Cullen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

While many Irish names are familiar, their past incarnations are often shrouded in mystery, reflecting the ancient Gaelic heritage of their bearers. The original Gaelic form of the name Cullen is "Mac Cuilinn" or "O Cuilinn," which are from the word "cuileann," which means "holly." They descend from Heber, who with his brother Heremon ruled Ireland. [1]

Culen or Colin, son of Indulph, was King of Scotland or Alba (967-71?) "His father, Indulph, was the first king who occupied Edinburgh, up to that time within Anglian Northumbria. " [2]

Early Origins of the Cullen family

The surname Cullen was first found in the southeast of Ireland, in the counties of Dublin, Wicklow, and Wexford. Although all but one of the many distinct septs have become extinct, this remaining sept currently provides Ireland with nearly 8000 members, enough to make Cullen the 84th most common name in Ireland.

Descended from Olioll Flann Beag, king of Munster, the Cullens made their original homeland at Glencullen, in Wicklow, and they have remained there to the present day, despite the threat of their more powerful neighbors, the O'Tooles and the O'Byrnes. They were an influential family, as indicated by the inclusion of Cullen of Cullenstown among the leading gentry of Wexford in the Clongowes manuscript of 1598.

Due to the prominence of this sept, a number of similarly-named minor septs also adopted the name Cullen, including O Cuileamhain of south Leinster, which is also rendered Culloon or Culhoun, and Mac Cuilin of Leitrim, which is also Anglicized MacCullen.

Early History of the Cullen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cullen research. Another 70 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1659, 1300, 1534, 1517, 1542, 1516, 1528, 1531, 1534, 1803, 1878 and 1803 are included under the topic Early Cullen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cullen Spelling Variations

Lacking standardized spellings, scribes and church officials recorded people's name according to how they sounded. This practice often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname Cullen are preserved in the archival documents of the period. The various spellings of the name that were found include Cullen, Cullan, Cullane, O'Cullen, Cullain, Cullin, Cullon, McCullen, MacCullen, O'Cullane, Culen, Culan, Culain, Cullaine, Culaine, MacCulen, MacCollin, MacColin, O'Colen, O'Collen, O'Cuilin, O'Cuillin, O'Culane, O'Culen, O'Culhoon, O'Culloon, MacCullen, Cullain, Culon, Cullon, Culling and many more.

Early Notables of the Cullen family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family name at this time was Patrick O'Cullen, (d. 1534), Bishop of Clogher (1517-1542.) He "was an Augustinian hermit and prior of St. John without Newgate in Dublin. He was appointed to the see of Clogher by Leo X on 11 Feb. 1516. In 1528 the Pope granted him a dispensation from residence on account of the poverty of his see, which had been so wasted in the wars that it was not...
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cullen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Cullen migration to the United States +

Many Irish families boarded ships bound for North America in the middle of 19th century to escape the conditions of poverty and racial discrimination at that time. Although these immigrants often arrived in a destitute state, they went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. An inquiry into many immigration and passenger lists has revealed many early immigrants to North America bearing the Cullen family name:

Cullen Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Marcus Cullen, who arrived in Maryland in 1679 [3]
Cullen Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Patrick Cullen, who settled in West New Jersey in 1772
Cullen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mary Cullen, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815 [3]
  • Allen Cullen, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [3]
  • William Cullen, who arrived in New York in 1818 [3]
  • Henry Cullen who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1820
  • L. Cullen, who settled in Baltimore in 1820
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Cullen Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • F N Cullen, who arrived in Arkansas in 1905 [3]
  • Sarah Cullen, who landed in Alabama in 1921 [3]
  • Philip Cullen, who landed in Alabama in 1928 [3]

Canada Cullen migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Cullen Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Isaac Cullen U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783 [4]
  • William Cullen was a property owner in St. John's Newfoundland in 1794 and had been settled there for 17 years [5]
Cullen Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mary Cullen, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1823
  • Nancy Cullen, aged 19, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
  • John Cullen, aged 32, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Lady Douglas" from New Ross
  • Bridget Cullen, aged 40, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the ship "Britannia" from Sligo, Ireland
  • James Cullen, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Cullen migration to Australia +

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

Cullen Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Patrick Cullen, (b. 1776), aged 25, Irish convict who was convicted in Kilkenny, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 29th November 1801, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1823 [6]
  • Mr. James Cullen, (b. 1770), aged 32, Irish convict who was convicted in Wexford, Ireland for lif for being an Political prisoner, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 30th May 1802, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1840 [6]
  • Mr. Michael Cullen, (b. 1738), aged 64, Irish convict who was convicted in Wexford, Ireland for lif for murder, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 30th May 1802, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Mr. John Cullen, Irish convict who was convicted in Wicklow, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Boyd" on 10th March 1809, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Mr.Michael Cullen, (b. 1799), aged 20, Irish plasterer and tiler who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for life for burglary, transported aboard the "Bencoolen" on 24th April 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia before being transferred to Tasmania via the "Admiral Cockburn" [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Cullen 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:

Cullen Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Cullen, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Bengal Merchant
  • James Cullen, aged 20, a farm servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bengal Merchant" in 1840
  • William Cullen, who landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1842
  • William Cullen, aged 23, a farmer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Fifeshire" in 1842
  • William Cullen, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "John Masterman" in 1857
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Cullen (post 1700) +

  • James P. Cullen (1945-2017), American Brigadier General in the United States Army who served in the Judge Advocate General's Corps
  • Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen (1969-2017), American State Trooper who was killed when his Virginia State Police Bell 407 helicopter crashed during the Virginia Unite the Right rally on August 12th, 2017
  • Matthew David "Matt" Cullen (b. 1976), American professional NHL ice hockey center
  • Peter Brett Cullen (b. 1956), American actor who has appeared in numerous motion pictures and television programs
  • Countee Cullen (1903-1946), American poet and one of the leading figures of the "Harlem Renaissance"
  • William Cullen FRS FRSE FRCPE (1710-1790), Scottish physician, chemist and agriculturalist, born at Hamilton, Lanarkshire, on 15 April 1710, his father being factor to the Duke of Hamilton [9]
  • George Ian Cullen (1939-2019), British actor
  • Adam Frederick Cullen (1965-2012), Australian artist, recipient of the Archibald Prize in 2000
  • Christian Mathias Cullen (b. 1976), New Zealand former rugby union footballer
  • Henry Cullen FRSE FRCPE (1758-1790), Scottish physician
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mrs. Maude Cullen (1882-1914), Canadian First Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [10]
  • Master Albert Edward Cullen (1912-1914), Canadian First Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [10]
  • Miss Isobel Maude Cullen (1908-1914), Canadian First Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [10]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Charles Cullen, aged 45, English Bedroom Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking by escaping in life boat 11 [11]


Suggested Readings for the name Cullen +

  • 1454 "The Cullens of Sheboygan County Wisconsin, 1850-1900" by Katherin Cullen King.

  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  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. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  5. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 27th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/Boyd
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bencoolen
  9. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020
  10. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  11. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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