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

Where did the Irish Phelan family come from? What is the Irish Phelan family crest and coat of arms? 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.


Before widespread literacy came to Ireland, a name was often recorded under several different variations during the life of its bearer. Accordingly, numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name Phelan family name. Variations found 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.


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.


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


Thousands of Irish families left for North American shores in the 19th century. These people were searching for a life unencumbered with poverty, hunger, and racial discrimination. Many arrived to eventually find such conditions, but many others simply did not arrive: victims of the diseased, overcrowded ships in which they traveled to the New World. Those who lived to see North American shores were instrumental in the development of the growing nations of Canada and the United States. A thorough examination of passenger and immigration lists has disclosed evidence of many early immigrants of 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


  • 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



  • Phelan,Malone, Kevill, Stutz & Klaes Families by John T. Phelan.

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  1. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  2. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  3. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  5. 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 Co., 1992. Print.
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  8. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  9. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  10. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  11. ...

The Phelan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Phelan 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 10 December 2013 at 07:10.

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