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  • Maine Leamhna (deceased)
    > Maen (Main) Leamhna MacMaoihtain – circa 365 – circa 444 AD> Son of Cork Maccon Maoihtain. Brother of Nathfraoch of Ireland. He ruled the MacMiadachain with ruthlessness and was responsible for the b...
  • Shirley McMeekan (deceased)
  • Julia Healy (1864 - 1947)
  • Hester Mehigan (c.1872 - 1941)
  • Irene J Ursel (1909 - 1933)


The surname Meehan is from the Irish Gaelic name Uí Miadhachain (oh mee-ach-awn) that derives from Miadhach, which means "honourable".

There seem to be three major branches:

  • Uí Miadhachain - the original Meehan family that is said to be a branch of the McCarthys from Munster that settled in Country Leitrim, at Ballymeehan (then Ballaghameighan/Ballagh Meighan) and spread to the surrounding areas: Counties Sligo, Fermanagh and Clare. Variations include Meighan, Meighen, Meaghan, etc.
  • MacMiadhachain - the Scottish branch that some suggest moved to Scotland in the 700s. Variations include: McMicking, McMeekin and Meekin (but not usually Meekins which seems to have a separate, Welsh, origin although there is some crossover). Meechan may also have originated in Scotland but migration between there and Ireland has muddied the waters.
  • Uí Mhaothagáin - the Mehigan/Mehegan/Mehagan family. The 1901 and 1911 Irish censuses show them to be largely found in County Cork (with an outlier in County Down). This would be consistent with the idea that the Mehigans are a distinct branch of the Meehans, who are said to have been the bards of O'Mahony clan and so were given land at Castlemehigan in western Cork (which was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell). The variations on the surname are usually the same as those for Meehan.

Unfortunately, the origins of these branches are either lost in the mists of time (Cork) or go back into more legendary periods where what records there are may not be overly reliable (Scotland).


To collect together the profiles of Meehans and all related variations: Mehigan, Mehegan, Mehagan, Meighan, Meighen, Meaghan, McMickens, McMicking, MacMickin, MacMichan, MacMechan, Mechan, Meechan, McMeekan, McMeekin, Meekin, Mehan, Irish Megan, etc.

This will allow us to get a grasp of the geographic distribution of these surnames and the hypotheses about the origins of the various branches can be tested with DNA analysis (see the DNA section below).

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There is currently a DNA project on FamilyTreeDNA and others that might be of interest:

Notable Meehans, etc.

See Wikipedia for: Meehan, Mehigan/Meighan/Meighen and McMeekin:

  • Arthur Meighen (1874-1960), Canadian lawyer and politician who became Prime Minister. He married Isabel Cox and had the following children:
  • James Meehan (1774-1826), Irish-Australian explorer and surveyor
  • John F. Mehegan (1916-1984), American jazz pianist, music teacher and author
  • Patrick Leo Meehan (b. 1955), American Republican member of the United States House of Representatives
  • Richard Meighen (d. 1641), English publisher based in London, he is one of the Shropshire Meighens (mainly based in Shrewsbury) who are said to have got their surname because they came from the Welsh village in Llanfraid in Mechain (which is about 20 miles west of Shrewsbury)
  • Thomas McMicking (1829-1866), Canadian leader of the famed "Overlanders of '62" which traversed the continent in 1862 from Queenston, Canada West in search of gold in the Cariboo region of British Columbia
  • Thomas Meighan (1879-1936), American film actor