Regan/Reagan Surname Genealogy

O’Regan and Regan are the anglicized forms of the Gaelic O’Riagain, descendant of Riagan, a personal name of uncertain origin. O’Regan became Regan and often Reagan in America.
Select Regan/Reagan Resources on The Internet

Regan/Reagan Ancestry

There were three main O’Regan septs in Ireland, with three different

  • The first sept belonged at one time to counties Meath and Dublin
    and were one of the
    four tribes of Tara.
    After the Norman
    invasion they were dispossessed and driven westward to county Laois.
  • the second descended from Riagon, nephew of Brian Boru, and ruled
    in the ancient territory of Tuathmhumhan, present-day Clare, Limerick
    and Tipperary
  • and the third sept resided in Carbery in west Cork and were
    kinsmen of the MacCarthys.

Teige MacShane O’Regan was the last chief of the west Cork
O’Regans. He was an officer in the Jacobite army in 1690.
After the Battle of the Boyne he left for the Continent with the rest
of the defeated army. But the west Cork lands at Ballinaclogh remained
in the O’Regan family until the early 20th century.

Most Regans
and O’Regans in Ireland are still to be found in county Cork
today. There have
a number in the Doneraile area of NE Cork. Many
Regans from Cork
emigrated in
the 19th century, such as those who departed for Canada in 1823.

Under English rule Regan had displaced O’Regan as the surname
used. But O’Regan has made a comeback in the past fifty years.

England. Some
emigrated to England. Thomas O’Regan, for instance, attended
College in Dublin and took up a church position as vicar in Shropshire
in the 1840’s. His brother John was Archdeacon in Kildare.

Regan was recorded as marrying Catherine Baldwin in Liverpool in 1849
and raising a family there. Lancashire was where most Regans from
Ireland came to in England in the 19th century.

America. Regans and
Reagans started to appear in Pennsylvania records from the
1730’s. James and Michael Reagan were recorded as serving in the
Revolutionary War. After the war they were traced to Tennessee
and Georgia.

There were in fact many Reagans in Sevier county, Tennessee
by the early 1800’s.

John Henninger Reagan, born there in 1818,
migrated south to
Texas as a young man. He rose in politics there and served the
Confederacy during the Civil War. After the Confederate defeat,
he suffered imprisonment but was able to return to public office as a
Congressman. He later became chairman of the Railroad Commission
of Texas. Reagan county in Texas was named after him.

Michael O’Regan,
a tenant farmer from Tipperary, had come with his wife
Catherine to America in 1857 and settled as Reagans in
Carroll county, Illinois. Three generations later came Ronald
Reagan. He was an actor, then a politician, and finally President
the United States.

James and Ann Regan arrived in Nova Scotia from county Cork in the
1830’s. Later Regans settled in
Windsor. Walter Regan was the ice hockey
coach of the Windsor Swastikas in the early 1900’s.
His son Gerald was Premier of Nova Scotia in
the 1970’s.

Australia. Thomas O’Regan came out to
Tasmania as a
young man from Limerick in 1838. He was
to spend five years of his life in Tasmania and the remaining forty
five years
in Victoria, mainly in Melbourne. He
died a rich man, living off the rent of the Australia Hotel on Bourke
Street. Where he got his money is a
mystery. Some said he owned a silver mine
in Tasmania, others that he struck lucky during the Victorian gold rush.

Regan/Reagan Miscellany

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

Regan/Reagan Names

Maurice O’Regan, a secretary to the king of Leinster, wrote an
account of the arrival of the Normans under Strongbow in the 12th
John Henninger Reagan was a
leading politician in Texas during and after the Civil War.
was a Hollywood actor, Governor of California, and the
40th President of the United States.
Don Regan was Secretary of the
Treasury and Chief of Staff during the Reagan administration.

Select Regans/Reagans Today

  • 8,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 15,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 11,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)




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