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Kernan Coat of Arms / Kernan Family Crest

Kernan Coat of Arms / Kernan Family Crest

The surname of KERNAN was derived from the Gaelic MacTighearnain, a name meaning 'Lord'. They were a Breffny sept whose name is usually spelt as Mac Ternanin in County Leitrim. The tradition of surnames in Ireland developed spontaneously, as the population increased and the former practice, first of single names and then of ephemeral patronymics or agnomina of the nickname type proved insufficiently definitive. At first the surname was formed by prefixing 'Mac' to the father's Christian name or 'O 'to that of a grandfather or earlier ancestor. Three Mac Thighearnain septs provide the ancestry of the Kiernan and Tiernan families as well, of course, as the McKiernans and McTiernans. The heaviest distribution is in County Cavan and the adjacent counties of Leitrim and Longford, indicating their descent from the Mac Thighearnain septs of East Breffny, located in County Cavan. Another of the septs of the name was also located in Ulster, in County Fermanagh, the third was a branch of the O'Conors of Connacht. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings. Many Highland families migrated from Scotland to Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries, and were granted the lands of the native Catholic Irish. People heard of the attractions of the New World, and many left Ireland to seek a better life sailing aboard the fleet of ships known as the 'White Sails', but much illness took its toll with the overcrowding of the ships which were pestilence ridden. From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagons to the prairies, and many loyalists went to Canada about the year 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists. The lion is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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