Lennon Surname Genealogy

The Lennon surname has come either from the Gaelic Leannan meaning “little cloak”
(some say “lover”) or from the personal name Lonan,
a diminutive of lon or

Lennon Resources on

Lennon Ancestry


It is thought that the O’Leannain clan came originally from Galway on
the west coast of Ireland. They later anglicized their name to
Lennan, Lennon and other variants; while the O’Leannains of Mayo tended
to become Leonards.
The O’Lennans became best known in early times in Fermanagh. Teag
was recorded in 1380 in the Annals
of the Four Masters
as the erenagh of Eniskillen. This office of erenage was
a hereditary one, as the holder of church property and the maintainer
of priests. The O’Lennans of Fermanagh held that title and the
O’Lennans of Lisgoole near Enniskillen produced a number of
Early anglicized spellings were Lennan, Lannan, and sometimes Lennane
and Linane. The first recorded Lennon spelling did not in
fact appear until 1733. However, in the next hundred years Lennon began to
displace the other spellings
By the 19th century the largest numbers of Lennons were in
and many
of the Lennon emigrants came from there. Others, like John
Lennon’s ancestors, were from county Down.The
christening of Thomas Lennon, the son of Malachi and Catherine Lennon,
was recorded in the parish of Drum in Roscommon in 1797.
Lennons are still there. The
Lennons of Drum
held a homecoming reunion in 2003 for those who
emigrated during the famine.

England. John Lennon, the
Beatle, was born and grew up in Liverpool. His ancestors came
from county Down in Ireland and had moved to Liverpool by 1850.
Rumor had it that grandfather Jack had worked as a professional singer
with the Kentucky Minstrels in America, but it has no basis in
fact. Jack lived and died in Liverpool. The best-known
Lennon name in Liverpool prior to John Lennon was Lennons, a small
supermarket chain begun by a Lennon from Northern Ireland.

America. Among the
Lennons who came to America in the mid 19th century were:

  • Barney
    and Mary Lennon who came in the 1840’s
    and settled in Buffalo, New York. Barney
    was a watchman at a grain elevator who fell off a wharf and drowned in
    1868. His grandson (via one of his
    daughters) was Wild Bill
    Donovan, the head of OSS during World War Two.
  • James
    and Mary Lennon who arrived in 1849 and made their home in
    Outagamie county, Wisconsin.
  • and Ellen
    Lennon who left Roscommon with her twelve children and grandchildren on
    lengthy journey in 1852 which took them via Dublin, Liverpool, New
    Chicago, and eventually to Joliet, Illinois.

James Lennon left Armagh with their families for America in 1847, but
they did
not stay there. These Lennons were on a boat to Peru and ended up
in Australia
in 1856.

grew up in an Irish family in St. Louis.
In 1917 he met a German dancer named Betty Heinrich whom he
married and
they set off for Venice in southern California.
Here they raised eight children and later came fifty six
grandchildren. Their talented offspring

  • the
    Lennon Brothers, a popular swing band of the 1940’s
  • the
    ring announcers Jimmy Lennon and Jimmy Lennon Jr
  • Bill Lennon and the Lennon Sisters
  • while
    Michael and Kipp Lennon formed the band Venice in 1977.

Argentina. Edward Lennon
arrived with his family in Buenos Aires in 1842 and was one of the
country’s first Irish immigrants. He worked hard on his arrival
and in time became a substantial rancher in land to the north of Buenos

Lennon Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Lennon Names

John Brown Lennon was a US labor
leader in the early 1900’s.
The Lennon Sisters were a
singing group who debuted on American TV in 1955 and had a long-running
career. They were born in Los Angeles of Irish/German ancestry.
John Lennon from Liverpool was
the celebrated Beatle and “Workingclass Hero” who was shot dead outside
the Dakota building in New York in 1980.
Neil Lennon from county Armagh
was an international football player for Northern Ireland who became
the football manager of Glasgow Celtic.

Select Lennons Today

  • 9,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Glasgow)
  • 4,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 8,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)





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