Humanities › History & Culture Meaning and History of the Surname Callaghan Share Flipboard Email Print Susan Chiang / Getty Images History & Culture Genealogy Surnames Basics Genealogy Fun Vital Records Around the World American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kimberly Powell Genealogy Expert Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University B.A., Carnegie Mellon University Kimberly Powell is a professional genealogist and the author of The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy. She teaches at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. our editorial process Kimberly Powell Updated May 30, 2019 The Callaghan surname is derived from the Gaelic name Ó Ceallagcháin, meaning "descendant of Ceallanchán." The "O" prefix indicates "descendant of," while Ceallagcháin is a diminutive of Ceallach, a given name of uncertain origin. The most widely accepted meaning is "bright-headed," from the Gaelic cen, meaning "head" and lach, meaning "light" Other possibilities include: "lover of churches," from ceall, meaning "church"from the Old Irish ceallach, meaning "contention, strife"From ciallach, meaning "prudent, judicious" Surname Origin: Irish Alternate Surname Spellings: O'CALLAGHAN, CALLAHAN, CALLACHAN, CEALLACHAIN, CELLACHAN, CEALLAGHAN, CELLACHAIN, O'CALLAGHAN, O'CALLAHAN, KEELAGHAN Famous People with the Surname CALLAGHAN Fr Richard Callaghan - 18th century Irish Jesuit educationalistEdmund Bailey O'Callaghan - Irish doctor and journalistJohn Cornelius O'Callaghan - Irish historian and writerSir Francis O'Callaghan - Irish civil engineerJames Callaghan - UK Prime Minister, 1976–79Dr. Patrick "Pat" O'Callaghan - considered one of Ireland's greatest athletes; Olympic gold medalist Where is the CALLAGHAN Surname Most Commonly Found? Forebears identifies the Callaghan surname as being most common in Ireland, where it ranks 112th in the nation. It is also fairly common in Northern Ireland (ranked 433rd), Scotland (541st), Australia (593rd), Wales (653rd), New Zealand (657th) and England (658th). Within Ireland, Callaghan is the most common in Cork. The O'Callaghan variant ranks just behind Callaghan in Ireland, coming in as number 113. WorldNames PublicProfiler identifies the Callaghan surname as more common in Donegal and the other northern Irish counties. Genealogy Resources for the Surname CALLAGHAN Common Surnames of IrelandDiscover the meaning of your Irish last name, and learn where in Ireland these Irish surnames are most commonly found Callaghan Family Crest - It's Not What You ThinkContrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Callaghan family crest or coat of arms for the Callaghan surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted. O'Callaghan/Callaghan/Callahan/Keelaghan DNA ProjectIndividuals with the Callaghan surname and variations are invited to join this project dedicated to combining the results of DNA testing with genealogy research to identify various Callaghan and O'Callaghan family lines. Callaghan Family Genealogy ForumSearch this popular genealogy forum for the Callaghan surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Callaghan query. DistantCousin.com - CALLAGHAN Genealogy & Family HistoryExplore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Callaghan. GeneaNet - Callaghan RecordsGeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Callaghan surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries. The Callaghan Genealogy and Family Tree PageBrowse family trees and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the last name Callaghan from the website of Genealogy Today. Sources Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998. Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003. Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989. Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003. Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997. Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.