Alan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the name Alan began when it was derived from the given name Alan, which is thought to mean "little rock" or "headstone." The name was popular among the Breton followers of William the Conqueror due to St. Alan, a 5th-century bishop from Quimper, Brittany; during the Middle Ages, parents often named their children after saints in the hope that the child would be blessed or protected by the saint.

Early Origins of the Alan family

The surname Alan was first found in the lands of Shropshire, where Walter FitzAlan of Brittany held a family seat after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The parish of Mileham, Norfolk is of early significance to the family. "This place, at the time of the Conquest, was given to Alan, son of Flaald, and ancestor of the Fitz-Alans, earls of Arundel, who erected a strong castle here, of which some vestiges may still be traced, within the area of an intrenchment of twelve acres; the site of the keep is pointed out by an inner intrenchment by which it was surrounded." [1]

Alain de Lille (1114-1203), was "one of the most illustrious scholars of his age, and for his attainments in theology, philosophy, history, poetry, and natural science, acquired the designation of 'Doctor universalis.' His nationality has not been ascertained with unquestioned accuracy. " [2]

Alan of Beccles (d. 1240) was official secretary to Bishops Pandulf and Thomas de Blundeville of Norwich between the years 1218 and 1236 and Alan of Tewkesbury, was a writer of the twelfth century, according to the express statement of Gervase of Canterbury, an Englishman by descent. [2]

Early History of the Alan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Alan research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1532, 1594, 1583, 1658, 1596, 1671, 1637, 1608, 1673, 1610, 1681, 1612, 1685, 1614, 1677, 1621, 1663, 1660, 1677, 1686, 1677, 1686, 1694, 1764, 1635, 1705, 1692, 1700, 1634, 1668, 1430, 1611, 1681, 1614, 1677, 1661, 1726 and 1717 are included under the topic Early Alan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Alan Spelling Variations

There are many spelling variations of Breton surnames, because the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find references to one individual with many different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. The name has been spelled Alan, Allan, Allen, Alleyn, Allayne, Allaine, Allain, Allanach, Allanshaw, MacAllan and many more.

Early Notables of the Alan family (pre 1700)

Notable of this family during the Middle Ages was William Allen (1532-1594), an English prelate; Francis Allen (ca.1583-1658), an English financier, politician and regicide who sided with parliament in the civil War against Charles I; John Allen, or John Allin (1596-1671) English settler America in 1637-38, one of the founders of Dedham, Massachusetts; Thomas Allen (1608-1673) English nonconformist minister and divine from Norwich; Richard Alleine (1610-1681), an English Puritan divine; Sir Thomas Allin, 1st Baronet (1612-1685), an officer of the Royal Navy; William Alleine (1614-1677), an English minister; John Alleyn or Allen (1621-1663), Cornish politician, MP for St Michael, Cornwall in...
Another 161 words (12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Alan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Alan family to Ireland

Some of the Alan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 93 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Alan migration to the United States +

An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Alan arrived in North America very early:

Alan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Francisco DePaula Alan, who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1878 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Alan (post 1700) +

  • Fred Alan, American politician, Candidate in primary for Mayor of Bloomington, Minnesota, 2011 [4]
  • James Alan McPherson (1943-2016), American essayist and short-story writer; the first black writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
  • Richard Alan Smith (1924-2020), American business executive who served as CEO of General Cinema Corporation
  • Richard Alan Drasin (1944-2020), American bodybuilder, personal trainer, actor, stuntman, author, and professional wrestler
  • Rick Alan Reed (1950-2020), American umpire in Major League Baseball
  • Jim Alan Piper (b. 1981), Australian two-time gold, three-time silver and two-time bronze medalist breaststroke swimmer
  • Sir Geoffrey Alan Tantum C.M.G., O.B.E., M.A., M.C.I.L., British former MI6 controller for the Middle East, was appointed a Knight Bachelor on 8th June 2018, previous appointments in the 1995 New Years Honours, for services to British Interests overseas [5]
  • Robert Alan Levinson (1948-2020), American former Drug Enforcement Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who disappeared mysteriously on March 9, 2007 in Kish Island, Iran
  • Mr. Rolf Alan Mason M.B.E., British Warrant Officer Class 2 for The Royal Regiment of Artillery was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire on 17th June 2017
  • Brigadier John Alan Caunter, British officer who served in campaigns in France, Flanders Macedonia and Turkey in World War I, and later served in India


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 2) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  5. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62310, 4 July 2019 | London Gazette, The Gazette, June 2018, https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/62310/supplement/B1


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