Ryan / Family History
The ancient origin of the name Ryan was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. Meaning 'administrator', the Ryans descended from a second century King of Leinster called Cathaoir Mor. They separated into two septs, one being O'Rain of Idrone in Carlow and the other being the O'Maoilrians, who were Chiefs of Owney around Tipperary and Limerick. The name originally was O'Mulryans which is now almost obsolete. In the census of 1659 Ryan outnumbers O'Mulryan by four to one and today there are few of this name left. The Ryans of Carlow and surrounding districts are distinct from those already mentioned but are still descended from Cathaoir Mor, King of Leinster, in the second century. After the Treaty of Limerick many Ryans went abroad to America, Chile and Spain and distinguished themselves as Commanders, Admirals and Ministers. In the United States Father Joseph Ryan, 1838-1911, was Archbishop of Philadelphia. Stephen Vincent Ryan, 1826-1896, from Clare, was Bishop of Buffalo.The Ryan family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Ryan descendants.