This is a famous Irish clan surname recorded as Madden, Madigan, and MacAvaddy. It derives from the pre 10th century Olde Gaelic O'Madain, translating as 'The descendant of the son of the hound'. Most Irish surnames originate from a chief's nickname, O'Kennedy, for instance means 'The descendant of the ugly headed one!' The O'Madain's originated from lands on the River Shannon in County Galway, at one time holding over 25,000 acres. Even today nameholders are still numerous in that part of Ireland. The Madigan branch of the clan are regarded as almost exclusively a Clare-Limerick family, although a branch are to be found in Counties Antrim and Derry in Ulster. Early surname holders included the Rev. Samuel Madden (1680 - 1760), a famed philanthropist, whilst Richard Madden, (1798 - 1886) was the author of the book 'The United Irishman'. During the infamous 'Potato Famine' of 1846, many name holders emigrated to both England and America. Amongst these were Walter Madden and his wife Mary, and their children Richard aged five and Alice, a baby. They sailed from Galway, bound for New York on the ship 'Junius ' on May 1st 1846. Another recording is that of Hannah Madigan aged twenty two, who left Belfast on the ship 'Howard' for New York, on July 23rd 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Dermot O'Madadhain, which was dated circa 1100. He was chief of the Ui Maine, Connacht, during the reign of King Henry Ist of England, known as 'The Just", 1100 - 1135. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.1135.