Site Meter The Ryan Surname

Over the last few years I've made friends with several wonderful people on Facebook and Windows Live. Maureen Meehan is one of my best sources of information.

Maureen's maiden name was Ryan. This WEB Site is dedicated to her, her family and her ancestors. Over the last year, I have made several important contacts in Ireland but Maureen has been my first source of information on Ireland, the Meehan's, Ryans and Claremorris, Ireland. Maureen Meehan is from Claremorris, Ireland and contributed to my blog on Claremorris, County Mayo, Ireland. Maureenís husband, Pat Meehan, is from Ballindine, County Mayo, Ireland which is 5 miles from Claremorris his Dad (Johnny) still lives there. Ballindine is their ancestral home. Johnny's brothers immigrated to the USA in the 1950ís and are now living in St Louis, Boston and New York. The population of Ballindine was 233 in 1996 and was 249 in 2006. Folklore tells us that Ballindine got its name from this fort - "Baile an Daingin" meaning "Town of the Fortress" and that the Souterrain, just outside it, was connected underground to the ruins of the old Church in Cloonmore about two miles away to the east and also to the ruins of the old church in Garryduff, three miles west.

Maureen Meehan's maiden name was Ryan and she was from Castlebar which is 22 miles from Claremorris. Maureen was christened Mary but called Maureen. Her father is Paddy Ryan and her mother is Margaret (Baby) Ryan. The following are a few of the many who have helped in my effort to learn about Ireland and document both Ireland and the Irish People.

This WEB Site is also in honor of Larry J. Ryan. Ensign Larry J. Ryan died in March of 1968 in a Naval Jet Accident. Larry was my friend, classmate and roommate at Loras College. You can learn more about Larry Ryan on his WEB Site at Ensign Larry J. Ryan - Naval Aviator.

Other contributors to my search for ancestors are listed below

  • Cailin Meehan
  • Maureen Meehan
  • Elizabeth Anne Donovan
  • Gina Deen
  • Theresa Meehan-Currie
  • Mel O'Connor
  • Gary O'Connor
  • Michele Kerrigan
  • Ryan is the 8th most common surname in Ireland. The name has also spread across the English-speaking world (as well as becoming a popular choice as first name).

    The main source of this name was the old Gaelic O'Maoilriain (descendant of Maoilriain), the name of a Munster sept in Tipperary and Limerick. O'Maoilriain abbreviated and anglicized over time to Mulryan and then to Ryan. A smaller and separate Leinster sept in county Carlow, O'Riain, also became Ryans.

    The first record of O'Maoilriain as a sept name occurred in Tipperary sometime in the 14th century, the time they settled in Owney, the mountainous land along the borders of Tipperary and Limerick. Their family influence grew rapidly as did their numbers, so that it became a common saying in Tipperary: "One could hardly throw a stone down a street in Tipperary without hitting a Ryan."

    In the 1640's, the Ryans joined in the rebellion of the Catholic Confederacy, but were defeated by Cromwell. Old clans such as the Ryans of Solohead were attainted, forfeiting their hereditary lands and receiving in return poor lands west of the Shannon. Eamon Ryan (Eamon an Chnoic), the poet and outlaw, was captured and killed.

    A number of Ryans, driven into exile during the 18th century, found service in the armies of France, Spain and Austria. Many joined the Church, in Ireland or being posted abroad. Others simply emigrated in search of a better life. British rule was resented in Ireland, a sentiment expressed in Darby Ryan's ditty, The Peeler and the Goat.

    The name Ryan is still very common in Tipperary. Among the Ryans born there in the 19th and 20th century have been:

  • Darby Ryan, the songwriter and patriot (born in Bansha)
  • Patrick Ryan, Archbiishop of Philadelphia (born in Thurles)
  • William P. Ryan, journalist and founder of The Nation (born in Templemore)
  • Tony Ryan, co-founder of Ryanair (born in Thurles)
  • Matty Ryan, jeweller and racing enthusiast (born in Thurles).
  • The name has also spread across Ireland, to Dublin and elsewhere. One family history tells of Ryans who had settled in Clare after the siege of Limerick in 1690. Then there was the remarkable 20th century Ryan family of twelve children from Tomcoole in county Wexford who were known as "the Ryan dynasty." They included politicians, farmers and priests, whilst many of the women married into medicine or politics.

    bullet   ENGLAND

    Many Ryans crossed the Irish Sea to London and industrial Lancashire in search of work during the 19th century. Some made it in the professions, notably journalism - such as William P. Ryan, editor of the Daily Herald and A.P. Ryan, literary editor of The Times.

    Others struggled to make a living, as this Victorian account of a family reveals:
    "The Ryan family settled in an area around Blackfriars. After he married, Michael Ryan at different times ran a fish shop, a greengrocers, and a laundry. Everything was washed by hand, in big tubs in a washhouse at the back of the house and then ironed with old flat irons heated on a stove. There was always a smell of wet washing everywhere."

