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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


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

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The surname Nowlan was 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.

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 Nowlan family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including Nolan, O'Nolan, Nowlan, O'Nowlan, O'Nowland, Knowlan, Noland and many more.


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

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

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During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the Nowlan family in North America:

Nowlan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Eloner Nowlan, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766

Nowlan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Danl Nowlan, aged 21, arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1804
  • Christopher Nowlan, who landed in New York, NY in 1815
  • Charles Nowlan, who arrived in New London, Conn in 1816
  • Patrick Nowlan, aged 23, arrived in New York in 1817
  • Michael Nowlan, aged 27, landed in Missouri in 1844


Nowlan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • John Nowlan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1808
  • Elizabeth Nowlan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1818
  • Bridget Nowlan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1822
  • Margaret Nowlan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1829
  • James Nowlan, aged 34, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the schooner "Jane" from Galway


Nowlan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Lawrence Nowlan, aged 37, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Marshall Bennett,"
  • Michael Nowlan, aged 40, a mason, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Hyderabad"
  • Bridget Nowlan, aged 21, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Lord Raglan"
  • Anne Nowlan, aged 22, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Europa"
  • Mary Nowlan, aged 17, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Velocity"


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  • Philip Francis Nowlan (1888-1940), American science fiction author
  • Kevin Nowlan (b. 1958), American comic-book artist
  • John T. Nowlan, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1956
  • James D. Nowlan (b. 1941), American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1972
  • James A. Nowlan (1873-1942), American Republican politician, Presidential Elector for Illinois, 1920; Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1928
  • Hume K. Nowlan, American Democrat politician, City manager of Hinton, West Virginia, 1934
  • Gurdon Nowlan, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Livingston County 1st District, 1848
  • Edward G. Nowlan, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Tioga County, 1880-81
  • James Nowlan (1855-1924), Irish President of the Gaelic Athletic Association from 1901 to 1921
  • Patrick Nowlan (1827-1896), Newfoundland merchant and politician who represented Harbour Main from 1859 to 1865 and from 1873 to 1882

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  1. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  2. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  3. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  4. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  5. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  8. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  9. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  10. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 13 December 2015 at 22:17.

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