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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish Phelan family come from? When did the Phelan family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Phelan family history?

Many variations of the name Phelan have evolved since the time of its initial creation. In Gaelic it appeared as O Faoilain, which is derived from the word faol, which means wolf.

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A name was often recorded during the Middle Ages under several different spelling variations during the life of its bearer because literacy was rare there was no real push to clearly define any of the languages found in the British Isles at that time. Variations found of the name Phelan include Phelan, O'Phelan, Whelan, O'Failin, Phalen, Phalon, Phaelan and many more.

First found in County Waterford (Irish: Port Láirge), anciently the Deise region, on the South coast of Ireland in the Province of Munster.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Phelan research. Another 204 words(15 lines of text) covering the year 1172 is included under the topic Early Phelan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Phelan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North America. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Phelan:

Phelan Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Margaret Phelan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Patrick Phelan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Thomas Phelan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Edward Phelan, aged 44, landed in Maryland in 1813
  • William Phelan, aged 29, arrived in Louisiana in 1813


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  • Edward J. Phelan (1888-1967), Director-General of the United Nations International Labor Office
  • James Phelan Sr. (1821-1873), American politician, senator in the Confederate Congress during the American Civil War
  • James Phelan Jr. (1856-1891), American politician, U.S. Senator from Tennessee
  • Pat Phelan (b. 1985), American soccer player
  • Tony Phelan, American two-time Emmy Award nominated television screenwriter, producer and director, best known for his work on Grey's Anatomy
  • Kieran Phelan (1950-2010), Irish senator
  • Kevin Phelan (b. 1990), Irish professional PGA golfer
  • Nancy Phelan (1913-2008), Australian writer
  • Anita Phelan (b. 1982), British folk singer
  • Anne Phelan OAM (b. 1944), Australian actress

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  • Phelan,Malone, Kevill, Stutz & Klaes Families by John T. Phelan.
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  1. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  3. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  4. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  8. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 10 December 2013 at 07:10.

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