    The travails of a fictional Ryan family in Liverpool were described in Lyn Andrew's 2001 novel My Sister's Child.

    America. Revolutionary War records reveal many Ryans who fought on the American side. Among early Ryan settlers were:

  • William Ryan (son of John Ryan), born in Amherst county Virginia in 1755. A Ryan family of Westmoreland county Virginia, who later moved to West Virginia and Kentucky.
  • John Ryan, who was in New Jersey in the 1770's and whose family then settled in Crawford county, Pennsylvania.
  • John Ryan, of Barbour county West Virginia in the 1780's. Two of his sons migrated to Ohio.
  • There was a much larger Ryan influx during the 19th century. William and Nancy Ryan arrived in 1839 and settled in Rockford, Illinois (their story is recounted in Martha Ryan's 1992 book A Long Way from Tipperary). Another Ryan family, who came to America at the time of the potato famine, ended up in California in 1851 during the Gold Rush boom. Michael and Catherine Ryan owned the Ryan House Hotel as a stripping-off place for miners.

    Among the many Ryans in New York City was first generation John F. O'Ryan, who rose to be a US army general during World War One. Ryan's Hope was a TV soap of the 1980's which revolved around the trials and tribulations of a large Irish-American family in New York City.

    A real "rags-to- riches" story was that of Thomas Fortune Ryan, the Wall Street financier who died in 1928 as the 12th richest man in America. Despite certain myths regarding his background, he was neither orphaned nor penniless as a child in Virginia's Piedmont district and his ancestry has been traced back to Protestant Anglo-Irish settlers in the 1600's.

    Better known today perhaps is the fictional Jack Ryan of Tom Clancy's novels, as portrayed by Harrison Ford in films such as Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.

    My classmate and friend, Larry Ryan was a Naval Aviator killed in 1968. You can read about his story on his WEB Site at Ensign Larry J. Ryan, Naval Aviator.

    bullet   CANADA

    Ryans have made their presence felt in Canada most noriceably in the Maritime Provinces. John Ryan, a Loyalist from New England, started the first newspaper in New Brunswick in 1784. There were Ryans from Ireland in Pouch Cove and Calvert, Newfoundland by 1800; and Ryans from Ireland in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by the 1830's.

    In the 1850's James Ryan, the son of an Irish immigrant, started a fishery and shipping business in Bonavista, Newfoundland. It grew into a large mercantile empire, making him one of the wealthiest people in Newfoundland. James died in 1917, but his family carried on the fish trade until 1952. The Divine Ryans was a 1999 film based around a Ryan family who ran a funeral parlor in St. John's, Newfoundland.

    bullet   AUSTRALIA

    The first Ryans in Australia were undoubtedly convicts. John Ryan, a silkweaver convicted of theft, was onboard the First Fleet convict ship to Australia in 1788. Many left no trace. Two who did leave family were Ned Ryan, the so-called King of Galong Castle who was transported in 1816, and Catherine Ryan, who was transported for manslaughter in 1829.

    Many Ryans later came as settlers, including the following from Tipperary:

  • Daniel and Mary Ryan on the Glenswilly in 1840. They were pioneers of the Monaro region of NSW.
  • David and Honora Ryan on the Argyle in 1852.
  • Michael and Johanna Ryan on the Raja Gopaul to Queensland in 1852. They settled in Rockhampton.
  • Henry and Catherine Ryan on the Rodney to South Australia in 1854.
  • Thomas and Brigid Ryan came to New Zealand on the Fernglen in 1876. They settled in Petone.
  • There were also a number of Ryan arrivals from Limerick.

    Among the first generation Ryans was Thomas Ryan, the son of an illiterate laborer, who educated himself as a lawyer and rose to become Prime Minister of Queensland. A statue in Brisbane commemmorates him.


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    JJ Meehan's Family Tree
    This WEB Site has links to over 4,000 members of John J. Meehan FamilySite..

    Family History and Genealogy Site
    This WEB site contains history of several Surnames e.g., Meehan, Doyle, Lynch, Ayers, Ryan and McDonald. In addition there are links to several Family Genealogy WEB Sites plus several other interesting WEB Sites developed by John J. Meehan. There are also links to other Genealogy Resources and Archives.

    This link is also available when you click on "IRELAND"
    in Green in the first part of this Web Site.

    This site contains blogs (stories) and other data on Ireland.

    Ryan Surname Group
    This site is on Facebook but is open to anyone. Hope you will join.


    Fly High and Fast
    This is a list of my blogs (stories) on Flying.

    "Cruzin the Avenue"
    This WEB Site brings back memories of the 50's and 60's.

    An Irish Blessing please click above on "IRISH BLESSING".

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    This Web Site was created 20 May 2010 by John J. Meehan