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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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 United States in the 17th Century

  • Catherine Nolan, who arrived in Maryland in 1655

Nolan Settlers in 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

Nolan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Bernard Nolan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1828
  • Mary Nolan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1828
  • Mathew Nolan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1832
  • Sarah MacFarlan Nolan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1833
  • Michael Nolan, aged 22, a carpenter, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "Reward" from Cork

Nolan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Bridget Nolan, English convict from Dorset, who was transported aboard the "America" on December 30, 1830, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • James Nolan arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1838
  • Patrick Nolan, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Michael Nolan, aged 22, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Constance"

Nolan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Honora Nolan arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "John Masterman" in 1857
  • John Nolan arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "John Masterman" in 1857
  • James Nolan, aged 26, a labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maori" in 1864
  • Laurence Nolan, aged 29, a labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864
  • Ann Nolan, aged 23, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864


  • Dennis E Nolan (1872-1956), U.S. Army general
  • Dick Nolan (1932-2007), American football player & head coach in the NFL
  • 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
  • Barry Nolan (b. 1947), American former television presenter
  • Brian Nolan (b. 1979), American actor and producer
  • Catherine T. Nolan (b. 1958), American politician, Member of the New York State Assembly (1985-)
  • Christopher Jonathan James "Chris' Nolan (b. 1970), British-born, American three-time Academy Award nominated film director, screenwriter, and producer
  • David Nolan (b. 1946), American author and civil rights activist



  • 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.


  1. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. 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. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  4. 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).
  5. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  8. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  9. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  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 15 March 2015 at 14:47.

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