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

Origins Available: English, French, Irish

Where did the English Allen family come from? What is the English Allen family crest and coat of arms? When did the Allen family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Allen family history?

The name of the Allen family is derived from the given name Alan, which is thought to mean "little rock" or "headstone." The name was popular among the Breton followers of William the Conqueror due to St. Alan, a 5th-century bishop from Quimper, Brittany; during the Middle Ages, parents often named their children after saints in the hope that the child would be blessed or protected by the saint.

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Since the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules, Breton surnames have many spelling variations. Latin and French, which were the official court languages, were also influential on the spelling of surnames. The spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. Therefore, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England after the Norman Conquest, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. The name has been spelled Alan, Allan, Allen, Alleyn, Allayne, Allaine, Allain, Allanach, Allanshaw, MacAllan and many more.

First found in the lands of Shropshire, where Walter FitzAlan of Brittany held a family seat after the Norman Conquest of 1066.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Allen research. Another 229 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1532, 1594, 1583, 1658, 1596, 1671, 1637, 1608, 1673, 1610, 1681, 1612, 1685, 1614, 1677, 1621, 1663, 1660, 1677, 1686, 1677, 1686, 1694, 1764, 1661, 1726 and 1717 are included under the topic Early Allen History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 303 words(22 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Allen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Allen family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 137 words(10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Investigation of immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Allen:

Allen Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Mr. Allen, who arrived in Virginia in 1623
  • Anne Allen, who arrived in Boston in 1635
  • Edwd Allen, who landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Francis Allen, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1635
  • Gideon Allen, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1635


Allen Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Samuel Allen, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1702
  • Alex Allen, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Archb Allen, who arrived in Virginia in 1706
  • Thomas Allen, who landed in Antigua (Antego) in 1711
  • Timo Allen, who landed in Virginia in 1717


Allen Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Isabella Allen, aged 32, landed in New York, NY in 1803
  • Thos Allen, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Wm Allen, who landed in America in 1805
  • Jno Allen, who landed in New York, NY in 1812
  • Alexander F Allen, who arrived in America in 1812


Allen Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Thomas Richard Allen, who landed in Alabama in 1918

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  • William Hervey Allen Jr. (1889-1949), American writer, poet, and professor
  • Gracie Allen (1905-1964), American entertainer who grew famous for her comedy act with her husband George Burns
  • Irwin Allen (1916-1991), Academy Award-winning film producer and director
  • Steve Allen (1921-2000), well-known and prolific American actor, writer, and comedian
  • Joan Allen (b. 1956), American stage and screen actress
  • Edward Patrick Allen (1853-1926), American Fifth Bishop of Mobile, Alabama
  • George Allen (b. 1952), American politician, Governor of Virginia (1994-1998), and US Senator from Virginia (2001-)
  • William McPherson Allen (1900-1985), President of the Boeing Company from 1945-1970 and chairman between 1970 and 1972
  • Chad Allen (b. 1975), American Major League Baseball player
  • Florence Ellinwood Allen (1884-1966), American judge and feminist

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  • The Allen Family: Descendants of John and Amy Cox Allen with Allied Lines by Lester M. Allen.
  • Allen and Allied Families by Dorris Allen O'Neal Dunn.
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  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  3. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  4. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  6. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  7. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  8. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  9. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  10. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  11. ...

The Allen Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Allen Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 27 October 2014 at 12:36.

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