Origin of the Name MacMeeken
family history was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives.
Over the centuries Surnames developed a wide number of variants. Different spellings of the same name can be traced back to an original root. Additionally when a bearer of a name emigrated it was not uncommon that their original name would be incorrectly transcribed in the record books at their new location. Surnames were also often altered over the years based on how they sounded phonetically and depending on the prevailing political conditions it may have been advantageous to change a name from one language to another.
Variants of the name McMeeken
include Meeken, Meehan, O'Meehan, Mehan, Meighan and Meegan. This name in Irish is O'Miadhachain and the latter variants are the anglicized forms of this. This Irish sept belonged to County Leitrim and are akin to the MacCarthys of Munster .
A sept or clan is a collective term describing a group of persons whose immediate ancestors bore a common surname and inhabited the same territory. Irish septs and clans that are related often belong to even larger groups, sometimes called tribes.
The placename of Ballaghmeehin in the Parish of Rossinver bears their name. From Leitrim they spread to the adjacent Counties and are now fairly numerous in East Connacht and in County Clare, where in 1317, they were one of the Thomond Septs who rallied to the O'Briens. In modern times the name McMeeken is often found in Counties Antrim and Down. A metal case containing a manuscript of Saint Molaise of Devenish was for over a thousand years preserved by successive generations of O'Meehans, and is now in the National Museum of Ireland .
The MacMeeken coat of arms came into existence centuries ago. The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this. The new art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own coat of arms, including all MacMeeken descendants.