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The ancient surname Ehlen came 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.

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The surname Ehlen 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]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Since the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules, Breton surnames have many spelling variations. Latin and French, which were the official court languages, were also influential on the spelling of surnames. 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. Therefore, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England after the Norman Conquest, 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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ehlen research. Another 229 words (16 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, 1661, 1726 and 1717 are included under the topic Early Ehlen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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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...

Another 125 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ehlen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Ehlen family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Early immigration records have shown some of the first of the name Ehlen to arrive on North American shores were:

Ehlen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Hans Ehlen, aged 24, landed in New York, NY in 1893
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  • Michelle Ehlen, American filmmaker and comedic actress
  • Nikolaus Ehlen (1886-1965), German pacifist teacher
  • Margriet Ehlen (b. 1943), Dutch poet and a composer and conductor
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Citations



  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  4. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  6. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  7. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  10. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  11. ...

The Ehlen Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ehlen 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 18 April 2016 at 11:40.

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