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

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

Throughout history, very few Irish surnames have exclusively maintained their original forms. Before being translated into English, Nolan appeared as O Nuallain, which is derived from the Irish Gaelic word "nuall," meaning "shout."


Names from the Middle Ages demonstrate many spelling variations. This is because the recording scribe or church official often decided as to how a person's name was spelt and in what language. Research into the name Nolan revealed many variations, including Nolan, O'Nolan, Nowlan, O'Nowlan, O'Nowland, Knowlan, Noland and many more.

First found in County Carlow (Irish: Cheatharlach) a small landlocked area located in the province of Leinster in the South East of Ireland, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nolan research. Another 412 words(29 lines of text) covering the year 1172 is included under the topic Early Nolan History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


To escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, thousands of Irish left their homeland in the 19th century. These migrants typically settled in communities throughout the East Coast of North America, but also joined the wagon trains moving out to the Midwest. Ironically, when the American War of Independence began, many Irish settlers took the side of England, and at the war's conclusion moved north to Canada. These United Empire Loyalists, were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Other Irish immigrants settled in Newfoundland, the Ottawa Valley, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, however, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America and Australia. Many of those numbers, however, did not live through the long sea passage. These Irish settlers to North America were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Irish settlers made an inestimable contribution to the building of the New World. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name Nolan or a variant listed above, including:

Nolan Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Catherine Nolan, who arrived in Maryland in 1655

Nolan Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • P Nolan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • John M Nolan, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1822
  • Arthur Nolan, aged 28, landed in Missouri in 1844
  • Samuel Nolan, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844
  • Francis Nolan, who arrived in Mississippi in 1846


  • Dennis E Nolan (1872-1956), U.S. Army general
  • Dick Nolan (b. 1932), American football player & coach
  • William Francis Nolan (b. 1928), award winning American author, best known for writing stories in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres
  • Joseph A. Nolan (1857-1921), Artificer in the United States Army and a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions in the Philippine-American War
  • Lloyd Benedict Nolan (1902-1985), American film and television actor
  • Christopher Nolan (1966-2009), Irish author, winner of the Whitbread Prize (1988)
  • Bernadette Therese "Bernie" Nolan (1960-2013), Irish actress, singer and television personality, former lead vocalist of The Nolans
  • Bob Nolan (1908-1980), Canadian singer-songwriter & actor
  • Lord Michael Nolan (1928-2007), Baron Nolan, British judge
  • Sir Sidney Nolan OM, AC (1917-1992), Australian painter, illustrator and theatrical designer



  • Descendants of Cornet George Barton in Ireland and the United States with Allied Nolan/Lalor/Kinsella Lines in Ireland and the United States by Louise Egan Peterson.
  • In the Mood for Stardom: The Nolans by Kim Treasurer.

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  1. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  2. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  3. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  4. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  5. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  6. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  7. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  8. 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).
  9. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  10. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  11. ...

The Nolan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Nolan 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 7 August 2014 at 11:37.

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