Carolan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish name Carolan claims descent from the O'Connors in Donegal where "Carlan" (from the Irish "carla" meaning a "wool-comb" and "an" meaning "one who" which roughly translates as "one who combs wool") was in Irish O'Carlain or O'Caireallain.

Early Origins of the Carolan family

The surname Carolan was first found in County Limerick (Irish: Luimneach) located in Southwestern Ireland, in the province of Munster, where the name is descended from the O'Connor stem, Kings of Connaught and the family became early associated with the county of Tyrone, and in neighboring counties.

Early History of the Carolan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Carolan research. Another 130 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1738, 1799, 1535, 1568, 1670 and 1738 are included under the topic Early Carolan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Carolan Spelling Variations

The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period because the general population had to rely on local official's understanding of how their name should be spelt, hence spellings in records often changed through a person's lifetime. The following variations for the name Carolan were encountered in the archives: Carlin, Carling, O'Carolan, Carline, Karlin, Kerling, Kerline, Carlind, Carlynde, Carlyne, Carlyn, Carrlin, Carrling, Kerlynd, Kerlynde, Karlynd, Karline, Kearlin, Kearline, Kearlynd, Carolan, Carrolan, Carolyn, Carolyne, Caroline, Carolynde, Caraline, Carroline, Carlan, Carland, Carlon, Carlone, Karolin, Karolan, Karrolin and many more.

Early Notables of the Carolan family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Hugh O'Carolan, Bishop of Clogher from 1535-1568. Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738) was a blind early Irish harper, composer and singer, known for his gift for melodic composition. Born in Nobber, County Meath, his father took a job with the MacDermott Roe family of Alderford House, thereby giving Turlough an education. By the time he was eighteen, he was blinded by smallpox and by the age of twenty-one, he was given a horse and...
Another 81 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Carolan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Carolan Ranking

In the United States, the name Carolan is the 17,009th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]

United States Carolan migration to the United States +

Ireland became inhospitable for many native Irish families in the 19th centuries. Poverty, lack of opportunities, high rents, and discrimination forced thousands to leave the island for North America. The largest exodus of Irish settlers occurred with the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For these immigrants the journey to British North America and the United States was long and dangerous and many did not live to see the shores of those new lands. Those who did make it were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world. These Irish immigrants were not only important for peopling the new settlements and cities, they also provided the manpower needed for the many industrial and agricultural projects so essential to these growing nations. Immigration and passenger lists have documented the arrival of various people bearing the name Carolan to North America:

Carolan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Rose Carolan, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811 [2]
  • Patrick Carolan, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1823 [2]
  • James Carolan, who landed in Mississippi in 1840 [2]
  • Michael Carolan, aged 24, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1872 [2]
  • Bridget Carolan, aged 17, who arrived in America from Ireland, in 1892
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Carolan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Bernard J. Carolan, aged 25, who arrived in America from Tullamore, in 1901
  • James Carolan, aged 40, who arrived in America from Mullagh, in 1901
  • John Carolan, aged 23, who arrived in America from Mulvanny, in 1902
  • John Carolan, aged 24, who arrived in America from Dublin, Ireland, in 1904
  • Bridget Carolan, aged 30, who arrived in America from Kingscourt, in 1904
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Carolan migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Carolan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Con Carolan, (b. 1795), aged 24, Irish labourer who was convicted in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland for 14 years, transported aboard the "Castle Forbes" on 3rd October 1819, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [3]
  • Mr. Edward Carolan, Scottish convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 10 years, transported aboard the "Bangalore" on 28th March 1848, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) from Bermuda [4]
  • Thomas Carolan, aged 36, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Constance" [5]
  • Elizabeth Carolan, aged 20, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Standard" [6]
  • Ann Carolan, aged 18, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Nabob"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Carolan migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Carolan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Rev. Carolan, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Janet Cowan" arriving in Port Chalmers, Otago, New Zealand on 3rd January 1875 [7]
  • Terence Carolan, aged 28, a farm labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Salisbury" in 1876

Contemporary Notables of the name Carolan (post 1700) +

  • Reginald Howard "Stretch" or "Reggie" Carolan (b. 1939), former professional American football player who played played seven seasons (1962–1968), the last five with the Kansas City Chiefs
  • Brett Carolan (b. 1971), former professional American football player
  • Kevin Carolan (b. 1968), American actor and comedian
  • Tom Carolan (b. 1961), American music executive and entrepreneur
  • Joseph "Joe" Carolan (b. 1937), Irish former professional footballer who played from 1956 to 1971 including for the Republic of Ireland National Team (1959-1960)
  • Stuart Carolan, Irish playwright based in Dublin, Writer-in-Association in Dublin's Abbey Theatre in 2007
  • Kate Carolan, Irish-American news reporter and radio presenter
  • Trevor Carolan (b. 1951), English-born, Canadian writer from Bradford, Yorkshire, who has published 16 books of non-fiction, poetry, fiction, translations and anthologies
  • Desmond Carolan Fennell (1929-2021), Irish writer, essayist, cultural philosopher and linguist

SS Alcoa Puritan
  • J.C. Carolan, American from New Orleans, Louisiana, who was working aboard the SS Alcoa Puritan (1942) traveling from Port of Spain, Trinidad to Mobile, Alabama when it was torpedoed by U-boat U-507; he survived the sinking [8]

The Carolan Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Felis demulcta mitis
Motto Translation: A stroked cat is gentle.

  1. ^
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th September 2020). Retrieved from
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CONSTANCE 1849. Retrieved from
  6. ^ South Australian Register Friday 14 October 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Standard 1853. Retrieved
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  8. ^ - (Retrieved 2018, February 8th) on Facebook