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

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

Many variations of the name Whelan 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.


Those scribes in Ireland during the Middle Ages recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in this era many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research on the Whelan family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including 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 Whelan research. Another 204 words(15 lines of text) covering the year 1172 is included under the topic Early Whelan History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Whelan 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 Whelan:

Whelan Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Mary Whelan, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1747

Whelan Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Joseph Whelan, aged 25, landed in New York in 1812
  • James Whelan, aged 29, landed in Maryland in 1813
  • Nicholas Whelan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815
  • Michael Whelan, who landed in New York in 1824
  • John Whelan, aged 40, arrived in St Louis, Missouri in 1840


  • Christopher Charles Whelan (b. 1984), American cricketer
  • Jill Whelan (b. 1966), American former child actress, best known for her role on the Love Boat
  • Michael Whelan (b. 1950), multiple-award-winning American artist specializing in science fiction and fantasy illustration
  • Tim Whelan (1893-1957), American film director, writer, producer and actor
  • Robert Louis Whelan (1912-2001), bishop in the Catholic Church in the United States
  • Bill Whelan (b. 1950), Irish composer, best know for his music for Riverdance
  • Leo Whelan (1892-1956), Irish painter
  • Ronald Andrew "Ronnie" Whelan (b. 1961), former Irish football midfielder
  • Gary Whelan (b. 1953), Irish actor
  • David Whelan (b. 1936), former professional footballer



  • Wheeland/Wieland/Wheland/Weyland and Allied Families (also Whelan Family) by Alvin L. Anderson.
  • Heirs of Eleanor Abell & Thomas Greenwell & Charles Joseph Whelan, Elias Richard Ray & Martha Ellen Buckman by Tillie Whelan Onischak.

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Whelan Armorial History With Coat of Arms
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  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  2. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  3. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  4. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  5. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  6. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  11. ...

The Whelan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Whelan 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 14 October 2014 at 11:19.

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