstown" in the barony of Kerrycurrihy, county Cork, in the possession of Edmond Ahern, was offered for sale in the Landed Estates Court in February 1861."  (Landed Estates, NUI Galway)

As to County Galway:

"Hearn/Hearn Kirkaldy - Thomas Edward Hearn of Hearnsbrook is recorded as a resident proprietor in 1824.    At the time of Griffith's Valuation this property was held by George Hearn Kirkaldy. In the 1870s G.D.H. Kirkaldy of Dublin is recorded as owning 644 acres in county Roscommon. At the same time the Trustees of Kirkaldys, Edinburgh, Scotland, are recorded as owning 2090 acres in county Galway. In 1906 the owners of Hearnesbrook were James A. Hunter and H.E. McKay."

(Landed Estates, NUI Galway)  

In 1851 William Edward Hearn, LL.B a noted author was Professor of Greek in Queen's College, Galway.  He subsequently relocated to Melbourne, Australia.   He was apparently from an Anglo-Norman settler family in County Cavan.

Irish travellers may include ancestors of the Hearn Clan including Hearn, Dunn and Johnson of County Kilkenny.

Clonmacnois Celtic Cross

Branches of Clan Hearn

Several branches of Clan Hearn have been identified in early Irish records.   Geoffrey Keating in his Genealogies includes Clann Craith as descending from the eponymous ancestor Echtigern.  The Book of Munster  written in 1703 includes Mac Craith (Magrath), Mac Congail (Gunnell or perhaps O'Coneely) and O'Quirk, apparently compiled from an earlier Book of Thomond composed circa 1364 by Seán mac Ruaidhri Mac Craith.    [Paul Walsh "An Leabhar Muimhneach", Irish Historical Studies, Vol. 3, No. 10 (September, 1942) ] .   Of the Irish mac Craiths included in this group so far, McGrath, McGraw and McCraw, with distant Y-DNA matches for McCreith, McCray, McGrath and McGraw.

DNA  Test - UPDATE 2015

Y-DNA results for Michael O'Hearn of California USA are haplogroup R1b, SNPs M269+ &  L226+ and therefore Irish Type III, the southwest Ireland type which also includes the male line O'Brien descendants of Ard Ri Brian Boru, 10th century brother of Echtigern whose Celtic personal name translates "horse-lord".  Recently it has been discovered that the Y-DNA of this family branches from O'Brien ancestry with matching SNP markers to at least before 1180 AD.  Since the earliest verified ancestors were from County Kilkenny and because of another close autosomal DNA  match including surnames Hearn and O'Brien going back to Newfoundland, Canada and County Wexford, Ireland, it is now surmised that the Hearn surname for this family is an assumed name or derives from some other non-parental event, and probably represents either O'Haren family of  Galway and Clare in Munster, O'Heerin of Offaly in Leinster, or the Anglo-Norman family de Heron who settled in southern Leinster in the early 13th century.  O'Haren from Ua hEaghrain, a familiar genitive form of O'Hara.  For O'Hara history in Connacht:


Among this group historically are Echtigern Ua hEghrain, Abbot of Clonmacnois and Roscommon who died in 1052 while on pilgrimage to Clonard in Meath as recorded in the Annals of Ireland.  Ballyharran aka Ballaharran (Ballyharron) near Crossabeg in County Wexford is in Irish Bealach-Ui-hEaghrain [-harran], O'Harran's or Harran's road.

P.W. Joyce "Irish Names of Places" (Dublin 1913)

 More recently, the poet Tadhg O hEagrain of West County Clare, and American baseball professional Dan Haren.


Another paternally related Irish family of Pavey/Peavey etc. descends from Joseph Pavey, a victualler or restauranteur who was one of the first settlers in the Georgia colony arriving there in 1736. He was apparently a son or otherwise related to John Pavy of Maryland colony, and married Jane Dyall a daughter of John Dyall in Delaware before settling in Georgia. John Pavy was in service on the estate of Robert Smith, with the Talbot Company in Talbot County, Maryland colony in 1666. Male line descendants of John Peach (1638-1692) of Symondsbury, Bridgport, Dorset, England are apparently also of this type.

The group descending from Echtigern also includes the male line descendants of London merchant William Hearne (circa 1627-1691) styled the "blanket merchant" who settled with two brothers Derby and Ebenezer and their families in Maryland and Delaware colonies after living for a time on the island of St. Kitts in this Caribbean Sea.

The surname Irons is occasionally used for Kenirons of North Tipperary, Ireland according to MacLysaght.  Male line descendants of Thomas Irons, Sr (born 1758) of Maryland and his wife Delila are apparently also of the same Y-DNA L226+ group.  Before that time, Symon Iron (aka Simon Hirons or Irons) migrated to Nansemon County, Virginia colony in April 1653, purchasing land in Wight County the following December.  He was married circa 1662 to Dorothy Wells as his first wife, the second wife being called "Perces".  Land records of Talbot County, Maryland indicate that Dorothy was probably living there in 1672.  Symon died in 1706 in Kent County, Delaware (then part of Pennsylvania).  Early Massachusetts colonial records include Matthew Irons (Iyoerns, Oyern, etc.) and Edward Irons (Iron, Oyron, etc.) both apparently arriving from England.


O'Brien of Thomond blazon

     McGrath blazon                                                                      O'Quirk blazon