Ehlen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Ehlen family

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]

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 Ehlen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ehlen 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 Ehlen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ehlen Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Ehlen 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 Ehlen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Ehlen family to Ireland

Some of the Ehlen 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 Ehlen migration to the United States +

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, who landed in New York, NY in 1893 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Ehlen (post 1700) +

  • 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


  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)


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