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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


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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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.

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]


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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.

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Another 333 words (24 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ehlen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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.

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

Other References

  1. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  2. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  3. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  4. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  5. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  6. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  7. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  10. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. 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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